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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

Producer’s check-up

With resolutions to share and a whole year stretched out ahead of us, these first days of January can be a great time to stop and think about the way we work and how it could be better.

Here’s my checklist. It’s not exhaustive nor is everything on the list relevant to every one of us. I can’t claim to be any kind of process improvement guru either.

However, I have learned from experience, sometimes through mistakes, and so I know this list can be a useful little aide memoire at the start of the year.

Alternatively, if you answer every question and complete every action point on the list you’ve effectively conducted a 12,000 mile service on your own working practices.

Planning

How do you want your station to sound in one year from now?

List the incremental steps you can take to get there over the months ahead.

Do you have the buy-in to your plan from all your key stakeholders?

Do you have the budgets agreed to enable you to implement?

What are the major calendar moments you’ll have to work towards?

Where’s your quietest moment? Plan to prep your Christmas imaging then and get it in the calendar now. Yes, even if it’s in April.

When will you take your holidays? Book your time off now.

Scope

How do you want to grow in your role in the year ahead?

If you have ‘station sound’ in your job description have you taken responsibility for every aspect of the way your station sounds across all its outlets?

What are the aspects of your role and those around you that you don’t understand so well? How will you deepen your learning of them this year?

Creative process

Do you have a strong briefing process in place with sales and programming teams? If not, use one of Earshot’s free creative brief templates to help you get started.

Once a brief arrives, do you challenge it to make it better and earn greater respect from your sales colleagues?

Does every promotion you run look after the interests of the client, your brand and the listener?

Are you working with the best possible ideas? How can you make a bit more time for creative thinking so you can be absolutely sure and think beyond the obvious?

Time and team management

How can you build the skills of colleagues around you so you can work more effectively?

What tasks can you delegate, automate or stop?

Do you treat your external partners (like imaging and jingles providers and station voice talent) as part of your creative team? How can you bring them closer?

Are you ‘managing up’ effectively so your bosses can make informed decisions that benefit you and your work?

Have you shared your best work with me at Earshot yet? Producers tell me they’ve won a pay increase or a job interview from an appearance on the podcast or here on the site.

Succession planning: who will take over when you leave? Identify the right talent now and tell your bosses that you want to invest in their development.

Writing

Does every word in your copy count? Make 2019 the year you optimise the clarity of your message and its effectiveness. Fewer words. Less distraction.

Is your copy centred on the listener? Are you selling listener benefits, not just features.

Make a reading list for 2019 so you can enjoy the great writing of others and learn from it.

Casting and direction

Do you genuinely find the right voice for every piece of on-air communication?

Block an hour to research some new sources of voice talent. Try some out. Take some risks.

Do you have the voice direction skills to tease out the performance you want? If not, book time with an accomplished director. Call some – they’ll be flattered.

Production

Is all your production entirely supportive of the message, entirely necessary and does it move your station sound in the direction you want?

Could any piece of production you make exist on any other station? If so, how can you make it entirely unique to you and your brand?

Does everything you create make enjoyable radio for the listener?

Technical

Is your technical sound right for your format and competitive set?

Are you using the best possible mics and studio mic processing for your talent and format? If you’re unsure, borrow some alternatives from a supplier and test them.

Can you put listeners on air in crisp high quality sound?

Does your output processing truly complement and enhance what you create in the studio and form part of your distinctive sound?

Is your sound consistent across all outlets, including your on-demand audio?

Is your streamed and on-demand output delivered at a sensible loudness, such as -16LUFS, for the best listener experience on connected devices?

Organisation

You’re never too busy to be organised. The former PD Mike Powell said memorably “it’s always when you’re at your busiest that good housekeeping pays dividends“.

How good is your filing? Have you archived your old projects and deleted unwanted files and folders?

Block time now to organise your sfx and imaging element libraries. It’s always time well spent.

Is everything backed-up or mirrored in the cloud in case the worst happens?

How’s your security? Are you using unique passwords and a password manager like the free Keepass?

Remove any written passwords from studio and office walls and PC screens – dangerous with the amount of video and photography shared from studios.

If you want to add to this list to help others, just drop me an email steve@earshotcreative.com

Thanks to Christian Troitzsch for adapting this checklist for the German market.

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