Radio’s Missing Link

arroe collins radio blog postBy Arroe Collins (@Arroecollins)

What is a radio commercial?

Listeners think of them as punishment. Those eight to ten minute blocks of thought are nothing more than every reason why they aren’t getting to hear their favorite songs.

When in fact, commercials change listeners’ lives.

Radio commercials bring listeners to the forefront of what’s moving forward.

Without communication hardware stores, restaurants and car dealers don’t survive.

Why, then, would listeners tune out?

The music featured in commercials. Usher would never push his hip-hop delivery into a country music background. Just as much as Michael Bublé would have a rough time trying to sell tickets with a jagged guitar ripping an amp to shreds in the left speaker.

Production professionals need an extremely easy, centralized location to turn a thought into a sale success performance. The age of grabbing a CD off the wall and accepting whatever comes out is over.

Listeners are tuned into the multi-levels of pop, rock, country, new rock and circus, if the message doesn’t fit with the music, hiding the breathing and bad edits. Listeners know the way of “Next.”

A listener can’t tell you why they don’t like listening, they just know they don’t like listening. It’s too easy to say, “the commercials.”

I get it! But tell me which one. Let’s put focus on the performance after the vocal delivery.

I believe quality production requires four different personalities:

  1.  The writer
  2. The Voice Over talent
  3. The Producer
  4. The Radio talent that gets upset because the client isn’t happy

Although writing copy is also extremely important. Sadly, the modern way of Radio is giving creative control to the client. Non-radio people trying to build communication with ready to hit “Next” listeners.

It doesn’t take too much to pick up a smart phone and totally ignore radio.

The problem? Being on the phone keeps your listeners from taking part in a brilliant sale.

Commercials can’t be produced by Voice Over talent. It’s two different personalities. Although the Voice Over actor has good intention to become part of the message, the Producer has the eye on where and when the commercial lands. Using the right music for the right message makes clients stand out.

“Rip and read” is an old radio term. So is “bang it out.” I often wonder how much “banging it out” would take place if the talent had to pay for the commercial.

The right piece of music makes production fun. You’re able to create themes and campaigns. I’ve dubbed it the Berry Gordy. Motown guaranteed listeners a hook they could sing along with. Commercials with the right music do the same.

It inspires the Voice Over actor to bend their tones. To play along rather than read along. With the right song, listeners allow the nasty intruder keeping them from their favorite song or talk show, to hang out a little longer.

If someone is speaking out of tune or if someone is rushing their rhythm, the first thing you do on this side of the radio speakers is tune out. Why would listeners want to buy into the incredible sale if the producer put no effort into selecting the right attitude of music?

Get ahead of the game and tune your production up. Voice Over actors that drop their tracks and run leave no room for the Producer to make a connection with clients and listeners by building better commercials. The Voice Over actor wants to participate with the delivery. Nothing makes a radio person feel incredible then when they hear how much someone loves their commercial production.

Unlike a live break on the air, the same commercial plays over and over. Don’t be the one creating burn out.


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