A FRESH APPROACH TO AUDIO

By Matt Hopper, Co-founder and Creative Director, Trisonic

The 50th anniversary of Commercial Radio (or Independent Local Radio, as it was then known) brings mixed feelings for me.  I began my audio production career in the analogue days – the days of tape recorders, splicing tape, razor blades and cart machines.  Kitting out a studio in those days involved getting a second mortgage.  “Being creative” in audio and manipulating sound was that much more difficult than with digital technology, but people achieved a lot despite the challenges.  Check out Victor Lewis-Smith’s Midland Bank ads or Kodacolour Gold’s ‘Symphony’ from the mid-80s if you don’t believe me.  

At its inception Independent Local Radio had to be all things to all people – the IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority) obliged stations to limit the amount of mainstream music they played, have a decent quota of news and provide specialist shows for niche interests – the jazz show, the folk show, the classical show, etc. (Capital even had a soap opera). 

Now, niches are super served by individual radio stations, available to listen to pretty much any way and any time you want.  Whole new ways of listening have developed – streaming services’ algorithms curate playlists to precisely match your musical tastes; podcasts feature discussions on practically every subject known to humankind…(if you’d have told me back in the analogue days that young people would be listening to speech radio, I wouldn’t have believed you, but essentially that’s just what’s happening.)

So, a lot has changed.  The audio landscape has broadened immensely. Technological developments allow complex audio production to take place in a laptop; the opportunities for brands and businesses to promote themselves in imaginative ways using audio are truly exciting. 

With all this opportunity and all this technology breaking down barriers, you’d expect audio and radio services to be packed with really good, really creative ads. 

So, why aren’t they? 

Possibly because, in the overall media mix, audio is a low priority. Briefed out to the junior creative at the agency at the last moment. Or maybe it’s just a lack of knowledge.   And that got me thinking.  Why not share some of the knowledge I and my colleagues and contemporaries have collected to help people navigate the audio market and use audio to their best advantage.

So this week, Trisonic is launching its own podcast.  It’s called Tripod (naturally), and Season One focuses on the Creative side of audio advertising.  The series is aimed at those new to audio advertising and experienced practitioners who want to refresh or enhance their knowledge.  It comes in bite-size episodes (short enough to satisfy even the shortest attention spans) and features me in discussion with Debbie Dillon, Creative Head at BBC Creative, and creative consultant Kieran Murphy.

We’ll be talking about everything from the scriptwriting process and how to make an ad stand out, to adapting ads for different platforms and the role of A.I. in audio production.  Episodes 1 – 3 are available now and cover what’s so great about audio as a medium, how to write a great brief for an audio campaign, and what kind of message works best in audio.  We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but if you’re new to audio or you’re thinking of using it, we think it’s well worth a listen (or watch – it’s available in video too).

Follow the show here, watch it on YouTube or on our website.

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