Wednesday, 9 January 2013

New Station, New Sounds... AKA: Imaging, the Journey

Well everyone, it's been a crazy couple of months at work, and here's the lowdown before I get into the meat of this blog:

Back in mid-November (the 17th to be exact) my radio station flipped formats. The day before we were playing top 40 dance music and at the stroke of midnight it changed into a 24/7 Christmas Music station. I won't go into great detail as to why this happened but essentially the powers that be felt it was time for a change.

So for 40 days I worked away writing holiday commercials and radio-bits. After Saskatoon got over the initial shock there was lots of positive feedback. One guy even came in and gave the staff a card that said our station's Christmas music helped him pull through a bad patch of suicidal-depression and now he's going to rehab and getting his life back together. Warm fuzzy feelings were felt by everyone.

Then on December 26th we unveiled the new format, Cruz FM!

Playin' Saskatoon's Greatest Hits, 70s, 80s, 90s, and some 2000s.

As a part of launching a new station, there's this stuff called "Imaging" that needs to be written. Imaging is the snippets of audio before, after, and between songs that things like "963 Cruz FM is super duper awesome, now back to the music." They're around to help establish and identify the brand and attitude a station wants to portray.

Now here's the process of making fresh new imaging. Believe it or not, I find writing these 10 second bits just as difficult as any 30 or 60 second commercial.

Here's how it all starts: With an email from the Program Director:

And that's all the info I get to make scripts with. Around holdiays or station events they get more specific, but that's about it.

So then I spit and swear at my computer for a while and watch Youtube videos like this to get the creative gears in motion:

And finally I email the scripts to the Program Director. He makes fun of my grammar and spelling for a while, and we send it off to our "Big Voice." A Big Voice is slang for a professional radio voice-actor. Like every single radio/tv commercial this is 50% of what makes your scripts come alive (our man is Jamie Watson FYI, he's fantastic.)

Our Big Voice sends back raw audio which in turn is passed to our producer. He puts all the music/voice/FX together into what you hear as the end product from your radio.

Now I'll show you some of what I wrote, and how it turned out. Sometimes what I write isn't even close to what the final product turns out to be:
"We like the quality work you do, so here’s another hit to help you keep up the pace. Keep on Truckin’, 96-3 Cruz FM"

"We’re playing hit after hit, and giving you cool words to describe us to your friends. 96-3 CRUZ FM, Playing Saskatoon’s… (To the Max)(Super-Ace)(Copasetic)(Mega-Foxy)(Totally Bad)(Righteous)(Ultra-Rad) ….hits."

"We’re playing the greatest hits, one after another. It’s like we’re a carousel of non-stop rock. That didn’t sound quite so wicked-awesome as I thought it would. 96-3 CRUZ FM, Saskatoon’s Greatest hits."

"Here’s like, another like, hit from Saskatoon’s biggest music library…96-3 CRUZ FM…like."

"963 Cruz FM is worldwide, from Eston to *Scottish accent* Edinburgh Scotland, *regular* Stream us online at 963 Cruz FM dot com"

"96 point 3 Cruz FM in Saskatoon, Also known as CFWD, which stands for Cool Friends Walk Dogs. Hint hint, nudge nudge."

And that's how it all works from start to finish! Any questions?