The Sound Design Superman (Notes by Brandy Jingles)

As a radio guy, you might be surprised to hear the sound of today’s records in the gentle flow of classics, golds and an occasional current hit. Or to hear rock jingles in a format without a single rock record. It may seem bizarre at first sight, but it’s turned out to be a superb strategic move.

Both radio stations struggled with a perception problem. The first station had gone through a rejuvenation, but its listeners weren’t following. Its somewhat dusty image continued to haunt it. The Hot AC station on the other hand was threatened with becoming a smooth commodity. The music was ok, but the DJs sounded too soft.

In both cases, the imaging turned out to be the crowbar that turned the perception around. The jingles became a statement. Musically they clashed with everything around them. But functionally they did exactly what they were supposed to do. The tempo matched perfectly with the music being played.
But most of all: for the DJs, the technicians and the producers, the jingles became a catalyst for a new dynamism. They had broken through all automatic reflexes in the imaging. Suddenly you could hear the DJ speak over the jingle’s musical intro. Or it seemed as if the hard cut (remember the Canadian mix?) had been reinvented.

The change in imaging set in motion what innumerable strategic meetings with the whole staff couldn’t. It suddenly became clear who they were working for so diligently day after day. And especially: that it could be done differently. And the listeners followed…

Had Sounddesign Superman pulled one off again? Not at all. But clever program directors know that imaging can be so much more than just a nice ribbon around the box.

Originally posted on Brandy Jingles notes

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