When working in the radio and media field, the image that goes out to the public sends a message about the quality of your brand. Whilst this counts for most public profiles including social media and content quality, in this blog we are going to take a specific look at the imaging that goes out on air.
So, What is Radio Imaging?
Let’s get right to it. Radio imaging is the term used to describe the audio identity of your radio station or podcast brand.
Just as you use different or specific colour in a logo or image branding, so you use different audio elements to create an audio branding image or identity.
Since Radio is an audio based medium, it follows that great auditory radio station branding is really important for various reasons
1. A professional radio station identity, is meant so that people are easily able to recognize (identify) your station
2. The Imaging is a clue as to what format your station is: adult Contemporary, classical, jazz, and so on.
3. Your radio station imaging sets you apart from other radio stations that have similar programming
4. Radio imaging sets the tone, mood and feel of your station that is appealing to a specific demographic or target audience.
5. Links your songs and segments of the station for a seamless flow.
There is no one approach or formula to radio imaging. Each station will be unique and will have emphasis on specific tone. A news station will have a serious tone for example, whereas a hot adult contemporary station will have a lot more upbeat, vibey and ‘wilder’ type effects.
To help you understand what the radio tech team are talking about, you need to be familiar with the following terms:
These are short music beds that include vocals, where the slogan, station name, catch phrases are sung.
Nice and short in length max is about 10s, a sweeper is a Voice only announcement that typically include the name of the station as well as the slogan. These are used to link songs as ‘crossovers’ or ‘overlays’.
Often referred to as liners, bumpers, radio imaging, station imaging, stingers, promos, idents, or shotguns; Power Sweepers also include the voice as per the above, but they have fx and music as well. These are meant to be played in between songs as a link, not as an ‘overlay’.
Opening and closing Billboard
Audio clips that contain music, your station name, slogan, announcements, etc. to indicate the beginning and end of your show. These create a smooth transition, help keep listeners interested, and provide clear identification.
Short audio clips from TV, songs, or movies
Promos: Short talk pieces that let listeners know about upcoming programs . They are typically structured with teaser info, and the date and time.
Jingles that are sung without music beds.
The part of a song without any spoken words or vocals. Used under segments of the show that are specific features, such as Sports or traffic news updates.
Short audio pieces, about 60 seconds long, that include a sweeper followed by short clips of upcoming songs or talk pieces.
As a general rule, radio imaging is classified into two categories:
1. Station wide Imaging
2. Show specific Imaging
Station wide imaging is typically in the form of sweepers and used to identify the radio station as a whole to the listener in between songs. Show Specific imaging is used to distinguish different programming and usually promos as well as opening and closing billboards are used.
Remember that the whole purpose of radio imaging is to help you make your station stand out above your competitors, draw in listeners as well as build excitement about your station.
Coming Soon! You can purchase one of our RAPP Radio Imaging Sample Packs, and get a bonus Radio Editing Online Course!