By Andrew “Bag” Sidwell

Why do some Radio Campaigns hit the mark perfectly while others seem to fluff around in the background as just noise? Austereo Creative Strategist Andrew Sidwell believes it’s The Participant Dynamic at play. Simply put, The Participant Dynamic is when Creative Writers of radio factor in the traditional radio listener and the environment they receive the communication in prior to creating a script.

By environment we don’t just mean car, home, worksite – we mean the fact they don’t sit and “watch” their radio like they would TV. Radio is a part of the environment, but not the focal point.

This is the crucial point where radio campaigns can either buzz around outside the target’s head or get inside to rest in that sphere of the brain which retains messages either short or long term.

This is where The Participant Dynamic comes into play.

Rather than refer to the listener as target or even listener, Andrew calls them The Participant and casts them as part of the ad like he would an actor. In fact, he always casts The Participant first before he writes a script. This always ensures that a radio script is written and not a TV script.

For a client approving a radio script, this thinking provides a strong starting point to use as a filter to run the script through. Does this script provide a strong “on ramp” early enough where the listener can connect and participate with the radio ad?

By listener I mean the tight target, and by “on ramp” I mean is the idea accessible, relatable, and specifically for the radio medium; can the listeners immerse themselves into the ad and participate? Or are they being asked to “watch” someone else’s creativity with a payoff at the end that many won’t even stick around for if no connection has been made early in the communication.

How can they watch a radio when radio is not the focal point on a worksite?

One of the ways this works exceptionally well is rather than make your radio creative an extension of your TV execution– make radio the audio only execution of your overall brand strategy. This will still align with and maximize your TV ( if your doing it). It will also hang tough as a strong, written for radio only, creative.