Radio Hed: Intimate Radio Commercials

Radio Hed Logo 2By Jeffrey Hedquist

Looking back over some of the biggest successes my clients have had using radio, one thing stands out – many of the campaigns were not loud, or particularly funny, or pushy. The one quality many of them shared was intimacy.

There’s something to be said for the quality of having a conversation with that one listener, as if they were the only person who mattered, as if they were mere inches from you.

When a person is that close, you can’t “announce,” you can’t yell, you can’t project your voice. You have to speak quietly. This technique makes you sound more natural, more conversational, more “real.” If there’s anything audiences crave today from radio, it’s reality.

That’s one of radio’s strengths. The microphone becomes the listener’s ear. Speaking to him/her from a very short distance, separated only by a thin pop filter, allows you to enter into a very different relationship with them. It’s a relationship where they may be more receptive to what you have to say, especially if you’re telling a compelling story (you knew I’d get that in).

Try delivering a commercial message that you’d typically “announce,” perhaps an exhortation to purchase from an automotive emporium. Instead of yelling every word of that car or truck ad, try making the whole thing intimate, maybe bringing parts of it down to a whisper. There can be something ear catching about whispering, “The incredible blow-out sale at Crazy Earl’s Truck Warehouse ends this Saturday at noon.”

Now this doesn’t mean that these intimate spots will have less volume than the rest of the station’s commercials. Play with the EQ and compression, so the level and presence is up there with the screamers, and you’ve compensated for the proximity effect, so your client’s message has good clarity, and isn’t too muddy.

Added benefit: Many times I’ve coached performers to deliver a better read by having them remove their headphones, or hold a phone and pretend to talk into it, or whisper, or pause to let the listener respond, reflect, and absorb the message.

This isn’t the only trick in your production bag, but it’s often overlooked, and can be one of the most effective.

The closer to the mic, the more intimate. Lower the hype; increase the results.

 ♦
Quietly Email jeffrey@hedquist.com with your responses to this suggestion for improving your skills.
© 1997-2017 Hedquist Productions, Inc.  All rights reserved.

 

Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hi Jeffrey,

Yes! I call that the "talk to, not talk at" mode. I pay close attention to the copy to keep it second person; you and me. I think it was Dwight Douglas at B/A/M/D who said that even if there are four people in a car pool, each one is having their own unique listening experience. That makes sense to me.

Years ago when I wrote for Radio World, I remember calling my editor at some point and saying that I wanted to write my reviews and articles in second person so that I would make a more intimate connection with the reader. e. g."If you want to do this then try that." Third person (If one wants to do this then open does that) is stiff and off-putting.

My editor was scared at first. I told him that I'd submit it to him and see how he felt after reading it. As it turned out he was fine with it and we never looked back.

So, yeah, turn off the flame-throwers and embrace the second person!

Jeffrey, how about the use of silence...........you know.........while we're all...

Hi Jeffrey,

Yes! I call that the "talk to, not talk at" mode. I pay close attention to the copy to keep it second person; you and me. I think it was Dwight Douglas at B/A/M/D who said that even if there are four people in a car pool, each one is having their own unique listening experience. That makes sense to me.

Years ago when I wrote for Radio World, I remember calling my editor at some point and saying that I wanted to write my reviews and articles in second person so that I would make a more intimate connection with the reader. e. g."If you want to do this then try that." Third person (If one wants to do this then open does that) is stiff and off-putting.

My editor was scared at first. I told him that I'd submit it to him and see how he felt after reading it. As it turned out he was fine with it and we never looked back.

So, yeah, turn off the flame-throwers and embrace the second person!

Jeffrey, how about the use of silence...........you know.........while we're all hardwired to not allow any dead air,.....silence..........can be very......very......powerful.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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Ty Ford
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

As many articles as Jeffrey has written for RAP, I couldn't imagine he had left out "silence". I just came across this one:

The Sounds of Silence by Jeffrey Hedquist

jv

Comment was last edited about 3 years ago by Jerry Vigil Jerry Vigil
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