In my opinion, there really has never been a better time for radio. It’s often seen as such a traditional medium, taking a back seat against all sorts of new toys from video to vines. But in my mind it is still media royalty and marketers should dismiss it at their peril.
My favourites at the moment are the Test Match Special, The Radio 5 Live Film Reviews and the (not so) new format of Desert Island Discs with the outstanding Kirsty Young.
I choose to devour these programmes in the form of Podcast and it’s amazing how this format enhances the experience of radio. Radio can be either intrusive of ambient, but having it piped directly into your ears allows you to really pick up on the nuances that make radio great.
There’s the gentle laid back knowledge and confidence of the Test Match Special, mixing an almost 80 year heritage with contemporary thought and insight. Jonathan Agnew, one of the senior presenters interviewed David Cameron one lunch break. He started off with a charmingly familiar ‘tutt, how about this weather hey?’ It was as disarming a start to an interview as the PM will ever get. What followed was Agnew gently probing him like a spin bowler searching for a batsman’s weakness outside leg stump. It was respectful and insightful journalism and it allowed the listener to establish personality and position. Paxman, watch and learn!
The mixture of longstanding communities bought together by excellent journalism and outstanding content is the same on the ‘wittertainment’ Kermode & Mayo Film Review programme (slash movement). Simon Mayo is a long standing radio DJ, and underlines the love many people who work in radio have for the medium, so much so that they are never tempted outside of it.
Do also revisit Desert Island Discs, at the time of writing I’ve listened to two heart breaking interviews; one with Tom Hanks, film star, the second with David Nott, an internationally renowned surgeon who spits his time between hospitals in the UK, and in some of the most apocalyptic, war torn areas the world has. Kirsty Young is an amazing journalist and an artist of radio. Through music, she gently searches the soles of these people so delicately that the listener can get to know the subject in a way that can’t be replicated – in my mind – by any other medium.
Added to these recommendations, the outstanding Freakonomics Radio, the brilliant Economist series – which includes a Tasting Menu and Espresso series, ideally produced for the habits and minds of its target audience. Do also look for ‘Serial’, ‘The Moth’ and ‘This American Life’ if you, like me, are in the marketing business. They prove that any subject can be compelling if the story telling is of the highest calibre.
I recently had the pleasure of working with one of our own industry Podcasts, ‘Talking Events’. We did a day with a few of our clients here at EIGHT. It was a really interesting day and underlined my own love for this medium. Its amazing how much content, opinion and intelligence one can get out of a 40 minute chat, the messages transcend the facts and figures but allow true personality and passion to come across.
Richie Benaud, one of the most famous cricketing commentators who has ever picked up the mic talked of his approach to radio “… its in the silences where you can really show the drama …’. If a picture can paint a thousand words, its amazing how many a thousand silences can voice.