Radio Lessons from a Young Creative

When I was a young creative, I wrote a radio spot that had my CDs and our clients laughing out loud. What made it funny was the way I read it. When we went into production, we tried to find an actor who could read it as well as I did. We found a guy who was pretty close. But it wasn’t exactly how I read it. And it just wasn’t as funny.

If you’re the best person for a spot, jump in the studio after the talent has left and try it yourself. I wish I had. And I’m sure Andy Azula is glad he did.

Working with that talent, he began to read the client information with a kind of newscaster feel. This wasn’t the intention at all. But it was something the client picked up on, and urged us get more of. I was a very young and eager-to-please creative. But we ended up with a radio spot that sounded nothing like the one I’d originally presented.

Stay true to what you want. Don’t let clients or even your own producer steer you in a direction you know you don’t want to go. You want a director or a producer to plus the script – to give you something cool you weren’t expecting or even asking for. But if you don’t know exactly what you want going in, you’re probably not going to get your best stuff.

When this spot was finally produced, the client was very happy. But I wasn’t. And even though he didn’t say anything, I don’t think my CD was, either.

My art director partner – who was involved in the concept, but not in the production – told my CD, “It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be.” In a kind, mentoring way, my CD told her, “Then maybe you didn’t do your job.”

Radio doesn’t need to be a writer’s-only club. Radio is visual. You can’t tell me art directors have a roll to play. Here is one of my favorite radio spots – co-written by an art director.