by Tracy Johnson
The late Nick Michaels was a master of station branding. His promos were brilliant. His music positioning pieces caused listeners to feel the vibe of the station. Emotional, pointed content punctuated station branding promos. Michael’s legend lives on with a library of promos that connect to emotions.
With Nick, promo mastery started with identifying a concept to be communicated. He then crafted a promo to connect to emotions.
The next step was writing copy. Nick’s promos were never busy. They moved forward but were never rushed. He didn’t try to do too much with the copy.
With fewer bullet points jammed into the copy, each promo was able to breathe. And every word contributed to the message.
Production value is important. The finished product was never overproduced, but his promos used audio as an accent. Sound effects complemented the message without competing for attention.
Michaels’ promos are legendary in rock radio.
Listen to the mastery in this promo that leverages artists while promoting WDRV/Chicago.
This promo is all about the feeling of being a fan of WDRV.
It doesn’t tell listeners what to do, and isn’t filled with hype about why the station is awesome. It tastefully points to the artists and music.
And the effect is powerful.
Before writing promos that connect to emotions, stations must have a clear sense of what is offered.
Every station has a value proposition. And with that, comes a cost listening. They pay with their time and attention. So what does the station deliver for the investment?
Maybe stations are selling:
Once the value proposition is identified, the goal is to communicate the feeling, not just shout the positioning statement. Stations can’t win a feeling by proclaiming “The station that picks you up and makes you feel good”. It doesn’t work. And Nick Michaels would never record a promo like that.
Here’s an example of a great Nick Michaels promo for news talk station, KPRC in Houston. The station’s value proposition is being the voice of the community.
This promo aired for a few days after a natural disaster.
Listen and identify how it sells the station’s benefits emotionally.
This promo positions the station and sells:
Nick doesn’t list benefits or claim to have news updates every 20 minutes. There’s no bragging that when news breaks out they break in. Or traffic and weather together.
Those things may be important reasons to listen, but that’s not how listeners choose radio stations.
There’s no call to action in the promo, but it is a great example of how to build a brand image.
Creating promos that advance a station brand is an art. Don’t rush through the steps of writing and producing until there’s a clear vision for the goal of the promo.
Then, learn from Nick Michaels example. Pour your heart into the creative elements that will make the audience actually feel something.
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