The Importance of Keeping Imaging Fresh

Imaging, or branding if you will, is probably one of the most important, yet underutilized tools in our arsenal.

I get it, you’ve got to make sure the spots are in, logs are scheduled, sales folks are knocking at the door, automation is acting up, and whatever air talent you have left needs to be up to speed on what’s happening. And even, in some cases, you’re the guy that gets vehicles repaired and cleans the place.

From the start of my career, while I was always interested in the air shift component as well as music stuff, I have been enthralled with imaging The “Stationality”, as it has been called. The stuff between the music (besides our own great voices) and spots.

If I had to guess why I became hyper focused on imaging, I would have to say it was part my creative side and partly working with great folks like Joel Raab and the late Rusty Walker.

They taught me about the importance of the above mentioned stuff between the music.

Now, what am I getting at?

I bet if you tune in to most stations, Even your own, you’d hear the typical “10 in a row” or “Today’s country leader”. Of course your positioning statements are important, but are you challenging yourself and your voice talent with real creative, timely and local flavored sweepers and liners?

Here are some thoughts that I hope can help you get an edge over the competition, because I bet they’re not freshening their creative regularly either.

1) Think ahead – There’s something called a calendar. Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays are always there. Get that writing done way ahead of time. To save time next year, write and produce “evergreen” elements that can be used in the future.

2) Speaking of timely – Check around for local events, even ones you are not involved in. Listeners like to hear what is going on in their community and they don’t care what station sponsors what. So, if there is a big festival, write stuff for that weekend, welcoming folks in, or “listen while you’re heading to the big festival,” etc. Plus, you may be stealing some thunder from the competition.

3) Categories – Have separate categories or leveling for your elements.

For instance:

General station positioning

Event (free concert tickets, money giveaway)

Fun factor – using pop culture elements, character voices ,etc.

Separating these will not only help you keep track, it will also allow these to get better play rather than all being stacked up in one cart.

4) Life of a sweeper – Make sure you rotate older ones in and out. I suggest quarterly. And for goodness sake. Watch out for out of date ones. There’s nothing more cringe-worthy than hearing a sweeper that you heard at the same time last year or for an event that happened two weeks ago.

5) Coach your voice guy – Make sure pronunciations are accurate. And that you get the inflection you want. They want to do it right. If not, find someone else. You pay them.

6) Use what you have – Have your other talent, including your syndicated shows be part of the fun. Write creative stuff for them that can be used to cross promote themselves out of daypart as well as tease other shows in theirs. They are not separate parts of your station. The listeners see them as part of you if done right. Make sure if you have a big giveaway or cash contest that your morning show or premier talent voice separate elements aside from the voice talent stuff. Speaking of using what you have. Give your jingle package more life by utilizing the beds and work parts by creating “swingles” (dry sweepers over the jingle bed leading to the sung tag out.)

7) Use what you have pt2 – The best ideas can come from anywhere. So, ask sales folks, the lady at the front desk for thoughts. Get out there and ask listeners while at a remote. Listen to what regular folks say. I bet they don’t use “radio” terms. (When was the last time a listener said, “I love your music “sweeps” or “you have the best morning show in that “time slot”.

8) Production – Get creative. Sign up for a services such as Benztown or SuperRadio’s “Ready2Go Country” (not paid endorsements) for some great elements. Radio mall has some inexpensive stuff for order, and there always the good old Internet where you can download some pop culture or fun stuff. Just type in a phrase on YouTube on what you are thinking and something will pop up. If you are not the best producer and your voice guy doesn’t offer the service, find the best person on your team or in your chain to help.

Every station is different so your mileage may vary.

If I can assist with your journey to success, please contact me at and I can help with writing, voicing and producing fresh, fun, and exciting branding for your station.

Pic designed by AnnaStills for Envato Elements.

Brian Landrum voices and produces imaging for stations around the world and across all formats. He’s also voiced ads for major commercial brands like Coca-Cola and Cracker Barrel. Hear samples at or email him at

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