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In The News
The Believability Index




“Here's a word you haven't heard in the last 3 minutes, ‘Branding!’” says Rich Van Slyke, imaging and voice guy for a number of stations, including Shane Media clients.


Branding has become such a buzzword at radio over the past few years, it’s more like jargon than a description of something real. 

Branding goes beyond a name or a logo.  It encompasses customer expectations, the experience at live broadcasts, and the treatment a listener or advertiser gets at the front desk or on the request line.


Most radio people think of branding first as imaging (certainly an important element).  So we asked “Mr. Voice” to offer these Imaging Essentials:


Imaging Promise.  This is the hard one, the one you should write down on a piece of paper and post on the wall.  For many PDs writing is difficult.  It can be made easier if you jot down 2 simple things.


            1. Who we are.   ___________________

            2. What we do.   ___________________


According to the branding experts, this is the essential message.  So, for our radio imaging, all of our sweepers and promos should contain these two elements.  Example:


1. Who we are.   97 X

            2. What we do.   Everything That Rocks   


On top of that, we should add a sense of importance, we are the ones who bring you the content that you enjoy.  If you listen to our station, that means you're a little better than the rest of the world.  Example:  "It's your music. We just play it. Really loud." 



Imaging Personality.  This is the "sound" of your imaging including your voices, style of writing, overall attitude.  Does your station voice match the sound of your music? If you play music for a young demo, does your voice sound young?  If your music is fun and exciting, does your voice sound fun and exciting?   As you evaluate your imaging personality, go back to your imaging promise, this is who we are, this is what we do.  Now, write down your imaging personality in three words. 


__________________, ___________________,__________________



Imaging Production. When it comes to choosing sounds—background music, jingles, sound effects—this is an important element.  Use the sounds that create the same emotions as your content.  If you program a sports station, you ought to have plenty of crowd cheers.  If you play rock music, you should have the sound effects from the video game Guitar Hero.  What are the sounds of your Imaging Personality?  Write them down.





Sounds of our Imaging ___________________________




Imaging Strategy.  How often you run the elements?  Can you say the name of your station too much?  (Answer: Hell no!)  But if you run the same liner between every song, will it get burned out?  (Answer: Hell, yes!)  So, create a system for running different liners and calculate how often they run.  Then, calculate how many times a day each element will run.  Produce as many versions of each element as you need.  If you can go three days without repeating an element, you are rockin!  


Your Imaging Strategy might look like this (don’t copy this, create your own):


            ELEMENT                                          RUNS

            Legal IDs  - 10                                     once an hour

            Morning show Liners - 50                   twice an hour

            Imaging Promise - 100                       three times an hour    

            Shotguns 100                                      three times an hour

            Music Hook Promos - 20                    once an hour


Imaging Extensions.  As a PD/Brand Manager, you want to extend the brand

of your radio station to your website, podcasts, videos, etc.  Many times I have clicked on a podcast and not heard a station ID to start it off.  Your tools for brand extensions are the same as your on air imaging.  Station voice, sound effects, music, positioning statements, and logos. They must be part of every element, on air or online.  Can they be altered for the web?  The name of the game is consistency.  That's what consumers want.  To know they are connected to they favorite brand.      


Rich VanSlyke is a voice guy on WNOR, KDKA, WGRD, WKQZ, WKZQ, WKLR, KZOZ, WIXO, KCBL, WSFM, KKPL, WRZK, and for Shane Media clients KELO-AM, Sioux Falls; WRXW (Rock 93-9), Jackson, MS; and WYNU (Rock92-3), Jackson, TN.


 Reach him  at or go to .