Radio needs pictures, but not lazy antique ones
Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland
There's a number of clichés to avoid if you write about radio.
First: the lazy Buggles headline. Video didn't kill the radio star, yet this falsehood is repeated so often it's no wonder that many people consider it to be true. It does our industry a disservice. However, you'll see it with monotonous regularity on any article written about radio.
But I'm noticing another radio cliché. The lazy antique radio photo.
Radio receivers from the late 1940s are beautiful things, there's no doubt about it. They were built to be a piece of furniture, and to be the centrepiece of your living room. They are all polished walnut, Bakelite tuning controls, glowing dials.
So it's hardly surprising that, when it is time to write a piece about today's radio industry, websites and newspapers lazily reach for an a ntique radio photo. Whatever the story is about today’s progressive, modern radio industry is accompanied by a photgraph making us look quaint and old-fashioned. And, as ad sales guru Giff Gifford used to say, Repetition Builds Reputation.
Particularly for the web - where templates normally mean that every story requires at least one image to go with it - it's really tempting to run with an old evocative photo of a radio from times gone by. I've done it too: because, like you, I don't have enough decent radio photos. (The one here is an old Australia car radio, in case you’re interested, but you’re probably not.)
So here's how I think we can fix this:
Get some lovely photos done with new, modern radio receivers. Spend a tiny amount of your marketing budget on some great-looking radio sets, tune them into your station, and get as many photos done as you can. (This works best if you have your name on RDS).
Tell all your journalists about these photos. Licence them for free use. Host them somewhere easy to find - your press centre, fine, but also on somewhere like Flickr, which most journalists still use to find images. Link to these images from the bottom of every single press release you send out.
Tell me where those photos are, too; and I promise I'll link to as many as I can.
Together, we can rid the world of lazy antique radio photos: and, however subliminally, communicate that radio isn't yesterday's medium
About The Author
James Cridland is a radio futurologist: a writer, speaker and consultant on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business across the world.
British by birth, James lives in Brisbane, QLD and is a fan of craft beer.