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  • Writer's pictureDrake Donovan

FUNCTION vs FASHION When It Comes To Radio Imaging

At the 2019 WWRS in Burbank I was excited to be surrounded by dozens of my imaging brothers and sisters. A bright spotlight was shone on our neglected corner of the broadcasting industry on the WWRS Agenda and via companion events that took place during the week. At the opening night cocktail party hosted by Kelly Doherty of the Imaging House, I got a chance to meet many of my imaging heroes, mentors and inspirations, as well as old friends and legends I’ve met before.

One of those legends I’ve had the pleasure of breathing the same are as is Jeff Thomas, of KillerHertz fame. Jeff is a brilliant imaging mind and you’ll find him holding court with an audience of audio production geeks at any radio industry function he attends. At the 2019 WWRS, I had a chance to join eavesdrop on a conversation between Jeff Thomas, Steve Stone and Sean Galbraith of The subject turned to imaging and the types of things we do to brand our stations and entertain the audience. Jeff was able to crystalize the thought in these simple terms: Function vs. Fashion.

I was blown away by the elegance of the terms. I had always referred to them as ‘meat and potatoes’ and ‘stationality’ imaging, but Jeff’s description was so succinct that it was immediately burned in to my brain, just like a functional piece of imaging should.

Functional radio imaging is the plain branding material: i.e. name and position statement. It should be quick, consistent and uncluttered, so that the message is delivered clearly every time.

Fashion imaging is the flavor, the fun stuff. It should entertain as well as inform. Because of the colorfulness of fashion imaging, it will burn rather quickly. So, in the grand scheme of things, you’ll want to spend more time on the fashion stuff, to make it great and produce more of it.

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