This week, YouTube turned 10. Wow – ten. Actually, if pressed, I might have guessed it was a little older. What a refreshing change – time doesn’t seem to be going quite so fast!
Also this week, I had a little recording job for a TV vo. Okay. And? No doubt you are asking yourself, what exactly is theconnection between these two things? Good question.
Turning first to the tv spot, it was a fun character, great session, and at the end, I asked, casually, “When do you think this might be on the air?”
A little silence, some hemming and hawing.
“Well, you know, we have to test, and tweak, and maybe recut, and then….well, you know, maybe the Fall?”
The Fall? Wow. Really? In this era of Instagram and Vine and Viddy, hard to imagine that TV advertising still has to be trapped in that kind of turnaround.
One of the many reasons I love radio has always been incredible immediacy of it. (Hmm. I just realized the word media is inside the word immediate.) I’ve talked about my improv background, which I love applying to radio in all ways.
One of my favorite books is a history of early improvisation troupes called Something Wonderful Right Away. That phrase, that idea of something amazing right effing now, definitely applies to everything radio. Breaking news and breaking music and snappy patter have always been the lifeblood of the medium.
And now, thanks to instant upload capability, even your radio commercials can be on the air the instant they’re done, delivered to any device. Record, edit, mix, boom. You can respond to trends and events and changes and audience demands more than ever before. That’s the good news.
The bad news? You not only can, you have to. This age of the instant this puts a lot of demands on us.
On you, the radio producer. Which brings me to the connection I promised earlier.
YouTube just turned a decade old. No gifts, please, they would just like to turn a profit. But the point is, it is now an integral part of our lives. A generation of consumers will not remember a time before it. They won’t recall ever not watching videos on their phones and hearing radio from their tablets and sharing everything with everyone they know. So we have to ask, how exactly is this going to affect us?
It means we have to be even better at what we do best. Having our ears (and minds!) open to everything around us. To what our clients need and our audiences are demanding. Paying attention to what humor is now. What is the pulse of our demographic?
Are we selling today’s product with yesterday’s music and last month’s point of view? And what makes today different from yesterday?
Most important, how do we transform that difference into successful broadcasting, podcasting, and especially advertising? Besides, of course, as quickly as possible.
In some ways, we keep doing what we always have. Telling stories. Finding emotional connections between our clients and their customers. Selling with a laugh if possible and a tear if necessary. But the pace of reinvention has been stepped up. We have to be at the ready. Always changing. Always trying. Always open to the next best/most interesting thing. And always delivering something wonderful, right away. Because it’s due on the radio. Right now.