Imaging in 2018 – The Future of Radio Imaging

It’s been a few weeks since our last post in the “Imaging In 2018” series and boy, this is going to be a good one. I predict that a lot of us wonder what the future of Radio Imaging will be. Will it still exist? How will it change? This is going to be interesting! The “Imaging In 2018” Series looks at a range of topics, questions and thoughts from Radio Imaging Producers, Audio Engineers and anyone involved in the craft of “Radio Imaging” from across the world.

Imaging has always evolved over the years. The latest development I can see is that it is definitely more like music and everything you hear keeps musicality andsonic-ability (Is that a word) in mind. The techniques used in World Class Imaging today are not dissimilar from the current production of Music – but Imaging should always follow music trends, so it’s not really a surprise is it?

Denzil Lacey EQ

We decided to get the opinions of some of the most respected and talented Imaging and Audio Producers from across the world. As always, a big thanks to themfor taking the time to answer this interesting question!

This week’s question – Imaging is like Music and styles/techniques are always changing. How do you see the imaging world in the next 5-10 years? (Less zips zaps? / more sonic branding? / simplified? / bigger?)

 

Opinions

"I don’t know. I DO know that we’re all constantly trying to figure out the magic combination between creativity and timeliness. ‘Hurry up and be creative’ – I’ve heard that phrase over and over again. So, whatever the future of imaging holds, I hope creativity is still as important as forward momentum."
K3 Kelly Doherty
Kelly Doherty
Imaging Director at The Imaging House (Los Angeles, CAI)
"Personally, I see imaging becoming even more sonically focused. It’s already a change that is slowly progressing each day – especially when you look at some of the BBC stations that are changing up their audio and creating their own trend of production theme styles. The days of slapping some big sounding sound design all over your latest audio are gone, not only is it extremely fatiguing, I tend to find producers who do this also have the mindset of trying to impress other producers; rather than focusing on making your branding settle with the audience"
James Lawson
James Lawson
Imaging Producer at Bauer Media (UK)
"I have a few points on where I think it’s going: 1. I think most importantly, Imaging will still be relevant, as there will continue to be the need to create unique identities through sound, even across platforms such as streaming/podcasts etc. Maybe we won’t be called Imaging producers — more like Brand Producer which could most likely be a position in a specialist audio production house rather than a radio station. Radio will be relevant but the distribution will obviously change a lot. 2. The ‘zips & zaps’ will get more musical in nature, perhaps be created with tone/key & bpm signatures (some already doing this) 3. It will get simplified, more integrated with the music/talk and definitely shorter, but not without impact. 4. There will be a combination of sonic branding and sound design as the need to get more unique and more identifiable will continue to be in demand, so creatively there’s going to be a thinner line between the sub-occupations of audio production such as Music, Post & Sound Design."
Vish B
Vish B
Imaging Producer at Heart 107.1 (Dubai)
"I have a few points on where I think it’s going: 1. I think most importantly, Imaging will still be relevant, as there will continue to be the need to create unique identities through sound, even across platforms such as streaming/podcasts etc. Maybe we won’t be called Imaging producers — more like Brand Producer which could most likely be a position in a specialist audio production house rather than a radio station. Radio will be relevant but the distribution will obviously change a lot. 2. The ‘zips & zaps’ will get more musical in nature, perhaps be created with tone/key & bpm signatures (some already doing this) 3. It will get simplified, more integrated with the music/talk and definitely shorter, but not without impact. 4. There will be a combination of sonic branding and sound design as the need to get more unique and more identifiable will continue to be in demand, so creatively there’s going to be a thinner line between the sub-occupations of audio production such as Music, Post & Sound Design."
Alastair Boyes
Alastair Boyes
Imaging Producer at IMGR (UK)
"Bigger – Imaging is like the own Commercial of the station next to the music. If you are dynamic and play a slow song it takes the impact into the slow song!"
benni-wellman
Benni Wellman
Imaging Producer at 89.0 RTL (Germany)
"Looking back first to ten years ago I think people were still caught in that mid 00’s hangover of 90’s inane strapline revolving door of copying straplines and doing what they heard on Z100 when they did a weekend in NYC. There was an awful lot of sameness around and there still is in say a market like Dublin where there are literally NO original ideas. Moving forward and breaking free from that to taking a retrospective look back at 2013 I think that as music tastes had began to showup as a change and the effect of genres like EDM (Avicii) and New Country (Taylor) we saw a convergence on sound and production values lifted up. You can hear it if you listen to a 2018 jingle on say for example a station like Radio 538 and how THAT reflects the music of now and the beat of the moment vs. stations stuck in the past trying to make dull jingles fit music that, while some might argue is not as “good” as it was 30 years ago or whatever era they were 14-16 in, is better produced from a technical perspective and is clearer than ever before – which goes the same for movie sound and the sound on devices as I mentioned earlier."
Enda Caldwell
Enda Caldwell
Reporter at AllAccess and Presenter

Further reading on The Future of Radio/Imaging

The Future of Radio according to our future listeners – by James Cridland

A good insight to the overall future of Radio from James Cridland.

The Future of Radio Imaging – by Matt Damrow and Benztown
A nice and informative video of opinion from SiriusXM’s Matt Damrow.

The Future of Radio Imaging – by Chris Nicoll
Cool Linkedin Post from my friend Chris Nicoll and a look at what’s in store for the future.

Sidenote

Breaking News (As of June 7th) Ron Tarrant of Howard Stern is moving to Reelworld! Ron was the Imaging Producer and Station Voice behind the channels on the SiriusXM Network. Best of luck with the new gig!

From Ron’s Facebook: “Very excited to be joining the amazing team at ReelWorld Productions, and building Reelworld Studio’s-North”

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