It’s a little hard right now to link to the actual results, given Arbitron’s recent sale to Nielsen. But one of Arbitron’s last research projects revealed that more than 239 million Americans aged 12 and over listen to radio in an average week, spending an average of more than an hour and a half doing it. So…objectivity aside….it appears that radio’s viablity as a medium is not one being questioned in today’s tumultuous media landscape. But it occurs to me that, unfortunately, the creativity that was once a hallmark of effective radio ad campaigns is missing in action.
When I started in the business as a young writer, things were very different. There were several legendary independent radio production companies doing exceptional work. Dick Orkin and Bert Burdis were (not surprisingly) working as “Dick and Bert” -the reigning kings of creative radio, offering their writing and production services to clients of all sizes and scopes, from local car dealers to national brands. Shortly after, they split to form The Radio Ranch (Orkin) and Bert, Bars, and Kirby (Burdis). Both companies, along with numerous other firms designed along the same lines and offering similar services, thrived.
The ability of these companies to coax a lot of memorability out of 60 seconds of air time was admirable. Their creative abilities to come up with concepts was terrific, but I especially admired their vocal talents and ability to produce excellent spots with impeccable timing and editing. I am fortunate enough to have, on my reel, spots written by me, but performed by Orkin and produced by his company. (This is unusual, because for a lengthy time, Orkin’s company refusedto permit his voice to be used on any spots they themselves had not written.) Read the rest of this entry »