Inside Secrets: The Importance of Good Sound Design

We often receive feedback from radio stations on how our show branding packages stand above the rest. We truly believe that these branding packages are an integral part of a successful radio show, which is why we’re often amazed at how many shows use the same generic voices and the same tired liners year in and year out.

At The Radio Department, we pride ourselves on doing things differently and are always striving to create the best sound design possible for all of our shows. We want to share some of our insider experience with you, so keep reading to find out the three major elements that we believe make a successful radio show package.

The Voice

Finding the right voice is one of our top priorities, so much so that there have been times where we’ve delayed the launch of show until we find exactly the right fit. The voice of show IDs becomes an integral part of the show — especially mixed based shows — and in many cases this voice drives the show.

The voice is usually the first thing that listeners hear, often before the presenter or any music, so it has to stand out and catch the listeners attention. A few examples:

The ‘voice’ of ASOT has become a legend to the show’s fan bases.

The female ‘revolution’ voice that we used for most of Carl Cox’s Global openers became so symbolic that he began to use the radio show opener to open his DJ sets in clubs and festivals around the world.

For his show Subliminal Sessions, Erick Morillo voices his own opener, which consists of a short, personal dialogue on what music means to him.

More recently, using Hosie Neal’s voice for In The MOOD gave it a refreshing twist and set it apart from every other techno show. This specific opener also offered a light approach with one-liners that many fans now have tattooed on their bodies.

The Music / Sound Design

Using a montage of music to open a show can be lazy and seem too easy, which is why we try to steer clear of doing so. Gorgon City’s openers, for example, don’t use any of their chart-topping music. John Digweed’s show Transitions barely even mentions the show name, instead it uses a piece of music that John created as an exclusive opener just for Transitions.

Refresh

Each year, all of our shows get a jingle refresh. Often times when we do the refresh, we build on the current show instead of creating a completely new theme. This helps keep a sense of continuity for the show while still allowing it to grow and evolve.

Check out how Carl Cox’s show developed over the 7 years that we used the ‘revolution theme.’

We regularly create bespoke packages for radio stations and individual shows — please contact gavin@theradiodepartment.com for more information.