How to launch a brand new Morning Show in Sydney…

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Darcy reached out to me a few weeks ago as my good mate Konsky put him into my direction. We started the convo and it turns out, that he is the new Chris Davis, which means he is the new morning show Imaging guy for 2dayFM in Sydney. He has worked along side Chris and Konsky for a year and now is going out there to make his own mark. As the Sydney radio market is one of the most competitive in the world I was interested in the journey of Darcy, as well as how they put together the new morning show imaging for this year. A new show in a very competitive environment… What can be done in terms off differentiation? How can you compete with the morning show legends Kyle and Jackie (who has been on 2DayFM forever and now doing mornings on KIIS). Will Dan and Maz make it to the top? Morning Show Imaging in Oz – Enter Darcy.

Sydney, Australia is an exciting place to be right now if you’re working in Radio! We’re just gearing up for what will be an epic battle in the radio ratings as the 3 CHR powerhouses (KIIS, NOVA & 2DayFM) return to the airwaves to ultimately take out the much sought out no.1 spot. Currently working as one of the Breakfast Image Producers at 2dayfm, it’s particularly exciting as we kick off the new year with a new name (Hit 104.1 2dayfm), logo and more so, a new Breakfast Show.

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Introducing a show to a new market is never an easy task, and at 21 to be doing that when you’re in healthy competition with imaging legends such as Mike Santos means the pressure is on but Dan and Maz are an exciting duo who bring with them a really refreshing sound. Learning to image in this style has allowed me to learn some important lessons so far:

1. Point of Difference

Find your point of difference. I’ve found It’s important that you take the time out and ask yourself what’s going to separate your production this year from everything else that’s around you at the moment. This not only requires a good knowledge of what other stations are doing but more importantly may require you to step outside your comfort zone and look at other creative ways you can represent your stations brand.

That can be uncomfortable, trust me! Like a lot of us I love to create huge sounding production, full of powerful drones and hits that force a listener to stop and listen, giving them an experience that mirrors that of seeing a great trailer in a theatre minus the comfortable seats and beautiful smell of popcorn! But in my case, Dan and Maz aren’t that type of show. They embody fun and I’ve had to switch from the use of huge VO’s and the overuse of dance beds to a more fun, colourful, fresh sound.

I’m now at a point where I love it. Simplifying the production around the content has provided an important reminder that just as silence can have a huge impact on the air, simplicity is a tool that when utilised properly can provide a solid platform for the content to standout.

2. Balance

Starting a new show, at the start of a new year, whilst trying to move house and get my head around a new sound has proved a great reminder that balance is everything! Both in production and in your personal life. Just like a team is only as strong as its weakest link, you as a producer will only be as great as the foundation you set for yourself. The humbling fact is that we’re all replaceable. What we do is a great privilege and it’s important that we all take the time to invest in our personal life, building relationships and side projects, because this will not only increase our personal capacity, which in turn will allow us to progress further, but more importantly it creates the support system around us so when the times get tough there is someone there. No doubt this can at times seem idealistic, but it’s the things we put in place for ourselves now that will ultimately lead to continued longevity.

Balance in production is equally important. Dan and Maz have a very distinct sound that comes from using a character voice and a lot of quirky music. In particular we make use of the song called “Happiness” which features throughout the promos as it really personifies who Dan and Maz are; fun, fresh and colourful but not pretentious. At the same time remaining relevant to our target demo and producing a sound that sits in line with the station brand is equally important. The contrast can hopefully be heard in the below promo’s and I think finding that happy balance between what could be perceived as creatively abstract when compared to ‘traditional’ production and something that is still relevant and appealing is really important.

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3. The importance of great promos.

This may seem obvious, but I had the chance to sit in with the creative director for a large TV station here in Sydney this week to chat about their creative process and strategy behind promo making and he raised some really great points;

When it comes to promo’s it’s not about the show your promoting, it’s about the audience and creating an emotional response in them. Just as people often forget what you say but remember how you made them feel, promo’s become a wallpaper if we fail to connect listeners from where they’re at (how they are feeling) to where we want them to be. Whether that’s immersed in a sense of fun, experiencing a moment of emotion or creating an unreal sense of passion about a particular subject.

It also served as a nice reminder of just what an opportunity we have in the 30–60 seconds we get to convey an idea or message with thousands of people as they’re driving to work or waking up in the morning. Below are the promos made in the first week for Dan and Maz which hopefully sums up all of the above!

Producing for Dan and Maz is going to be equally fun as it is challenging. Like any great challenge though, it presents a great opportunity to learn, grow and develop and I’m grateful to be able to share some of that journey with you. I hope the start of your 2015 see’s you taking your production to the next level and remember, rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula!

–         Darcy

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