A Thousand Words

May 29, 2012

In radio, we are beginning to see more stations and personalities “get” the power of visuals.  The popularity of channels like Instagram and Pinterest, along with the changing nature of Facebook through “Timeline” is cementing this idea.

For radio people, however, this is something of a leap.  That’s largely because most of us were brought up in the “School of Theatre of the Mind” where we learned that our words were more important than the pictures shown on TV and in print.  Legends from Stan Freeberg of yesteryear to Nick Michaels in modern times have reinforced the power and influence of words.

Of course they still matter, but today, the world is totally visual – it’s in color, it’s carbonated, and it’s instantaneous.  Radio needs to participate in this revolution.  In June, I’ll be moderating a panel at the world famous Morning Show Boot Camp in Miami called “Must See Radio” that will focus on the importance of visual tools for radio people and stations.

And that takes us to the social sphere and the ability to be able to communicate feelings and attitudes on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels – even though we’re in the radio business.

The use of a great picture can stir up conversation, kindle an incredible wave of emotions, and help stations and personalities build their brand images by connecting with the real people who enjoy them.  On social media, there is a lot of information in our feeds.  An emotional, compelling picture allows us to crack through and tap into our audiences’ true feelings and attitudes.

A case in point occurred last weekend over the Memorial Day holiday.  Many stations simply posted pictures laden with flags and soldiers (as did this blog).  There’s nothing wrong with that, but like Seth Godin’s stance in Purple Cow, there’s nothing remarkable doing what everyone else does.

Then there’s WCSX’s Paul Buck.  He posted this picture on the station’s Facebook page, along with a compelling question for station fans.  You can see the result below:

There’s a reason why Instagram got their billion dollars, why Pinterest is growing, and why you’ve stopped carrying a camera in favor of your smartphone.  It’s a visual world, and those who take the time to make smart emotional connections with pictures stand to be the winners.

Click.  Share. Comment. Connect.

P.S. By the way, if you and your team does a great job with video for your show or station, please email them to me: fred@jacobsmedia.com We are looking for great examples of radio people that use visuals well.


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5 Responses to A Thousand Words

  1. Keith on May 29, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    It is a slippery slope…

  2. Paul Buck on May 29, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Thank you,Fred.

    • Fred Jacobs
      Fred Jacobs on May 29, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      Thank YOU, Paul, for the inspiration.

  3. Mike Anthony on May 29, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Thanks Fred -

    As usual you are bringing to light great points. Yes, there is a reason that Facebook has triple-downed on photos. There is a reason why Pinterest is off like a rocket as the #3 sharing site on the web. There is a reason behind why YouTube and Twitter are so addictive. But what everyone will find interesting is the science…the “why” behind the addiction users have to these sites. And it is an addiction.

    Instead of just posting stuff. Understand what kind, what time, how often and how to make your site a habit and maybe an addiction. Radio can use this science too.

    Listen to – Behavior by Design.


    • Fred Jacobs
      Fred Jacobs on May 29, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      Thank for the link and the videos – they are very, very good. We will not succeed in the new space unless we’re willing to go to school and learn a new art form for communicating with our audiences. Thanks for helping point the way, Mike.

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