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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  La Journee Creation Radio (Radio Creative Day)

La Journee Creation Radio (Radio Creative Day)

Posted on July 30, 2003 and read 7,099 times

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I was one of the hundred or so lucky people who attended the FREE seminar offered by Le bureau de commercialisation de la radio du Québec (BCRQ). Apparently, many others were left on the waiting list, so I counted my lucky stars to catch such an educational day with award-winning guest speaker Terry O’Reilly from Pirate Radio, Toronto.

By 9:30 o’clock, everybody had arrived and was sitting down sipping coffee and having a complimentary breakfast from the Mariott. Mr. Alain Tanguay, director (directeur général) of the BCRQ, took us through the logistics of the day and explained the goals of the BCRQ, an organisation dedicated to promote the effectiveness of Quebec private radio to advertisers and advertising agencies. He then introduced Mr. O’Reilly.

The theme of the day was: “À la radio, l’écran est plus grand”(In radio, the screen is larger), meaning that radio can grab the listener’s imagination, much more than TV or print can and throughout the day, Mr. O’Reilly certainly proved this.

He started with a story on his debut in the business as a copywriter/chief in a small Burlington radio station in the 1980’s. From there, he moved on to work at many top creative agencies in Toronto (Campbell-Ewald, Lowe Goodgoll, DDB/Needham and Chiat/Day). He later founded Pirate Radio, a creative and production house which now employs 40 people.

Mr O’Reilly went on explaining the pros and cons of using radio – a medium often overlooked and neglected by agencies. Although, good creative radio is probably one of the toughest to write and the hardest to sell to a client, it is an excellent alternative to TV, being cheaper to produce and buy. Radio also has the quickest turn-around time as it is possible to create, produce and air a spot within a day.

Mr O’Reilly described, that during the creative process, is it of the utmost of importance to develop a single-minded brief with one main selling point. He also stressed the need to be original and creative; to know your target market, what the competition is doing and to use the right tone in your message.

With more than 70 messages examples from both his firm and others around the world, Mr. O’Reilly conveyed the characteristics of how to write dialogue (through the use of slang or informal tone), monologues and when and how to use announcers.

He provided commentary on many different styles of spots; described how to correctly use humour (fast-paced style, using reaction to funny situations, or using exaggeration) and drama (slow-paced style, using the element of surprise, how to use rhythm).

He also talked about the role of celebrities and how they can greater interest to low profile products. Mention was made regarding the importance of sound effects and their role in the enhancing the message by adding humour, drama or surprise.

Since coming up with a good script for a radio spot is only the first step in getting the campaign on air, Mr O’Reilly gave many tips on how to present your work to your client. He insisted on the importance of projecting confidence during presentation. He noted that showing your thought process in concept development and creating a fun atmosphere will also make it easier for your client to approve your work.

The day ended up with a few tips to keep in my mind when writing radio spots.

Here are some to remember:

– Always use short sentences

– Include phone numbers only if they’re catchy and easy to remember (Nobody take notes while listening to the radio!)

– Establish your characters in the first 10 second.

- UNDERWRITE your spots to leave room for the actor’s interpretation

(use 85 words for a 30 second spot. – 185 words for a 60 second spot. )

- Assume intelligence from the listeners. Don’t give out all the punch lines.

- If you can, use words starting with k or hard c. They’re funnier.

Mr. O’Reilly was an interesting and entertaining speaker who kept me and the rest of the audience enthralled throughout the whole day. By 5 o’clock, I left the Mariott with a book full of tips and totally sold on the medium of radio.

Many thanks to the BCRQ for organizing this event.

For more information :

See Pirate Radio website at:

And Le bureau de commercialisation de la radio du Québec (BCRQ) website at

Dominique Fleurant
Montreal Journalist.




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