Useful Websites and Articles

Every now and again I find useful sites on radio advertising.

I will try and keep this updated.

So hear goes…

For a start buy this book. Just Get it. NOW!! don’t read this blog again until you have bought it. The Creative Led Sell by Mike Bersin.

Ralph Ruckman writes on 2 Secrets For Successful Radio Advertising

Dan O’Day always has great advice for writers, clients and sales people. Click here.

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Ed Harwood 1955 – 2003

Ed Harwood (right) relaxing at a Creative Training Day

8 years ago I was in Northampton and about to go into a training session with Tracey Reed, my boss and Head of Creative for GWR when we heard of the death of Ed Harwood.

We were stunned.

It didn’t seem real. We couldn’t carry on with the day and cancelled the training.

Ed was a larger than life character. The big Geordie guy in the Terminator trench coat.

When Ed disagreed with you, he told it to you straight.

He was one of those people that you thought would always be around… bringing you back to earth with a bump, challenging the way you thought about things. He could scare sales people and put them at ease within seconds.

It was Ed that told me when the twin towers had been hit, it was Ed that I worked with at Beacon Radio as a fellow Freelancer before taking full time positions at GWR.

I first met Ed at Metro Radio in around 1989…. Where he’d come in to voice a commercial for an anti-smoking campaign supported by the guys at Viz…as the Character “Biffa Bacon”. His line in a strong Geordie accent… “Divvent smerk tabs… or a’ll knock ya heed off!”

Alongside the likes of Mike Hurley he’s one of those great characters from commercial radio advertising, and one of those people who’s advice, conversations and occasional rants, have helped me in my career. It’s strange that Ed came to mind today, a conversation with a sales exec this morning just reminded me of a session we ran at Beacon Radio. It suddenly took me to that day in the Northants FM, the day Ed was in a motorcycle accident. Taken away from his new wife whom he adored. To see some tributes click here.

Thanks Ed…. And no….a coke is fine! I STILL don’t want a beer!

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Dan O’Day on Radio Advertising

Dan O'Day

I first met Dan O’Day about 15 years ago. I had heard his name mentioned by programmers and I thought that his main seminar program was all about training presenters. I soon began reading pieces he’s written on radio advertising. Dan showed a passion for getting results for clients. Many sales operations forget that the best sale is the resale… that is the client that books again because the radio advertising works for them. Many radio sales operations I know focus on getting the client “on air”… as long as the client “likes his ad” that’s all that matters… give him what he wants! Reading Dan’s Advertising Letters and reading his advice online at has helped me to concentrate on “getting the advertising to work”.

In around 2000 I completed the course he wrote for the RAB in the USA.. the Certified Professional Commercial Copywriter Course. I was the first person outside of the USA to get the qualification (according to the RAB the first person outside of Texas!). I learned many new things, but also things I already knew were organized logically, and received wisdom was challenged. (For example the section on client voiced commercials opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about it, when most radio writers threw their hands up in despair at the mere mention.) I am about to put 2 of my staff through the course, because it’s as relevant today… and in Kenya… as it was 10 years ago in the UK.
I’ve since been fortunate to attend his seminars in both Paris and London… enjoyed a car journey with him from Bristol to Northampton, and kept updated by his blog on both his travels, thoughts on advertising, and his experiences around the world.

My advice:-

If you are a radio advertising copywriter at a radio station or at an agency, take the CPPC course. It’s around $350 from the RAB. Also, sign up for his advertising email.

If you’re a client or a sales person read some of his articles and advice, even take the CPCC to get the insight on how radio advertising works.

If you are a radio station owner, book him for Advertising seminars for your commercial team.
You may not agree with EVERYTHING he says, but you will at least be able to organize your thoughts and formulate your opinions based on clear arguments and discussion.

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Mike Hurley

Mike Hurley

Three years ago, one of the UK’s top voice artists died suddenly. It wasn’t just a sad loss for his family and the Voice Over world, but Mike was also an amazingly talented writer and evangelist for good radio advertising. Somewhere in the vaults of Capital Radio Nottingham/ Trent FM is a splendid video of a presentation Mike did for clients of the station. His eyes sparkle with passion as he talks about how to make radio advertising WORK.

In the voice over booth we got some of the best out takes. His sharp wit taking over when his voice tripped on some over-written agency sows ear. Or an explosion when he got a take wrong. Some Voices will give you a glance when they finish a read and you KNOW that they think they’ve not done it as well as they could.. but they hope it’s good enough for the producer. Mike wouldn’t do that. He’d immediately volunteer to give a better take. He wanted to give his best…. Even for the voice fee of a £14.90 local radio script.

I remember spending time with Mike at Radio Aire in Leeds. He used to visit Yorkshire TV next door and then pop in to a) see if there was anything we needed voicing b) wait to pick his son Mikey up from school and c) just pass the time chatting animatedly about radio, what was good, what was bad and what needed putting right. I considered Mike as a good friend.

There’s some more about Mike here…
And a video of a TV documentary about his work…. “Voiceover Man – Voice Over Artiste Documentary, Confessions of a Vocal Prostitute”

See if you can spot the duvet in the studio! When Mike was doing sessions down the ISDN Line he would put the duvet over his head to create the sound proofing.

I can’t believe it’s nearly 3 and a half years since he passed away. I can still hear his voice.

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