It is one of those words that becomes more weird the more you say it. MOOD, mood, mood, mood, mood, mood. A small word with a big impact. In reality it can be a massive impact. A person in bad mood, or a low mood can find it totally debilitating.

When it comes to the world of radio, “Mood Stations” exist and have existed for quite some time and more pop up all the time. Just recently my former employer launched a couple of new ones for example.

When I launched a couple myself, Union Jack Dance and Union Jack Rock nationally, the mood and feeling was paramount. For the first few months of their lives they didn’t have any “shows” as such and it wasn’t until 5 months or so after launch that they took a 6 way breakfast and drive show. The mood therefore was woven into the fabric and image of the station and programming from the start- and in truth took a little while to fully establish and feel comfortable- almost getting used to their skin a bit. Celebratory, championing and euphoric about the music genre, and unapologetic about it were at the centre and quite frankly often are when it comes to stations of mood. Revelling in their own position is part of the mood they create- and generates a gravitational pull to like-minded listeners.

There is another thing about mood- radio as a medium is simple fantastic at generating it. Radio can lift a mood and spirit like no other- even other audio media like a podcast I’d argue. That comes down to how its created and subject matter of course, but even downbeat, sombre music stations can engender a feeling of an uplifting mood. The presentation is seldom equally as sombre or downbeat as the music. I remember when we relaunched Smooth across the UK with a mood of being relaxing (now since changed of course), but the overwhelming focus was on not being ‘downbeat’- even if the music was laid back or low pace, the presentation and “mood” was not. It took some time to get right, and occasional outbreaks of “porn voice” along the way!

Radio’s influence over mood and therefore morale is one of its massive strengths. Radio has a connection which impacts mood hugely. Why might that be? I think central to the reasoning is the way that radio works. I have often presented to media students and others, a session which asks about all the things which you can’t control about the listener’s listening experience. Things like distractions, other noises, volume, etc. where they are listening. Flipping that, the things that you can control include the language, the pace, the flow, the subject and the interest. The imagination and the mind of the listener, what they think about when you stop talking and the mood they feel when you play the next song- is all controllable and within the grasp of radio. THAT IS POWERFUL and something radio can deliver in spades.

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Published by Dick Stone

Radio...its always been radio.

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