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07/09/2006 - par Mark Tungate

When you write at home, as I do, you listen to a lot of radio. Nova and TSF are my favourites, punctuated by a bit of France Info. With TV going niche, radio is strengthening its position as a mass media. To see how well it delivers, you only have to look at the effectiveness site radiolab. com (not to be confused with radiohead. com). The other day, I interviewed a creative director in South Africa, where satellite TV is considered expensive and radio is hugely influential.

But I must confess that I'm often irritated by radio advertising. As far as I can tell, there are three main types of radio ads :

1. Song ads. A popular song is massacred with new lyrics about a special offer on socks.

2. Conversational ads. Husband and wife, or mother and child, discuss a special offer.

3. Funny ads. People with amusing voices attempt a joke. Usually, these ads end with a jingle. Most mobile phone ring tones are more ­interesting than radio jingles.

That's why I'm pleased to hear that Stratégies is supporting the Grand Prix de la Radio. Good radio advertising certainly exists. For instance, I always keep an ear out for the Eurostar ads, which are both intelligent and funny. Overall, though, I believe that the standard of radio advertising needs to be raised. Niche radio channels, uninterrupted by advertising, are now freely available on the Internet. If traditional radio is to remain a respected medium, advertising must become part of the entertainment it provides.

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