What’s The Most Effective Length for a Sweeper

What Is The Most Effective Length for a SweeperClients always want value for their money. And more often than not producers/VO guys face tremendous challenges from radio stations who want to fit in as much information on a 30-second radio commercial,promo or a 10-second sweeper.

Enda Caldwell, our interviewee, has gone a long way since his humble beginnings as a presenter on Irish pirate radio – Kiss 106 Dundalk. Today, he has become a favorite voice of top-level clients like IP Luxemboug Advertising Agency, TM Studios,  and Dublin’s FM104.

So what is the most effective length for a radio sweeper? Enda took some time with RadioJingles.co.nr to give us some insights, and tells us the importance of radio and VO guy/producer coordination.

Does your client provide you the script or copy or do you usually do the writing most of the time?

I often start with a blank page on some projects and just let my creative juices flow. With stations like say FM104 in Dublin they have a specific style of script for The Download Chart so I follow their script on that project. With many start-up stations or new clients they come to me for ideas and it’s a 50/50 thing. I have lots of writing experience and I love words and language so it’s a part of the process I really enjoy… especially when you hear the finished product or liner on the air.

When it comes to imaging and promos, is keeping the length of a promo or sweeper shorter always an important matter to consider?

It depends – sometimes for certain openers and promos it is important to keep things longer as that is what is required. Very often “length” is not the overall consideration on my mind. What is more important to me is to say what needs to be said to get the most / best meaning across using the fewest or most effective words possible. If you talk to anyone in imaging like Dave Foxx at Z100 or Matt Lomax at Kiss 100 they will tell you that duration is not always the most important consideration when making any liner, promo or sweeper. There are times when creating a teaser that is like 10 secs long where you will deliberately make it even shorter than 10 secs for even greater teasing effect..

Well, it all depends on the copy or idea or the selling point you’d like to convey, but what is the best and most effective time length for a sweeper, 15 seconds , 10 seconds?

I would say that in the old days it was 15 seconds but nowadays it seems that the trend is more “real” sounding stuff that is shorter so in effect the part where people used to insert a simpsons drop or other “quirky” movie quote is becoming less and less frequent and people are going for a less contrived and more “this is now” style of liner.

As a voiceover imaging guy, do you agree that a station should have a consistent voice guy to do all the promos and IDs? Why?

I like the idea of three voices. That is where you have your main male deep (let’s say US) voice, then someone more lighter and more youthful in tone like myself as a shadow voice – giving the deeper voice even more authority as the light and shade type thing works. WPLJ New York did this to great effect using Chris Corley and Sandy Thomas for the Totally 80’s weekend liners and promos The third voice I would use is a female, not necessarily a US voice either but rather someone like Georgia Cubbon from New Zealand who is just awesome and is one of the true rising international radio voice imaging stars having been voicing ZM Network in her native country and now based in Sydney doing stuff for stations like 2Day FM. I would rotate all three voices and keep one as the main theme voice with the other two as shadow voices depending on the format and style of station sound.

Does it ever happen to you that you voiced 2 different radio stations in the same market? What did you do to make sure that each client gets a unique approach and sound? Because the tendency here is that when listeners hear your voice in one station, they’d associate your voice to that station, which makes it complex if you are heard on 2 stations.

I try and voice only one station in the same market. What a fast way to lose work voicing two stations in the same market!? The only exceptions are where I am the voice of FM104’s Download Chart and I asked them permssion to do some charity voice work or freebies for temporary licence stations like The 90s Network and Christmas FM. I try and keep a county apart with all the stations I voice so that there is no voice conflict.

If a radio station asks you to re-image their station this year, new liners, new top of hour, new promos and everything, what is the first thing that you will ask from the program director?

What delivery style do you want from me? I recently added a new CHR station where I am station image voice (male) and this was the first question I asked. It’s important that the client feels you have a feeling for the sound they want. You are their voice on the air really, delivering their words and messages to their listeners.

Enda Caldwell CHR Demo | Download

From Irish Pirate Radio To International Broadcaster

Enda Walter Caldwell’s career began on Irish pirate radio with Kiss 106 in Dundalk. His international reputation lay in wait as he transitioned to RTE and RTL Group’s Atlantic 252. Then Today FM nationwide across Ireland, Cool FM in Northern Ireland plus he’s been heard on Kiss 100 London and 104.9 XFM London.Enda was a mainstay for Atlantic 252 and was the last presenter on the station on it’s last live day of transmission. In the last few years Enda’s worked as the International Marketing Director for Florida-based voiceover artists Sean Caldwell and Spyder Harrison. Enda’s voice has been heard on Sirius Satellite Radio on St.Patrick’s Day 2006 as their Irish Lucky Charms Leprechaun

You may have seen Enda (he’s a moviestar, too) as a movie extra in a number productions including ‘Angela’s Ashes’ as the hospital porter! As well as his broadcasting commitments, Enda still has time to indulge himself in his other great passions – keeping fit, canoeing, classic cars, fine wine and learning the Luxembourgish and French languages.

So Why Did You Choose Radio?

Because it’s the best job in the world playing records, using that natural Irish “gift of the gab”(hey, they even pay him for it!). Growing up in County Meath, Ireland, I listened to Casey Kasem, Rick Dees, Benny Brown, Jason Maine, John O’Hara, Mark Byrne, Pat Courtenay and many more of the great guys in radio (really far too many to mention here) who inspired me. My Uncle Brendan was always talking to me about the pirate stations in Dublin and the radioships out at sea.

In Three Words, What Style Best Describes Your Voice?

Fresh, Engaging, Energetic .. a voice that cuts right through the processing!

Tell Us More of Your VO Experience/Background?

I studied voice delivery (Speech and Drama) from a very early age with London College of Music ( A.L.C.M) . I have worked in many areas of the voice over spectrum from TV Continuity and imaging to Commercials and Radio imaging through to Cinema trialers.He has a lot of top-level clients like IP Luxembourg Advertising Agency, TM Studios jingle company and many top radio stations worldwide like the #1 in Dublin – FM104.

Enda also works really well on messages on hold, voicemail greetings, voicemail messages, online radio voicetracking and internet sales.. and on 1000’s of radio and tv commercials worldwide.

Enda’s belief is: ” we never stop learning in this business. I am open to all new ideas that come up.”

Enda Caldwell also provides imaging production services. He has a fully-equiped digital studio in Luxembourg with partner in business – Pierre Fuchs. Together, they can do very high quality mastering. Visit Enda Caldwell now at www.endacaldwell.com

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