Radio imaging has many other names, such as radio jingles, radio production or radio sonic; all of the terms there are used to describe one or all of the terms collectively.
The radio imaging term relates to sounds that make up a radio station sound, with the exception of the music or speech content.
The radio imaging is first made by the radio producer or radio production company and is targeted depending on the type of radio station and music being played. Soft music requires soft elements and harder music requires harder elements broadly.
Radio imaging can be made by a company and sold to a radio station or a radio station of a group of stations can employ a team or singular producer to make the radio station imaging or station sound as it is otherwise known.
The producer will first make the imaging then play this to the superiors before it is loaded onto a form of playout system and then played by the on-air staff as part of the radio show. Often journalists or broadcast journalists will also play a part in using these elements.
The sounds or imaging as it is collectively known will more than likely serve two purposes. The first is to identify the radio station, the second is to advertise something on the program or show. Mostly when you hear radio imaging you will hear the station name or the broadcasters name along with some nondescript sounds which are collectively known as sonic.
Sonic is also making either in house our by production companies. These companies will employ musicians to make noises with instruments that can be used as sound effects which make up the elements of sonic and thus can be used by radio producers as a form of a tool kit to create radio imaging.
The process of creating each singular piece of imaging, or cut, involves using editing software such as Pro Tools or Adobe Audition, either perform similar tasks the first is much more professional and expensive. Pro tools are used in TV and larger radio stations and Adobe Audition is used in smaller ones. Although there are more than 20 other types of software that can do the job perfectly well.
Often when creating radio imaging the producer will book a voice-over session with a voice over and engage in creating the elements which consist of voice over, music, and sonic. All three are often used for best effects as they create an exciting and familiar listen for the audience.
Unlike radio jingles, radio imaging cannot be sung, although sometimes the two terms can be confused with one another. With radio jingles, these are normally musical and have a sound that can be remembered by the listener, in marketing terms often these are the best forms of radio station imaging.
There is a selection of production companies all over the world that produce these similarly some of the best forms can also come from employees. You can see our resources for more information or examples. Broadcast journalists, do use these elements also, these might be in short news bulletins, or at the beginning or end of each news item, an example might be the various sounds heard on youth station news programs, such as Newsbeat from the BBC.