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Radio Definitions: Sweepers, Liners, Voiceovers, Promos, Bumpers

What is your definition and the differences between a Sweeper versus a Liner?  :'(

UPDATED 2019-May-16 based on discussion with others...

STATION IDs
Station ID's are short duration audio recordings (i.e. less than 15 seconds) which identify the station name, frequency, and slogan, and they always reflect the marketing branding and image that the station wants to promote, i.e. “WNEW - The Newest Hits!” (spoken in an upbeat, happy, excited voice, etc). They usually utilize an audio background melody ("jingle") as a branding method to store this melody into the listener's memory ("a catchy melody"). This helps the listener recall which station they listen to the most often, when asked by marketing research polls and surveys, which is important for setting advertising rates based on the percentage of the listening market.
Note, they are played as stand-alone elements, not overlayed on top of audio during the intro or outro of a song.
RadioDJ Track Type = StationIDs.

SWEEPERs
Sweepers are very short duration audio recordings (i.e. less than 5 seconds) announcing the name of the station with background audio elements and sound effects that reinforce the marketing branding of the station (upbeat pop, or aggressive rock n roll), which are inserted in-between programmed songs, and remind the listener of the name of the station they are listening, to strengthen their memory of their favorite station name. They are very similar to Station ID's, but shorter in duration. They are named "sweepers" because they "move" the program forward to the next piece of content, i.e. music song, talk segment.
Note, they can be are played as stand-alone elements, or they can be overlayed on top of audio during the intro or outro of a song, if they are overlayed, they do not use any background music bed in the recording.
RadioDJ Track Type = Sweepers.

LINERS
Liners are longer duration audio recordings (i.e. less than 30 seconds), and are similar to Station ID's, but they have a less formal attitude to them, i.e. they can be funny, unique, not as serious as formal Station ID's. Examples:
  • Music Artists - "Hi this is Michael Jackson, when I'm in town, I listen to WNEW!"
  • Funny sayings - "Have you been put to sleep by another radio station's boring music? Listen to the fun people on WNEW!

They are named "Liners", because they are usually a 1 line sentence.
Note, they are often played as overlays on top of audio during the intro or outro of a song.
RadioDJ Track Type = Sweepers

VOICEOVERS
Voiceovers are a pre-recorded voice track of short duration (i.e. less than 30 seconds) that sounds like a live dj is talking, but it’s actually a recording playing as an overlay on top of the song music during the intro or outro.
RadioDJ Track Type = Voiceover

PROMOTIONS
Promos are audio recordings of short duration (i.e. 30 seconds) that announce promotions for a content themed radio show, i.e. “Weekly Top 40 Countdown” and include the day and time that the show will be live on the radio.
Note, they are played as stand-alone elements, not overlayed on top of audio during the intro or outro of a song.
RadioDJ Track Type = Commercials (even though they are not paid commercials, they are advertising a show)

BUMPERS
Bumpers are audio recordings of short duration (i.e. less than 10 seconds) that are used to transition between different program content, such as changing from previously played set of "fast tempo" songs, into an upcoming set of "slow tempo" songs, or when switching from one on-air personality's show, to another on-air personality's show, "and now it's time for 2 hours of the dopest rap music with NoFool2Kool on WNEW!"
RadioDJ Track Type = Sweepers
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 05:59:45 PM by stevewa »

Offline plauri

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Re: Radio Definitions: Sweepers, Liners, Voiceovers, Promos
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2019, 03:48:58 AM »
As far as Voiceover and Promotion are concerned I agree with your description and usage. Sweepers and Liners are the same to me: I use them over the intro's song.
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Re: Radio Definitions: Sweepers, Liners, Voiceovers, Promos, Bumpers
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2019, 05:55:51 PM »
I updated the definitions along with explanations and examples, as some of our students were confused what the differences are, and which track types should be used for which type of audio element.

Offline Chip Douglas Mosley

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Re: Radio Definitions: Sweepers, Liners, Voiceovers, Promos, Bumpers
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2019, 07:41:30 PM »
 :cool:

That's pretty much the way I've described these format elements in 40 years of radio programming. Good job!
Chip Douglas Mosley
Jukebox 92.7 WEPQ
www.jukebox927.com
Radio DJ user since 2016, Live365 since 2019
Now using v2.0.2.0 since January 19, 2020

Offline JoshTheRadioDude

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Re: Radio Definitions: Sweepers, Liners, Voiceovers, Promos, Bumpers
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2019, 10:30:38 AM »
I would offer a couple of suggestions here.

Liners, in my experience, generally don't run for more than 10 seconds -- 15 tops.  If you're going 30 seconds into the intro with a liner, you're almost guaranteed to walk right over the post in most formats.  I think it would be safer to say that some stations use "Power Intros," or pre-produced copies of songs that include a longer intro (usually a looped part of the instrumental track) with a sweeper edited over top of it.  I've heard those last up to 20 or 25 seconds in the more extreme cases.  But liners are generally short to fit the normal intro of a song.

I would also add that, at least in my experience, bumpers in the music programming realm are more commonly referred to as "transitions" since they transition the tempo upward or downward or transition from one genre to another.  "Bumper" (again, in my experience) has always been more associated with talk programming, as in "bumper music" used to open or close a show block.  I've heard "transitions" in music programming referred to as "bumpers" before, as well, but not very often.

Other than that, I concur with what you've got here.  Nice work!
"Jimmy James will hereafter, and for the purposes of this contract only, be referred to as 'God.'"
-- the Act of God clause in Bill McNeal's employment contract with WNYX

Re: Radio Definitions: Sweepers, Liners, Voiceovers, Promos, Bumpers
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2019, 06:36:05 PM »
thanks for your input. The duration of the liner was just set to differentiate it from the very short duration of a sweeper. I agree with you, in real life the duration would probably never be 30 seconds, and if it was, it would not be an overlay on top of an intro.

Bumpers are good for the students to use for different student hosted shows.

This was mainly to create a dictionary so the students would learn a standard descriptive language when using RadioDJ.

Re: Radio Definitions: Sweepers, Liners, Voiceovers, Promos, Bumpers
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2019, 11:09:42 PM »

This was mainly to create a dictionary so the students would learn a standard descriptive language when using RadioDJ.

This point is hugely important! I lecture part time to postgrads in broadcast and there are so many terms that it can seem daunting to the newbie.

Offline Chip Douglas Mosley

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  • Retired disc jockey and radio programmer
    • Jukebox 92.7 WEPQ
Re: Radio Definitions: Sweepers, Liners, Voiceovers, Promos, Bumpers
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2019, 12:07:06 AM »
Hey stevewa!

I just printed out your definitions to put in my operators handbook. Thanks for sharing! :ok:

Chip
Chip Douglas Mosley
Jukebox 92.7 WEPQ
www.jukebox927.com
Radio DJ user since 2016, Live365 since 2019
Now using v2.0.2.0 since January 19, 2020