The Creation of Beds

Posted By on Nov 29 2010 12:00 AM
They’re a major part of the vast majority of radio stations, especially those that play music. They signify the style of the station, it’s music, and style of the particular presenter, show and link. From their name, you’d be tricked into thinking they were the things you and I both sleep on at night, but no. When speaking of beds in a radio sense, we’re talking of the piece of instrumental music played underneath when a presenter does his/her link.

Beds we sleep on come in all shapes and sizes, as do radio beds. You’ve got your straight 2/3 minute beds that can be looped over and over should the link go on over a long period of time, you’ve also got ramps that can last anytime from 10 seconds, 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then of course the doughnut, a bed that is topped and tailed with your station ID.
Ramps, I find, are generally used to tail up to an ad break, especially on commercial radio in the UK. It gives the presenter a chance to speak after a track with nothing in the background, and slowly lead the bed in, which ends on the station ID built in. Perfect for talking up to ad breaks, the news, and anything else where it might be a bit of a change to what you’ve done before for the listeners.
I myself as an imaging producer have produced various beds, which can be used as beds but also used in different imaging elements. I don’t use fancy whizzes as yet, but when I do produce beds for imaging elements, as well as general bed use for talk ups, I try and vary the style, so its easily loopable, and can be edited easily, so when you do include it in a jingle, it doesn’t sound “off”.
If you’re interested in making beds, and you have a Mac, Garageband has a bunch of free instrumental loops you can play around with, for some of the work I’ve done for community stations, I’ve used this as a starting point, creating a sound that fits a particular station. If you’re a Windows PC user, they’ll be some software you can download to do similar, the key is, especially if you’re starting out, to just have fun with it, experiment, and see what happens.
The bed, not only useful for having a good nights sleep, but also useful for showcasing your stations style of output.

*This article originates from the blog of Producer Pinnell, and has been used on Broadcasting World with prior permission. Click Here to visit the blog



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