How One Specialty Shop Is Evolving With Its Medium

Or, Why It's Hard Sometimes To Explain What We Do

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Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
Most of the wonderful people on the Small Agency Diary are part of shops that are easier to define. But, here I sit, the crazy guy from Portland who talks about radio all the time. It occurred to me that it would probably make sense to talk about what, exactly, we do.

The heritage of Xhang Creative is based in radio creative. I spent 12 years working directly in the radio industry in a number of capacities but mostly as a creative director. I was fortunate to have worked with a number of clients, agencies and individuals over the years. Name a category and I've probably done something in it.

Which brings us to what, exactly, Xhang Creative is. Clearly, we are advocates for radio and audio creative. We do more traditional radio creative, starting from concept to production or anywhere else in the process, for national clients like Radio Heard Here and Tiger Balm and a handful of local clients.

We also work as contractors on the Radiocreativeland blog for Radio Heard Here. This is purely about creating written content and audio on the site. O'Keefe Brands in Richmond is the lead agency for the project and they are a joy to work with. What's great is that I am able to write and talk about a medium, in all its forms, that has been very good to me over the years. Sure, it is decidedly "rah rah," but I know first-hand the power that radio and audio can have on a brand or advertiser and I'm not afraid to evangelize about it.

So far, this all seems rather plausible and easy to digest. But, digital is where it gets a little funky. I have a deep love of digital and content. Our first real digital project was a pop-up radio station, contracted by the RAB, during Advertising Week in 2007. We streamed and podcast sessions, live interviews and other content every day during the week. It was an absolute blast and we were able to connect in a way that was (and is) special. Advertising Week had their own radio station and we were speaking to a large, albeit narrow, audience. In 2008, we replicated it and the response was even better.

Advertising Week was when the idea of Small Plate Radio popped up. Advertising Week was filled with stories and we knew that there were literally millions more to tell. So, we decided to build a studio in Portland where we could create some interesting, niche, content. Essentially, we're doing "social radio." One of the projects we're enjoying the most is a bi-weekly live internet radio show for Oregon's Sesquicentennial. We have scads of topics and stories, so it is easy to create and fill one of these stations with content. We also believe that many brands have the same opportunity. So, as it stands now, Small Plate Radio is all about: pop-up radio stations, an emerging network of eclectic content ( and private-label audio projects, including internet radio stations for brands and those with special interests.

The thing we love most, though, is collaboration. We love supporting agencies in both traditional radio and our new Small Plate Radio venture. Helping a client or brand see a new way of communicating their story is invigorating. Making all of it effective is always our mission, no matter who we work with or the space we work in -- traditional radio or whatever form radio takes next. Things can and will probably evolve. But, at this point, we are best described as a hybrid agency of traditional radio creative and audio/digital content creation. We know where our strengths lie and we intend to continue on that path to do the best work possible.

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