JV: So, your responsibilities there are voice work, imaging The Bull, and then commercial production?
Rachel: Yes, but recently it has skated over to 90 percent imaging for The Bull. The Bull needed a lot of babying, and I’ve fully fallen in love with it, so I devote most of my time to The Bull now.
JV: Did you say you were also writing commercials?
Rachel: Yeah. I’ve been writing commercials for a long time.
JV: Are you writing the liners and the drops and such for The Bull?
Rachel: It’s actually a group effort. Most of the time our Operations Manager, who is also the Program Director, also writes them because I’m just too busy with all my other stuff to write them. However, I have been very, very lucky; the Program Director does not micromanage me at all. So I get away with more stuff at a country station than I think any other country station in America would allow, and it is awesome. I image the station mainly with CHR ChaseCuts and whatever else I deem necessary. But I will not do anything to our country station that sounds country, and I know that sounds like it makes no sense, but that’s why I was brought in to do it, to give the modern feeling. I was brought in to get all the twang out of the country. We went from a .1 share to almost beating the Number 1 heritage country station in town, and they’re about to go down.
Before I never even cared about the music because I’m a producer. I’m like, “Whatever music, who cares. As long as I have a job.” But to see the station go from just not having any direction at all to a rocking, upbeat, young, fun country station is great.
JV: There are six stations in the Clear Channel cluster there; are you basically dealing with commercial production for all of them?
Rachel: That’s correct. Most of the time though, I end up doing the rock station slots because everybody wants a young, sexy female. It’s cute; all the little AEs will knock on the door and be like, “Hey, Rachel, we know you’re already on this and that, but can we use you on this too.” You always want to say yes to make them happy.
JV: Do you have other producers helping with the commercial load there?
Rachel: Yes, there are three full-time producers besides me, and Barbara Scott Sherry is our Production Manager.
JV: When did the freelance work start to take off?
Rachel: The freelance work is where I get the biggest smile on my face. Again, I was super duper lucky when I got here because of everybody downstairs in the CSG, Clear Channel Creative Services Group. I was lucky to work in the same building as the boys -- and when I say the boys, I’m not referring to everybody there. I’m referring to just some of the producers there. I guess I came in and was bouncing off the walls and ready to learn. This was it, and once I have fallen in love with something, that’s it. I am going to do it to the nth degree, and I knew this was my opportunity to build my own business.
So, I asked them, “Hey, what can I do for you guys? What can I do to make extra money? How can I learn from you?” aside from voicing everything they wanted me to voice, which you get paid for. The sales leader of CSG at the time, the Client Director was like, “Hey, you need to be on the swat team,” and the swat team is something that when they get overflowed with work they will hand out their overflow to Clear Channel producers. Well, somehow I became almost like a one-woman swat team, and I started getting every single one of the projects and establishing relationships with these AEs all across the country, in huge markets. Lite FM is my biggest client in New York.
JV: For commercial work?
Rachel: Yes, and voice work too. And Clear Channel LA is a huge client of mine, and Florida. I established so many lasting relationships. These are people that I still talk to. It got to the point where they would just call me and say, “Hey, Rachel, we need a commercial written, produced and voiced,” and they knew because I could do all three, they were only going to have to deal with one person. And I was never going to do their spot super duper fast just to get it done. I was going to labor over it until it was absolutely perfect and everybody was happy, because otherwise, you just have to redo it. What’s the point?
JV: Writing, voicing, production… what’s your favorite of the three?
Rachel: The one thing I love about all of it the most is the voice work. I am a true voice girl at heart. I love producing. I love writing, but I want to get to the point where I do those things for fun and not because I have to. Honestly -- I’m not going to lie -- I favor the voicework because you can make the most money in the fastest amount of time.
JV: But you have some serious production chops, too.
Rachel: Oh my god, tons.
JV: Granted, production takes a lot more time and it doesn’t pay nearly as much, but I get the impression your production skills had a lot to do with moving you along the path.
Rachel: One hundred percent completely. Like when I got the call from Eric Chase, of all people, good Lord. He’s like the god of production. Everybody knows who Eric Chase is. This is the man who built Chase Cuts, which is a hugely known and respected imaging service. And he’s a triple too; he can write, produce and voice. So when a man like that calls you and says, “Hey, I’d like to put you on retainer,” you kind of fall off your chair. I was having a party and putting up streamers and blowing kazoos in here when that happened.
I’m still with him. I’ve backed off the production side a little bit, just because I am so busy with The Bull; it needs love. But I’m still with him doing voices, and I’ll get listener audio from my friends to use. I guess you just learn after a while, it’s instinctive the questions to ask to get good listener audio, to get the responses that you want, to fool the listener into saying what you really wanted them to say all along and thinking it was their idea to say it. I go out with my little Zune and throw it in people’s faces, and everyone knows when that comes out it’s time to all shut up so there’s no background noise and Rachel’s going to ask all her little questions.
JV: That’s an excellent idea and something I think a lot of producers should be doing. How would you describe your style of production?
Rachel: I like to relate the style of my production to the style of my life. I do not want to label myself with one style because I feel like that would be putting myself in a corner and not being able to come out. It’s just like if I wake up in the morning, and if I feel like putting on a mini skirt and hot pink high heels with full makeup and curled hair, that’s what I’m going to do. I may be different the next day. It’s whatever I feel like that morning.
JV: How do you approach a piece of production? Are you the kind of person that likes to have it laid out in your head before you go to the computer, or do you create as you go?
Rachel: I absolutely do not have it in my head first. And I guess I do have a certain way of doing it, especially when I’m doing imaging. I am so fortunate to work with an amazing voice talent named Cousin Deke, who’s in Dallas. He’s our voice guy on The Bull. He is unbelievable. We also voice a station together for the first Program Director I ever worked for in Lafayette, Indiana. We’re the voice guy and girl team on that station, so he and I have known each other for years. He just knows what The Bull needs. He knows it needs to be upbeat, and he goes nuts with adlibs. Then, what I’ll do is listen to his voice track first, and then as soon as I’m done dying from the comedy routine that he gives me, I’ll lay that down. Then I’ll get all the sound effects. Then I’ll gather the music and put it all together. But I guess I don’t go into it with any kind of plan because I feel like it would take away from the creativity of whatever jumps into my mind at that moment.