Letters to the Editor - September 1992

LettersSomeone please tell Dr. Lee that the sky is not falling! ["Economies of Scale"/August '92 RAP] Yes the upcoming consolidation of the radio industry will weed out the marginal players in all aspects of the business, that includes management and sales as well as production. However, if you possess superior production skills, there will always be a place for you. Remember too that the number of stations is not going to decrease. Ratings will still be important and therefore stations still need a high quality on-air presentation to capture more listeners. High quality on-air sound means you need good production. So stop scaring all those production guys out there; Lord knows they're sensitive enough!

Doug Ferber(ite), Sales Slime
KSCS-FM, Dallas, TX


...the reason for this letter is to discuss an interesting item, and, if I may be so bold, promote a CD that was just released. 1992 marks the 25th anniversary of "Switched-On Bach," the world famous recording of Johann Sebastian Bach's music which, for the first time ever, utilized electronically synthesized sounds on one of the very first Moog Synthesizers. To commemorate the event, Telarc has released "SoB 2000," a reworking of the original music using current technology by Wendy Carlos. She went back into the studio and re-recorded all of the music using digital computer synthesizers and, as a bonus, performed everything with instrument tunings from the Baroque period.

The CD is incredible and done in digital 3-D. But for us production people who are getting into, or considering getting into, digital technology, Wendy offers some valuable insights in her liner notes regarding this "marvel of science."

For one thing, even though for the very first Switched-on Bach recordings she could only perform one note at a time on the old Moogs, she found that the recording process took even longer this time, than previously. Why? Because she had thousands more options available for each segment. Plus, she did not have as much control over shaping the sound on the current equipment as she did with the old Moog system. The liner notes to this CD make a fascinating read, as Ms. Carlos weighs the pros and cons of digital modern technology versus the old analog systems. Make no mistake, she prefers the current equipment. But she does present an interesting argument to those out there foolish enough to think that digital recording processes will make studio time faster. True, they can perform the tasks faster, but with the greater amount of options available for sound editing, and sampling, it will likely take much longer just to figure out what the hell you want to do with it all.

Ms. Carlos is also kind enough to list all the equipment used, but she doesn't indicate on which particular piece what was used. None the less, it's a great CD, and the liner notes are very informative. But, what ever you do (and I can't emphasize this enough), DO NOT USE ANY OF THIS MUSIC IN YOUR PRODUCTION. Thank you.

By the way, for those of you who still haven't heard, Wendy Carlos used to be Walter Carlos, but she converted from analog to digital. Sorry, it was too easy....

John Pellegrini, Production Director
WKLQ-FM, Grand Rapids, MI


I really enjoyed the interview with Mark Margulies [Aug. '92 RAP]. The foundation of all good, let alone great, production starts with the script. Fancy zaps and custom music can't cover up the fact that you are not saying anything. I'm lucky to work with two great copywriters. Production people who do it all by themselves should look seriously at this service and see if they can use it. You can't believe the difference a second brain can make to those important copy questions. This would be great for those who can't write comedy (and let's face it; not all of us can!).

Mike Lee's piece on LMAs was of interest, but once again, things are different in Canada. Our FCC (the CRTC) would never let that situation happen. In Canada, it's VERY difficult to even own two stations (one AM and one FM) in the same market. I guess that's what we pay all these extra taxes for, more government and more regulations.

Craig Jackman, Production Director
CHEZ-FM, Ottawa, Ont. Canada

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