Tips & Techniques - April 1993

The Idea Bank

by Jeff Left

As a Creative Director, it's my job to create a team of thinkers. No man is an island when it comes to gathering ideas for clients. Less is not more. The more heads in a room, the better. If you're into production and you do not have an Idea Bank, you're in big trouble. A Creative Director without an Idea Bank is like telling your Program Director he doesn't need the music on the computer. Let the jocks rotate the cards. It's easy to remember tempo, artist and separation, female to male separation, levels of gold and currents and recurrents! It's the same with creative production. The fix is having your own Idea Bank! Here is how it works:

1. Start Having Brainstorming Sessions: Once a week, get everyone in the station at twelve noon for a brown bag lunch -- I mean everyone and anyone! The more the merrier! It would be really nice if the station would spring for pizza every other week.

2. No Bad Ideas: Start to write every idea, no matter how stupid, into your binder -- and not just any binder, but an alphabetical binder. Everything goes into the Bank.

In a short period of time, you'll have a great Idea Bank! It doesn't apply to just the radio stations meetings either. Any spot you hear on the radio or television that you think has creative weight must go into the book. The same goes for ads you read as well. Many of the creative print ads you see can be turned into a more creative audio piece.

And the advantages of an Idea Bank are endless. If you have to leave your current station for one reason or another, you can take your Idea Bank with you. When your new Sales Manager needs a great idea for the Ford dealership, you say, "Give me a few minutes," sneak off to your office, and make a withdrawal from the Idea Bank! Then you give him the "Car Wars, May The Fords Be With You" spot, just in time for the new second trilogy from George Lucas Films about to be released in your hometown theaters. Then he needs a great Chevy ad because the Chevy dealer heard the Ford spot and now he wants something just as good. Another withdrawal and you amazingly come up with a great "Friends, Don't Let Friends, Drive Fords" spot! Why, you used to be about as deep as a puddle; now you're an ocean of ideas just a flowin' all over the sales department!

At each station you go to, you keep adding to your Idea Bank, and you'll never be caught with your mike down because you didn't have an idea, or worse, THE idea!

The old TV show Bewitched ought to be required viewing for all speech/communications majors. Remember Larry Tate? Remember how he used to set Darin up with clients? If Darin had the wrong idea, he would just say something like, "No, that's not it. Now tell them the real idea Darin!" Are there any Sales Managers that you've worked with that come to mind? You need an Idea Bank!

Another great way to increase creative production is to have every Production Director in your chain put together the top ten local spots in the market on a cassette each month. That includes other stations in the market, too. Everyone swaps them with each other. You get ten great ways to enhance your Idea Bank monthly, and it's a good way to get to know each other in the group as well. You can never forget it, if you can read it again. That's why you need an Idea Bank!

Sometimes, you'll take an old idea from the bank and create a new twist in another market and become the hero again! The art of originality is sometimes not to invent, but to do better the second time around. The bottom line is, with an Idea Bank, you'll always have an edge over the next guy. You'll always be able to put together the great creative production because you have the great idea! Break a lip! 


H3000 Patch: "Gun Shot"

from Andy Capp, KELO Radio, Sioux Falls, SD

Begin with preset #412 "Thunder" and change as follows:

Cutoff 1: 1420 Hz
Cutoff 2: 300 Hz
Q Factor 1: 44
Q Factor 2: 990
Delay 1: .00 msec
Delay 2: .02 msec
Scale 1: .0%
Scale 2: .0%
Coarse: 500 cents, (1.335:1)
Fine: 500 cents, (1.335:1)
P Delay: 30 ms

Then, under "Function," choose "Func Gen" and make these changes:

Amount: 2
Rate: .01 Hz

Also, set Soft Key #2 (Tone) to 52.00. I also renamed Soft Key #1 (the trigger key) "Bang!" which has nothing to do with the sound of the effect, but sure has eliminated those "What does 'Bolt' stand for?" questions form the other producers.... 


 The Right Head...

from James L. Jones, Production Director, K99.1 FM/WHIO-AM, Dayton, OH

Here's a little tip that worked well with some new people in our news department. In the ancient art of splicing: the playback head is on the right. So, it is "the right head" to make your edit mark on.

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