Letters to the Editor - May 1993

LettersA gentleman named Jim Dapp is the sole proprietor of Dapp Advertising in Dayton, Ohio. Jim has been around the business since the late forties. We often talk about "radio" philosophies and, in particular, "production." A few days ago, Jim sent me something he wrote, and with his permission, I am sharing it with you.

THIS IS RADIO...

It's for the Ear! The only thing that counts, is HOW IT SOUNDS! If it ain't GREAT, we blew it. It won't grab 'em, wake 'em up, make 'em think, and SELL SOMETHING! And if it doesn't sell, EVERYBODY blew it -- the advertiser, the agency, the station salesperson, the station, and the production people who recorded the spot. All the frequency in the world won't make just "average" production sell. Radio is JUST FOR THE EAR. No pictures. No color. No motion. Just what our listener hears. DONE RIGHT, it can work like gangbusters!

Another thing: People DON'T listen to radio on big expensive speakers like the ones in production studios. Every car and truck doesn't have a super-duper set of speakers, or windows closed all the time, or a quiet motor. Want to really understand the problem? Imagine the size of the speakers in bedside radios, shower radios, kitchen radios, portable radios.... Get the idea?

Something to remember: the spot you're doing can end up sandwiched between a national spot and a regional spot. If you do just an average "local" job, your spot will stand out, and the smell will last for sixty seconds. A spot that sounds like somebody "reading" copy...stinks! It's an instant turn off! Listen to people talk. There's inflection, enunciation, pacing, highs and lows, and slight pauses. A question mark in copy means a question mark IN YOUR VOICE. An exclamation point...same idea. A radio spot (like a TV spot) is a "little theatre" production, even if it's only one voice.

Remember this too: when you do a spot, IT'S YOUR REPUTATION ON THE LINE.

I have shared this Jim Dapp Epistle on production with the entire staff here at WHIO/WHKO. It holds true to anything we do on the air, whether it's produced or live.

Also enclosed is a video I produced for our production department. Its purpose is twofold. It gives everyone an appreciation for the kind of investment the station has made to production, and it also is being used by our sales staff to show clients our commitment to a good product.

James L. Jones, Production Director
WHIO-AM/WHKO-FM, Dayton, OH

Dear James,

It's interesting to note how similar the thinking is between today's writer/producer and someone who started in the business a half a century ago. Thank you, and thank Mr. Dapp for us also.

The video you sent was quite impressive! Unfortunately, we can't put your video on The Cassette to share it with our readers! In lieu of that, let us say to our readers that the video is basically a tour of the station's production facility. Each piece of equipment is described, and the cost of each piece is mentioned. In some cases, as with the Ultra-Harmonizer, a sample of what it can do is provided. The video lasts about ten minutes or so. It's not a high-dollar production, but it certainly doesn't come off as cheap. It is well planned out and well narrated. And it definitely leaves the potential client or the newcomer to the station with a sense that WHIO/WHKO is SERIOUS about production. EVERY STATION SHOULD INVEST IN A VIDEO LIKE THIS!

Thanks for sharing it with us, James.