"...And Make It Real Creative!": Lean Your Ear This Way

by Andy Capp

Ugh, not already! Jingle bell SFX, sixty-second Christmas carols dug up from every audio medium ever invented, my pseudo-Santa voice on too many specs to mention. Ho, ho, humbug! The holiday production season has arrived.

Not that the holidays are all a punch bowl of eggnog for the rest of the staff. Everybody's running around like elves on the day before the night before Christmas, and while on the surface it might seem like everyone's only busy adding to production's workload, in reality, they actually are adding to production's workload -- okay, and making more money than any other time of the year.

Now we all know what we could use during this season from sales and programming to do our jobs better (i.e., the right copy info, realistic lead time, lunch...), but it never occurred to me before to ask them what they need from production...until now.

What you are about to read are "Christmas Wish Lists" to production from a General Manager, a Sales Manager, a Program Director, and a Sales Rep. As it happens, they are the General Manager, Sales Manager, Program Director, and a Sales Rep I personally work with every day, but I think they have some universal messages for us all (like, "I ought to send a tape and resume to KELO. That Capp must stink as a Production Director!").

Oh, two more things. First, the lists are appearing in the order they were received, and second, I've taken the liberty of noting how each person met his deadline. I hope you'll find these features as sadistically entertaining as I do.

Leigh Anglin, Sales Manager

(Delivered four days ahead of deadline.)

Top Ten Things the Sales Manager Would Like from Production: 10) Forty seconds of copy squeezed into thirty. 9) Ten-minute turn-around time on spec spots. 8) A little more hype. (The client wants hard sell). 7) Five minutes less dead roll time on the front of spec tapes. 6) Spec spots on CD. 5) A little more hype? (The client wants hard sell.) 4) Use of copyrighted music. 3) Humorous spots with four voices, two stingers, three sound effects, and singing out. 2) An unauthorized dub of the complete station library of Rolling Stones CDs. 1) Could you add a little more hype? (The client wants hard sell.)

Reid Holsen, Program Director

(Delivered three days past deadline.)

What a PD Wants from Production and/or Sales: 1) Please, get the facts straight and proofread your copy to prevent needless retakes. 2) When doing promos, zoom in and understand the audience's attitudes, tastes, and activities, and reflect that back in all you do. 3) Make sure that what is put on the air is the best possible quality from labels to production values. 4) Prioritize your responsibilities and duties, and do the most important first. 5) Be open and honest with Sales and Traffic people; if you cannot produce a piece of copy by a certain deadline, tell them that. If you're too busy, offer positive alternatives without being combative or threatening. 6) If a concept or piece of copy makes your stomach tumble, then it probably is not right for your station. Trust your gut! 7) Systematically work with the Program Director to keep on-air promotional messages fresh, updated and on target. 8) Think "outside the box." Always be thinking of new ways of saying and doing. 9) Accept words of compliment graciously! 10) Accept criticism with an air of confidence and maturity. 11) Keep your promises. If you can't keep the promise, don't make it in the first place.

Josh Houk, Sales Rep

(Delivered first draft on deadline date. Forced to re-write. [Hee, hee!] Ended up four days past deadline.)

Dear Andy: As we sales elves approach the magic time of year when retail demand is high and our inventory is low, we must take time to figure how in the heck we're going to get through this again! As your good little elves, we distribute what you make, but with recent changes in our market, we need more of your toys. The following list of tools are needed to insure smooth sales and production. The list: 1) Specs, specs, specs...they work, they sell. 2) No commercial cliches. 3) Creative spots. 4) Updated music beds that help sell the products. 5) Promotional tie-ins. 6) Creative scripts. 7) Demo spots for upcoming promotions. 8) Client visits with sales. 9) Production demo of yourself to sell more value. 10) And anything else that will help us make money, sales, goals, budgets, and the boss happy. PS: Have a great Christmas.... Now get to work and be creative.

Tom Simmons, General Manager

(Snuck off to the NAB on deadline date. Cornered for these words four days past deadline.)

"Peace in all relations with sales people, and great creative to all."

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

So, what have we learned here? The Sales Manager at KELO prefers Letterman to Leno. The GM does have time to write a shorter memo. Capp isn't much of a Production Director? Yes, we have learned some important things, but it's also good to note that pesky irritants like specs and demos are important to Sales, that accurate information and targeting the listener's lifestyle are important to both kinds of PDs, and that everyone is committed to creative work and mature, professional working relationships.

Living in the production room over the holidays, it's easy to feel used and unappreciated. At times like these, it's good to review something like this and remember how important our work is to the station at large.

I know I'll review them Thanksgiving evening while I'm dubbing Sticky Fingers for Leigh.

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