Letters to the Editor - June 1990

LettersA big thanks to Gary Kleinman for offering his parody of "She Drives Me Crazy" for use by R.A.P. subscribers. As a country station, we really couldn't air the song, but it did give us inspiration for a contest for Secretaries Day. We used snippets of the song in a promo and went in search of the "Laziest Boss on the South Plains." We urged secretaries to send a fax or a letter describing their lazy boss in 25 words or less and offered to match the winner's salary for one month as well as deliver a dozen roses to her and a black balloon bouquet to the lazy boss.

The eight day promotion drew nearly 400 responses and generated a lot of great phone bits, and the entire promotion was inspired by Gary Kleinman's song parody. Thanks again for making it possible. By the way, the winning secretary said her boss is so lazy, "it takes him an hour and a half to watch Sixty Minutes."

Concerning your article "10 Ways to Shorten Your Day," I have discovered the best way to keep distractions to a minimum is by keeping my office door closed. Nonchalant visiting is nearly wiped out, and co-workers with minor problems miraculously find their own solutions and answers.

Debbie Parmley, Production Director
KLLL-FM/AM, Lubbock, TX


 

A note about the lack of support for The Cassette. As a regular supporter, I don't mind seeing my spots there almost every month. I make it a point to have at least one spot to contribute every month. It's a personal goal. Some people operate under the mistaken notion that the ratings, or the rent, or some other exterior pressure, if correctly applied, will produce above average results a high percentage of the time. But, the only real pressure to excel comes from within. You make a conscious decision to be the best you can be, then you make a concerted effort to follow that decision. Only you know whether or not you're living/working up to your potential.

The downside of this philosophy is the neurotic perfectionist. My response to them is that their idea of perfection is imperfect; or, if something is indeed "perfect," it doesn't belong here because this is an imperfect world; or, in the mystical view of life, once you drop your false notions of how things should be and simply accept things as they are, everything is as it "should" be. (By the way, a "perfect" sentence contains a triad of thoughts and precisely 59 words.)

Meanwhile, back in the material world, when you stop promoting yourself, you stop advancing. I consider having spots appear on The Cassette a means to advancement. I have had two job offers directly related to it.

The question I ask myself periodically is, "Am I doing work I'm proud of?" If the answer is, "No," I ask myself, "Why not?!" In the final analysis, you are the only person that gives a damn whether or not you succeed. Even Mother Tereasa don't give a hoot about your sorry ass! If you don't believe me, call her and ask her.

If you're doing work you're proud of, share it. If you're not, why are you doing what you're doing?

Glenn Miller
WKDF-FM, Nashville, TN


 

I would be very remiss if I failed to include a short note of appreciation with the enclosed renewal. R.A.P. has certainly served to fill in a LOT of spaces in my understanding, not only of how some things are done, but also of what's happening in radio elsewhere, and who the guys (and, uh...gals?) are who are making it happen. Christian radio can be very creative and is getting more and more so, and I'm sure the "big boys" over here can stand keyboard-to-keyboard with the Rick Allens and the Power Pigs, etc., over there; but, I'll be the first on my block to admit with awe that I'm not in that category yet!

At first, $75 seemed all out of proportion to the size and thickness of the mag; but, lo and behold (to coin a phrase), over time, I now have to humbly admit that things like having access to the spots and promos on your monthly cassette, and the exorbitantly overstuffed columns and departments, make this mag all out of proportion to the other trades, none of which particularly address the strange cats called Production Directors. In short, while it appears that some of the folks in this business may not be too tightly wrapped, I'd hate to be un-RAP'ped every month, now that it has become a (good) habit! Thank you again for finding a niche and filling it to overflowing.

John Linton
WZZD-AM, Philadelphia, PA


 

I would like to recommend the AKG Digital Edit Station for a future Test Drive. I think if you give them a call they will bring the unit to you as they did for us. Let me tell you first, I have used a computer terminal very few times and I'm certainly no computer wiz. With this unit and an AKG rep by my side, I created an 8-track promo in 15 minutes. By myself, I did the same promo in a half hour -- twice later that day, the same promo in ten minutes. I'm talking about scratch editing the voice, the winner's voice, sound effects, and adding music and editing it to hit posts at will. AMAZING!! The board even has faders and a scrub wheel for "moving" the audio as if it were on tape. I'm still dreaming about it.

Joey DiFazio
WFAN-AM, Astoria, NY

Dear Joey,

Thanks for the suggestion. We are trying to get our hands on the AKG DSE-7000 for a Test Drive. It seems there are not enough of the units around to park one at R.A.P. for a period of time long enough to thoroughly review the machine. I have read all the literature on the unit and have seen a couple of video tapes and, I agree, it looks quite amazing! The people at AKG and Allied are aware of our desire to review the 7000, and I believe they are working towards that goal. In the meantime, we hesitate to give an opinion of the DSE-7000 until we have put our grubby little fingers on it ourselves. Maybe your letter will be the catalyst to get the DSE-7000 in our hands. Thanks!


 

...I've enclosed two promos and several sweepers (for The Cassette). Several of these sweepers had to be produced at KKBT, a crosstown urban station. About a month ago, maintenance crews were applying fireproofing materials overnight on the floor above our station. Unfortunately, there was a "slight" spill, and all the water and chemicals found their way into my board. When I arrived in the morning and unlocked the room, the smoke just poured out. The console was completely fried, as well as three cart machines, a CD player, and the DAT. While the room was being overhauled, I was forced to borrow production time from KKBT, and work second shift in our sister station's four track studio. Things looked rather bleak.

Fortunately, Pacific Recorders had a board exactly like ours ready to ship to another station. That console was rerouted, brand new cart machines ordered, the CD and DAT replaced, and within two weeks, the 8-track production room was back up and running again!

During that two week period, I gained a new appreciation for just how much easier it is to work with eight tracks verses two, or even four. I didn't think that I would need the advice, but your article from several months ago on how to get the most out of a four track recorder really aided me during my moment of crisis.

Many thanks for making those two weeks bearable go to KKBT, Pacific Recorders, the KLSX engineering crew, and Radio And Production. Thank you for your wonderful publication.

Ken Martin, Production Director
KLSX-FM, Los Angeles, CA


 

Finally, in our Letters section, a few more responses to the Ferber syndrome rippled in this month:

I missed Doug Ferber's article in the March RAP, as well as the letters to the Editor which followed. But, judging from Doug's letter in the May issue, and the Editor's retort, I can pretty well put together what must have been said.

I will add only one thought. I've been in radio as a Creative Director, Production Manager, P.D., personality, and News Director for nearly 18 years. In that time, and especially in my spots as Creative Director and Production Manager, I have become acutely aware of only one really distinct parting of the ways between sales and production: It seems that while the account executive views his or her function as getting the client on the air, I view my function as keeping the client on the air. There is a very big difference.

Barry King, Production Manager
KLS-FM, Amarillo, TX


 

Well how about it! We actually have communications between production and sales! Being a "tongue-tied comedian from Columbus, Ohio," I know something about that! Name calling aside, whether I'm dealing with a salesperson who drives me nuts, or one I work well with, once I go into the studio, I don't come out until I've given the client the best radio product I know how! That's the bottom line!

I would also like to give Radio And Production a ringing endorse-ment! Finally, Production Directors across America have a conduit of info and a developing network of producers. As for the monthly Cassette, I'll gladly send in some more $$$$ to keep it going! Your cassette is a terrific chance to, not only showcase some of my own work, but more importantly, a chance to hear the work of some of today's Production Masters, and believe me there is some incredibly hot stuff being done! Keep RAP rollin'! We need you!

Karl "the Spaceman" Gruber, Production Director
WHOK-FM/WLOH-AM, Columbus/Lancaster, OH


 

Judging from the responses Mr. Ferber has already received, our point has SURELY been made: LET US DO OUR JOB! We must face the facts! Sales and production will NEVER see eye to eye. Hey, we don't have to! What we do have to do is work together -- daily! With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for Mr. Ferber and all the other AE's in this bizarre business to help towards that goal:

1.NEVER say, "I'm really sorry to bother you, but..." No you're not, or you wouldn't! I'm sick of hearing it.

2.NEVER say, "I know this is against your rules and guidelines, but..." If you know it's against the rules and guidelines, why are you doing it? Just get to the point, and we'll see what we can do!

3.NEVER assume your intellect, experience, insight, intelligence, and craftiness are above us "Tape-heads." You will get burned.

4.NEVER try using your sales tactics and techniques on your production people. We've seen it and heard it before. Just GET TO THE POINT!

5.NEVER promise to buy lunch, dinner, ANYthing for your production people and then not deliver. We remember things like that.

6.NEVER--NEVER--NEVER, as Doug Ferber did, tell us that, if we're nice and treat you right, and do a good job for you, you'll introduce us to your "contacts." I'll trust my own abilities and my own judgments on that one, if you don't mind.

7.NEVER interrupt your production people when there is an alternative (and there almost always is) like a note.

Now, are there any "positives" (as AE's love to say)? Certainly. To the MANY AE's who know how to take care of their production people, we THANK YOU! We DO understand you plight. We know yours is a tough job. We know that sales are what generate revenue, and, consequently, our salaries. Just please keep in mind that while you may deal with forty or fifty accounts, we may deal with three-hundred.

Every Production Director in the world has dealt with "Ferber-ites." It is much more fun, not to mention mutually productive, to deal with AE's who TRULY have a good grip on our end of the business.

Now, here are some ideas that work for me in dealing with sales. Perhaps you can utilize some of them in your situation, Prod-gods:

1.Set your guidelines, policies, and deadlines down, lay them out clearly so everyone understands them, then STICK WITH THEM! Here's the kicker: Be willing to be flexible when necessary.

2.Select the biggest "Ferber-ite" on the sales staff (if you have one) and determine to narrow the gap. It's very painful, but the results are great!

3.Try to establish a period of time during each day that is YOUR time. I call it my "DEAD ZONE." During the "DEAD ZONE," sales people are NOT ALLOWED to bother me in any way (mine is from 11 am to 1 pm)! You'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish during that time! Whether writing copy, catching up on your filing, or producing, it's YOUR time, and always productive.

4.Don't expect sales people to react to your work (i.e., a PERFECT spot) the way WE would! They might love the spot, may laugh out loud, may even play it for the rest of the staff and they all laugh out loud, but they WILL NOT understand nor appreciate fully what all went into it. So don't expect them to. You'll be very disappointed, and the gap will grow.

5.If an AE lands a big client with a huge schedule, congratulate him. Even if you know your killer spec spot had a lot to do with it, congratulate him. He did a good job.

6.Finally, take every opportunity to narrow the gap. YOU take the initiative.

Kelly Wilson, Production Director
WYMG-FM, Springfield, IL


 

Editor's note: With these letters, we'll put the "Ferber Article" to rest. It wasn't expected that responses would carry on for this long, and we continued to publish them for one reason: If we didn't, this rag wouldn't be YOUR forum as we keep telling you it is.

It seems only fair to share a bit more about Doug. Shortly before writing the article, Doug completed his MBA from SMU in Dallas. With over four years prior experience in radio sales and his degree under his belt, he made it known in the market that he was ready to get back into sales. Several stations offered him jobs, and he settled for a prime account list at Dallas' number one station, KSCS-FM. Only months into the job, he is meeting each of his monthly quotas 30 to 60 days in advance. He's one of the hottest young salesman in the market. It is interesting to note that, even though he struck several wrong chords while trying to relate to some of the country's best production people, he is possibly one of the country's best salesmen. If you were to buy your own radio station, you might keep people like Doug away from your Production Director, but you'd want people like him on your sales staff.

Let's see... what department should we pick on next? How about an article about production people by an engineer...? Yea, that's the ticket! ♦

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