January 2010 Highlights

Interview: Richard Stroobant, RTBN/SAIT, Calgary, Alb., Canada

by Jerry Vigil

If you've thought about what's next in your career, after radio, you've no doubt thought about making it in the VO business, or with your own production company or advertising agency. But there's another career path that you might not have considered... Teaching. No, not math and science, but teaching the very things you've mastered over the years in radio. Richard Stroobant enjoyed a 20-year run at Calgary's legendary CJAY-FM as an award winning producer when he began to see the writing on the wall in an economy that no longer places great value on well seasoned talent, but rather places a target on their back when budget time comes around. While good jobs teaching radio may be even scarcer than good jobs in production, if you can find one, you may find a home well suited for your next twenty years. Richard is in his third year as an instructor at SAIT Polytechnic, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary. It's a job that Richard finds just as enjoyable as radio and just as rewarding, if not more so. This month's RAP Interview gets an informative look inside one of North America's best broadcast schools from one of the three instructors in their Information and Communications Technologies Department. Be sure to check out this month's RAP CD for an impressive collection of work from Richard's students.

Feature: What Time Is It?

by Craig Jackman

The strap on my watch broke the other week. As it's a nice watch, a 15th anniversary present from my wife as well, I decided to order up a new strap to get it fixed... of course nobody had what I needed in stock. As I use my watch constantly and feel naked without one, I had to go out and buy a cheap watch while I waited for my new strap to come in, and the new watch is pretty interesting for $20. Not only do you set the time, but the difference to GMT, and the longitude to the nearest arc minute. Why? Well it does the expected time, stopwatch, and alarm, but it also displays the phases of the moon and high and low tide. It will display the sun's azimuth, resulting in a more-or-less accurate electronic compass. Now please recall that at the end of the '60s, NASA sent men to the moon and back with less computer power than you'd find in a fancy pocket calculator. In the '70s you could get a pocket calculator built into your watch. Now you can get a watch that will control your I-Pod while monitoring your heart-rate and calculating the amount of calories burned in your workout. The next big thing will be building a cell phone into your watch. It's all overkill, and it's getting away from the real reason of something, in this case my watch.

Radio Hed: Lessons from Neiman Marcus

by Jeffrey Hedquist

It's a bright shiny new year, and while the sounds of holiday music may have faded, hanging around homes throughout this great land and of course on the web are copies of that reminder of classic outrageous advertising – the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book catalog with its over-the-top "fantasy" gifts. Many of you may remember these selections from the 2008 Christmas Book – his and hers life-size LEGO sculptures ($60,000 each), a Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadium end zone in your backyard ($500,000), the titanium motorcycle ($110,000). You could also get a custom backyard golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus ($1 million). Call me if you'd like to come see ours.

Q It Up: The RAP Network Speaks - What happens when your home studio computer crashes? Part 1

Q It Up: If you're employed, hopefully your company has someone who can come to your rescue when your studio computer has problems, but what happens when your home studio computer crashes? How much do you know about computer repair? Does someone else do the repair, such as Dell Support or a local computer repair shop, or do you troubleshoot and fix the problem yourself? What steps have you taken to ensure that a crash or failure on your home computer results in minimal disruption of your routine? If you've suffered severe data loss in the past due to any kind of computer crisis, what did you learn and what practices did you put into place to prevent such loss in the future? Feel free to add any other thoughts you might have on the subject!

If you have a question for the RAP Network, email it to editor@rapmag.com!

Production 212: Libraries, Mastering and Solving a Mystery

by Dave Foxx

This month's mailbag got some really interesting questions, all of which seem to be pertinent to some, if not all producers who read this column. I've picked a few that seemed particularly interesting to me to answer here this month. I hope you all find them useful. The first comes from a producer in Southern Florida regarding production libraries:

I listen every month to the RAP CD, hoping it will help me be a better producer. A lot of the best promos have absolutely awesome effects. How can I get some of those effects for my own work? Which libraries do you use and where do I look to buy them?

...And Make It Real Creative - To Be (pause) Or Not To Be

by Trent Rentsch

If you write copy for any length of time, you realize that punctuation isn't the roadmap to interpretation you might want it to be. Usually in my case, this means that the voice talent brings my words to life in ways I didn't intend, giving them the illusion of being better than they are. But I often wonder if really good writers are insulted by the direction actors take their scripts. What would Shakespeare do, thrust into our world, looking back on centuries of interpretation of his works? As an example, let's take just one line from Hamlet: "To be, or not to be: that is the question:"

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