September 2011 Highlights

Feature: The "Zeke" Method

by Matt Anthony

August is one time of year here in New York, when there's a line winding down the hall and out the door of young college students hoping to bag a couple of credits interning at Z100. Most of the successful candidates end up working with the Elvis Duran & The Z100 Morning Show, a few go to the Promotions crew. The rest end up in one of the other departments, including

Production 212: The Art Of War

by Dave Foxx

The key to successful image work is total integration. Now, when I say image work, I do NOT intend that commercial producers should simply tune out and move on to another article. The work you do on commercials is nothing more than image work for clients. Every producer in this business is in the business of imaging. So batten down the hatches and pay attention. This could be the moment of your epiphany, that grand "A-HA!" moment when you see the light and start moving towards being a truly world-class producer, worthy of the large dollars.

Radio Hed: The Value of Entertainment in Radio Commercials

by Jeffrey Hedquist

Some say that a radio commercial must be entertaining to work; that it has to entertain first, then sell. If it's not entertaining, it won't get attention. If it doesn't get attention...well then nothing happens. Others say no, the purpose of a radio commercial is not to entertain, but to sell, citing examples of humorous radio commercials that failed in the marketplace. Both are right, so let's define the word "entertainment" to clarify what I mean.

Q It Up: When is it time to freshen those sweepers?

Q It Up: How often do you replace generic imaging elements because they've "burned"? Do you decide when to change them or does the Program Director tell you it's time? How often do you think imaging elements should be changed? What about promos? Will you cut a single promo for, let's say, a 6-week promotion, and run that promo for 3 weeks, all six weeks, or will there be multiple promos with short runs, keeping them "fresh" all the time? Are we changing this material too quickly for the audience to even grasp it? Is new and fresh better than old and stale? For those of you on the commercial side of things, what are your thoughts? Do you get access to schedules to see how many times the spot you're creating will play? Does this help you determine what kind of commercial to create? Generally speaking, do you think clients are better served with lots of "fresh" commercials for their schedule, or is it better for them to run one good commercial over and over? Let's take for example, a schedule of 100 spots spread out over four consecutive weeks. Would a fresh spot every week be better than running the same spot all four weeks? Salespeople have tools to tell them and their clients how many times a spot should run to reach a certain percentage of the audience a certain number of times. Agencies use the same formulas and encourage clients to repeat their message over and over. Do you use these same concepts and formulas for your promos and imaging elements? If not, should we be using this approach to radio's promotional and imaging messages?

Test Drive: Spectral Machine from The Sound Guy

by Steve Cunningham

Show me a plug-in that mangles sound in a unique fashion and is reasonably priced, and the chances are I'm grabbing my wallet. Spectral Machine is one of those plug-ins that screams to be installed and evaluated, and I've been doing that for much of the past week. What Spectral Machine does that is somewhat different is that it breaks down the frequency content of audio using FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) algorithms, then lets you manipulate the frequency components in ways you might do with time-domain plugs. The results range from well behaved, as with mild pitch shift and automatic tuning, to completely out of control (but fun nonetheless). At $75 USD it's an impulse buy if ever there was one.

...And Make It Real Creative: An Uncomfortable Truth

by Trent Rentsch

People don't fall off Segways. I, of course, did. The Segway tour had been a gift from Lori's Dad, so even though I've always wanted to try one, there was that ever-present fear of looking stupid in front of my father-in law. Worse, he was going into the tour an experienced rider. It seemed a combination destined to leave me and/or the poor machine broken in a gutter.

The Monday Morning Memo: The Secret of Self Definition

by Roy H. Williams

Corporate mission statements all sound alike because companies stand for pretty much the same things: "We believe in honesty, quality products, a positive work environment and a fair profit." Yawn. You and I write mission statements because we want people to like us. Our pattern-recognizing, touchy-feely right brains see a newcomer and ask, "How are we alike? What makes us the same?" But the deductive-reasoning left brain looks for discrepancies and anomalies, "How are we not alike? What makes us different?" Consequently, we cannot set ourselves apart according to what we stand for since we stand for pretty much the same things. We set ourselves apart by what we stand against.

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