By Dave Cockram
Today I am going to share just a few ideas that can allow your creative department to generate extra income for its employees and the company. We will start with the obvious one.
We’ve all done this before right? Sales rep wants an example of what this potential client’s ad would sound like on the air. So you get Joe Schmoe announcer to rip a quick read and send it off to the client. Done! I’d say spec ads work about 50% of the time and are generally worth doing because anything you can do to help sales is greatly appreciated. If you help out a good rep, he’ll usually repay the favor with a six pack. Don’t expect any piece of the commission though. Going above and beyond in creative doesn’t usually yield fiscal rewards. But if you really like pats on the back, then man… you’re gonna be RICH!
Most creative departments don’t get access to bonuses. Companies that can show any appreciation big or small to creative employees will pay off in the long run. They will be more loyal and work harder to help achieve those financial targets. Try not to set the bar too high for the department. Set realistic attainable goals so your employees don’t get frustrated with “the man” just “dangling carrots”. No one wants to work for a bunch of carrot danglers.
Typically radio stations don’t do jingles. Instead they send $6000 to a production house down the street to have it outsourced. Why?! The smarter thing here would be to hire a producer who is musically inclined. In theory, all your producers should be -- meaning they understand how to make a music track that is catchy and in key even if they can’t sing or play an instrument. You are a radio station. You already have the necessary tools to make this for your client, but your PD probably hasn’t hired a music producer let alone a singer. He’s hired a radio guy that knows how to slap voice over music 30 times a day.
When I worked at JACK FM Vancouver we hired Andrei Diaconu, a whacky Romanian Hippie (this was Vancouver after all) who could write and produce a wide variety of his own music -- Electronic, Hip Hop even classical. He wasn’t a typical radio guy, but in reality who needs to be? 90% of the work we do is voice over music and it’s not exactly rocket science. Reps would come to Andrei whenever a client asked for a jingle -- and believe me clients DO ask for them. So Andrei would write a custom jingle, hire a singer, and everyone got a cut. The rep billed the client for an additional $4000 on the buy. Not hard to accomplish. You just got another $4000 out of your client; you keep the money in the building, and split the money with the producer and voice talent.
Here’s an even cheaper way to do it. Your creative department already has access to a music library. So your client can pick a track he likes. Hire the singer to sing over the track that’s already produced. Then license the music track to be used on other stations. It’s not as hard as you think.
Most stations have access to an online imaging library where they pull special effects and drum loops to build promos. How much does it cost to licence a library for all your radio stations across the country? Your company employs producers across the country. Why not get these producers to save mix outs and special effects they’ve produced for your own proprietary imaging library? You wouldn’t be using anyone else’s work. You would be building your own archive of sounds that the company already owns that can be accessed across all your radio stations’ creative departments across the country. This would save thousands every year. The only licencing you need to purchase is music. Your producers can design their own unique FX custom to your brand. Imaging Libraries are unnecessary in my opinion if you work smarter and start saving everything. I went into greater detail on this in a previous article.
After hours Studio Rentals
Your studio equipment in your production studio sits unused for 18 hours a day if you are only running one shift. In theory, you could rent studio space to the public and get that studio making money around the clock. This just takes a bit of work. Email a few agencies to say you can now rent studio time after 9-5 at a discounted rate. Book your producers to stay late if the agency needs a tech. Offer podcast creation for your clients for an additional fee.
There’s money to be made if you’re willing to think beyond what a radio station is at its core. Keep fighting the good fight!
Dave is owner of Scoundrel Studios Inc. in Toronto, ON. He welcomes your correspondence at firstname.lastname@example.org.