R.A.P. Interview: Willie B!

RAP: "Willie B" definitely sounds like an air name? What does the "B" stand for?
Willie: When I first worked at WERZ, they said I couldn't use my real name. My real name, and this is going to be a kick--it's been very difficult since Back to the Future has been out--but the day I was born back oh so many hundreds of years ago, I was given the name Biff. And my last name is an English name which is spelled Eveleth. And if you put the two of them together...try it now and see what happens. People thought I had a speech impediment. Either my parents tried to play a cruel hoax on me, or they were just comedians. I don't know, but the name came from Death of a Salesman. They were out when my mother was pregnant with me and they saw Death of a Salesman, and the son's name was Biff Loman. They liked that name, so they gave it to me. So when Biff Eveleth went in to WERZ, they said "No, sorry, can't do it." They asked what my full name was, and I told them it was William Howard Eveleth. They said, "Well, I tell you what. We'll take the William. We'll cut it to Willie. You can keep the Biff, but we're going to take out the 'iff'." So, I became Willie B. Willie B was born when I started with WERZ, but since then, it's been Willie B exclamation mark--no period. Willie B!, simply because of my bounce off the walls attitude. If I can get it done, let's do it! Let's go! People--even those I haven't told--send me letters and things of that nature and include the exclamation mark.

RAP: What production libraries are you working with?
Willie: I've got actually a couple. For the commercial library I use Network Music, and when it comes to commercial, I just don't think there's anybody better than that. As far as the stationality stuff, we're using FirstCom's The Edge. But the one that I'm really excited about, that's absolutely wonderful, is out of Chicago. It's called Chateau Brazil and AV Deli. They have a series of libraries that are just spectacular from the "X Rules" to the "Guitar Wars" to a library specifically designed for sports. It's imaging. It's music beds, and it's state of the art type sweepers. As a matter of fact, they're the only company that even comes close in duplicating the kind of thing we were talking about earlier as far as taking sound effects and manipulating them, running them through keyboards, and they're doing a great job. They are all buyout libraries, and they are inexpensive. Then for sound effects, I use Sound Ideas. I've got probably half a dozen of their sound effects libraries.

RAP: If someone wants to send you a demo of their work for consideration to become part of your voice-over bank, what can they do on their demo to impress you?
Willie: If you're going to be putting together a demo tape, I would suggest a maximum length of no more than two minutes because the attention span today is such that if I or a Program Director don't hear what I'm looking for in the first eight seconds, the stop button is so close to the play button that it's just not going to get any further play. And after the first eight to ten seconds, I would suggest that you immediately follow it with something completely different. Diversification is such an important feature with production that if we don't hear diversification within the first twenty seconds, the tape is going to be stopped and, unfortunately, probably put in the recycled cassette bin. Two minutes max, and employ your heart and your soul. If you do impersonations, then let's hear the impersonations within the first twenty seconds. Let's hear the style or styles of production within the first twenty seconds, which means within the first twenty to twenty-five seconds we should be listening to at least three different promos or three different commercials. No one has the time to sit through thirty seconds of a sixty-second promo unless it's just spectacular.

RAP: Are you taking advantage of the Internet to any degree at this point?
Willie: You know, at this point I'm probably on it on a daily basis just to see what's out there. Currently, the Eagle has a mascot, our twenty-foot inflatable mascot. He's a bird of the people. Not only did he inhale, but he's full of hot air. He's running for President along with Bob Dole and Bill Clinton. So I'm on our Web page checking that out every day, and I'm proud to say that the Eagle is beating the other candidates at a ratio of two to one. But by the time this prints, that will be long over, and I don't know if we covered the national scene as well as we hoped to. So, unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to wait until the year 2000 for it to be the year of the Eagle.

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