R.A.P. The music you do for the fireworks is synced with the display. How is that done?
Joel: It involves a computer program which basically allows you to take that half hour and time code it. You have your soundtrack produced and you throw it up on a 4-track on tracks 1 and 2. You dedicate theā€¢3rd track to SMPTE time code. On the 4th track, you actually have voice firing commands like "standby flight one", "fire flight one", etc. You go through the entire show with these voice commands. The computer itself is not sending a pulse to electronically detonate the shells. What it is allowing for is an ability to time code the entire half hour, providing a time reference, and then you can lock in your voice commands to fire the shells. The guys on the barges are listening with earphones to track 4.

We first tried this last year for our Bicentennial show and it worked very well. This year will be the first time we will use it for the WEBN Labor Day show. In the past, what we did was set up a remote studio, and I'd have all the music on carts. We would be in continual communication with the barges, and I would be cuing them and counting them down to specific flights. It was like old style live radio with a lot at stake. It was an intensely exciting, wonderfully exhilarating experience, a very tense half hour, and I'm gonna miss doing that. We expect that this new system with the computer will allow for a more synchronous performance than we've been able to get, even though what we've done has been fine.

R.A.P. It obviously would be an understatement to say that WEBN is involved with the community.
Joel: Yes. We do a lot of public service things. We do a blood drive with the local university hospital. We do an album project. We've done eleven of those where local artists get an opportunity to get recorded. We offer a cassette, a vinyl album, and probably CD's before long. We do a kite fly with homemade kites and award prizes for various categories. We do a beach party where we turn the river front into a beach for a day and bring in a couple of tons of sand, and we're doing a whole comedy series this summer, live free comedy. We also do a live local concert thing through the summer in conjunction with the mayor's office, so the station is definitely plugged into the community.

R.A.P. Who's the programming wizard behind this monster of a station?
Joel: That would be Tom Owens. Denton hired me and then six months later went to Houston. Tom Owens stepped in and has been here now for 5 years. He is a remarkable radio guy. He is much more than an AOR Program Director. He is a terrific, insightful, creative programmer. He consults a lot of the Jacor stations, and we're very fortunate that this is his base of operation. I'm real fortunate to have basically developed under him. He's made me a much better Production Director, and he's a hell of a guy, really.

R.A.P. WEBN is part of an AM/FM combo there. Are you involved with WLW-AM in any way?
Joel: No. John Bogart is their Production Director. The sales departments are separate also. We are two totally separate entities co-existing on a floor, and it has worked out great.

R.A.P. What are your main responsibilities and what assistance do you have?
Joel: Well, my assistant just took on a full time air shift here. He's now doing 10-2 at night. In the meantime, we brought in a part-timer to assume some of my assistant's former responsibilities. I do a lot of commercial writing. I do all the promos, imaging, positioning statements, and that kind of stuff. I write about 90 percent of the promos. Before my assistant went to the 10-2 shift, he backed me up full-time and did a couple of weekend air shifts. He would do dubs, tags, and write and pro-duce a lot of club spots. He's real good. We've been fortunate to have someone with his capabilities backing me up. He's still doing some of the work, but we'll have to wait a couple of weeks to see what shakes down. We're in a transitional period right now.

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  • The R.A.P. Cassette - April 1991

    Greetings fellow "prod" types! After a fat March Cassette with the R.A.P. Awards finalists, we're back to our regular format this month. We begin...