Enjoyed Producer's VU in the January 1996 Radio And Production. I've been using the "pair-of-5050s method of production for years, at various radio stations, and like Tuna at WBYR, I am currently blessed with a console designed specifically for radio production, albiet old; a Quantum QM-12P.
Your article states that to deal with ping-ponging delay, either turn down the other channel's headphone send, turn off the headphones, or get used to it. However, an Otari MX5O5O can be used like a limited multitrack. Under the Input knobs are a couple of pushbuttons labeled SEL REP with a green LED under each. These work like what TASCAM calls "simul-sync." When one of the buttons is in and its LED is lit, playback on that channel is moved to the RECORD head and the RECORD function for that channel is disabled. For voice, music, or SFX overlaps, I use these in conjunction with the yellow SOURCE/TAPE buttons and the console's headphone monitor. Both green and yellow buttons for the same channel should be down on the channel you're monitoring for playback and up on the channel you're recording to. This allows you to hear yourself in real time, and the overlaps end up just like you heard them when you laid them down. However, instead of having everything end up on one track, you have alternating split tracks, all first-generation.
I have recorded spots similar to Tuna's featured spot, although with slightly different technique: I would record the split music tracks of reel one to one track of reel two, monitor reel two while I record split voice tracks on reel three, then sync the reels (again using the SEL REP function) and add the split voice tracks to the other track of reel two. Like Tuna, I have each output on the two 5050s going into its own channel on the console.
Although everybody has their own methods, and Tuna's concert spot is truly a magnificent work of art, I wanted to share this handy production trick with other RAP readers using MX5050s while they await approval for their DAW requests.
Dennis McAtee, Production Director
KKOW, Pittsburg, KS
Thanks for adding to the January Producer's VU! This is exactly the kind of feedback we hope the Producer's VU column will generate. We all have different ways of getting to the same place. Sharing those ideas will only help us all get there better and faster!
Great profile on a very talented person, Georgann John of the Lincoln Group in Rochester, NY, [January 1996 RAP Interview] whom I was fortunate enough to work with.
I have, within the period of four weeks, been reinstated into the world of radio groups. It's scary at first, but by using Georgann's method of "a team approach" the blow can be softened.
I've gone from a role of a Production Director who has handled all of the writing, ninety percent of the producing of all spots and promos, a sales force of five, analog tape, so on and so on, to a sales staff of ten, two production rooms, a digital multitrack editor, a whole new traffic system, and the installation of AudioVAULT. Two seventy-hour weeks later, the smoke has begun to clear, and things are moving along quite well. I've delegated half of the producing to a new evening jock, Michael Chan, who's damn good, and the promos to our morning guy, Mike Rusinko.
The lesson learned is that a Production Director is as stated: "a person who directs the production department." It's tough to pull back and get out of the trenches, but now I find my writing more focused and better targeted. The promos are cleaner and no longer half-assed (as is the case at 7 p.m. on a Friday).
As radio groups get larger, the war on the streets gets tougher. The winner will be the station that secures and maintains the most direct clients. Mobilize your troops and form a team. Use all of your weapons, whether they are technical or creative.
Don't try to do it all yourself. You'll burn out. If your station has two full-time production people, God bless ya. If not, give the team approach a try. I think you'll find it to your liking.
Kurt W. Schenk, Production Director
WMAX/WMHX/WRCD, Rochester, NY
Glad to hear the "team approach" is working for you, too. As Georgann said in the interview, her ability to manage people and time plays an important part in her success with the multiple station situation. It's interesting to watch the evolution of Production Directors. Management skills are quickly becoming just as important as creative skills, and the person with both should be worth two people!