RAP: What are your responsibilities as Production Director?
Mike: I do all the imaging and about ninety-five percent of all the spots we create here, and I make sure all production gets done on time, as far as spots are concerned.
RAP: So you pretty much do everything.
Mike: Yeah. The jocks will come in and voice some spots, but I produce them. I do everything, with the exception of our midday jock who does all of her own IDs and stuff.
RAP: Your station is owned by Radiovision, which unlike most companies today, is not a group of stations. The Edge is the only station owned by Radiovision. What kind of company is this?
Mike: The owner's name is George Tobin--basically a good guy. I don't get to talk to him very much because he's not in very often. I guess we're basically one big, twisted family here. It makes it a lot easier and more fun to talk to people, too. The atmosphere around the station is very, very laid back.
RAP: What kind of hours do you work?
Mike: Usually I'm in around eleven-thirty or noon. I can't say that I can come and go as I please--even though most of the time I do that--but I'll stay until the work is done. If that's five o'clock, then it's five o'clock. If it's two in the morning, then it's two in the morning.
Our morning guys, who get off at ten o'clock, come in to the studio for about an hour or an hour and a half and do their bits and promos for their show for the next day. There's really no point in me coming in at ten o'clock when I can't have a studio for another hour and a half. We're supposed to be building another production studio. It's gonna be pretty much all digital. We're waiting to get the SAW Plus 16-track program in there.
RAP: What are you using in the studio now?
Mike: Right now the main baby is an Alesis ADAT 8-track. The console is actually an old studio board. It's a Ramsa WRS-4424. I've got the Yamaha SPX-1000 for the vocal effects and all the reverb and things like that. I also have a Yamaha digital delay and a DSP, but I don't use those at all. They're just in there taking up space. I've got an Orban 424 compressor/limiter, an Aphex Compellor, and the mic is an Electro-Voice RE-20.
RAP: You mentioned SAW Plus for the new studio. Have you used it before?
Mike: No, I haven't.
RAP: What turned you on to SAW Plus?
Mike: Its price. We've talked to some of the guys over at Innovative Quality Software, the makers of SAW Plus, which is here in Las Vegas. We've seen some brochures and stuff like that, and our General Manager said it looked like what we would get. He asked me what I thought of it, and I said, "Sure."
RAP: Is the new studio going to be for the morning show?
Mike: From what I understand, it's going to be mine. The thing is, I'm doing spots most of the day, for a good chunk of the day. By the time I'm done with that, it's seven o'clock in the evening, and I want to go home. So we're going to get some of the weekenders in here to do the spots, and I'm just going to concentrate on imaging and promos and stuff like that. I've been dying to make a whole bunch of them because our stuff on the air is sounding a little bit stale. It's time to freshen them up.
RAP: That's interesting. Even in a single station environment in a medium market, you're separating the production of the commercials and the imaging. It's a trend that is obviously working its way down from the major markets to the medium markets. Has Keith Eubanks been the voice of the station since you've been there?
Mike: Yes, and actually, he used to voice the station I was at in San Bernardino also. So, I'm very familiar with working with Keith, even though I've never talked to him personally.
RAP: One of Keith's trademarks is his EQ settings, which he does himself. Do you ever change his EQ at all?
Mike: Well, I won't change his EQ. Sometimes I'll add a little more echo or slow it down or speed it up. I won't ever drastically change it, except maybe just to accent a particular phrase or something.
RAP: Does Keith voice all the station IDs and promos?
Mike: Yes, he does it all.
RAP: Is your voice then used primarily for commercials?
Mike: Right, and I'll voice a good ninety-five percent of those. Luckily, I can do a couple of different voices, though. That's something I learned growing up watching cartoons.
RAP: What is your favorite part of the job?
Mike: The imaging, the creative part of it. If I could just sit around producing promos and sweepers all day, that would be ideal for me.
RAP: What gets the creative juices going for you?
Mike: Usually it's old cartoons or TV programs or something like that. If I read the promo or commercial and there's an obvious word or phrase in there that makes me think of something else, I'll try to revert back to a cartoon or something funny--just something silly to connect to that word or phrase. What I've been watching a lot of lately is old Monty Python, the old Flying Circus series.
I'll grab something that's totally bizarre and stupid and way off the deep end. For example, we just did a ticket giveaway for the Smashing Pumpkins when they rolled through here. Steve came up with this idea to create a sounder, "Listen for the sound of a pumpkin getting smashed." Well, obviously, everybody is going to think of somebody hitting a pumpkin with a mallet like Gallagher. I thought, "Wait...this is Las Vegas! Getting smashed here means getting drunk!" So, I came up with a sounder of this pumpkin sitting on a bar stool getting drunk, then falling off. I think a lot of the listeners really didn't understand what it meant, but everybody here at the station got it right away. I like putting a different spin on things.
RAP: The target audience for your format is something like 18-24 year olds. Do you think they relate to Monty Python?
Mike: I think they identify with it, but I don't think they know where it's coming from because the old Monty Python was from quite a while ago. I have quite a few old Monty Python video tapes. They sell them all over the place.
RAP: Listening to tapes you've sent for The Cassette, I noticed you use a lot of sound bites in the promos and in the commercials as well. Tell us about your sound bite library.
Mike: I don't really have one. I've got videos and I tape stuff off of TV. I don't keep a DAT with sound bites on it. When I'm going through a promo and get an idea, I'll think, "Whoa, I remember somebody saying this in a movie," and if I'm lucky, I might have the movie. I keep a lot of movies here on video tape. I think I've got a reel with a whole bunch of drops floating around here somewhere. One of my weak points is organization.