By Trent Rentsch
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! I bet you never thought you’d get a letter FROM old St. Nick, did you? To be honest, I rarely respond to mail. In fact, this late in the game I have commitments at countless malls, so Blinky, Winky, and Specs wade through it for me. Still, when they get a real corker they run it by me, and that’s why I’m writing.
Checking your file, these current requests are whoppers, even for you! And that’s saying something! Let’s see. At 5 you wanted to be Batman. Not Batman toys, you REALLY wanted to be Batman! At 8 you decided that it would be more fun to be Ringo Starr. By 10 you did have enough sense to know that no Christmas magic was going to turn you into a costumed crime fighter or the 5th Beatle, but your requests continued to be, well, odd. Suddenly you wanted a straitjacket and handcuffs so you could be an escape artist like your latest hero, Harry Houdini. We really got a good ho, ho, ho out of that one! Generally only adults with a high naughty quotient are into the bondage stuff. By your teens you quit writing, but of course anyone who sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake would know what you really wanted. Goodness, anyone who saw the Charlie’s Angels posters on your ceiling knew!
It seemed in a twinkling that your children started writing me with your “help.” Come on now, didn’t you think I’d find it strange that a 4 year-old girl was asking for a Neumann microphone? Shame, shame! And you thought that the coal in your stocking that year was your wife’s idea of a joke? Bad or good, I know… you know? Sigh, how soon they forget.
That brings us to now. After all these years, a letter appears from “little” Trent Rentsch. Winky read it. He gave it to Blinky to read. Having fallen on the floor laughing, Blinky reached up and gave it to Specs. Normally Specs would’ve alerted me immediately, but because he thought it was a joke, he posted it to the IntraNorth Net. By the time I saw the actual letter, it had already been forwarded to me by every elf in the workshop! Rudolph IM’ed me that he laughed so hard when he read it that he nearly blew his nose, a real problem in his situation.
Really, I mean, look at this wish list! Even if your N.Q. wasn’t bending the needle on the naughty side, how could I possibly give you these “gifts?” For example, number one. A 128 track SSL Mixing Board. Just a little heavy for my sleigh, don’t you think? Besides, you haven’t touched a keyboard in months… like you need more than one track?! Number two, A Complete Pro Tools HD System. You and every other audio nut in the world! Do you realize what it costs? I’m all about the Spirit of Giving thing, but I have overhead you know? The Elves going union alone nearly put me out in the snow! And number 3, James Earl Jones’ Vocal Cords. Please…
As crazy as those requests are, HERE’S where you get silly. Reasonable lead-time for Creative. This sounds like something you and the sales boys and girls need to work out, but frankly I think you are asking a lot. Why, who has time for lead-time? There are so many other important things to be done! Meetings, lunches, golfing… your poor sales folks putt their lives away trying to sell the client! Of course the last thing they consider is what the spot will be about/sound like. There are monthly goals to make, and always another client to work. It’s all about making the sale… and picking up their dry cleaning. Image, you know. (Sorry, I suppose I am touchy when someone whines about reasonable lead-time. Look what I have to produce every year!)
Number 5, No more, “For all your Blankety-Blank needs.” What’s the big deal? I myself was compelled to stop at a drug store because their commercial said, “For all your beard grooming and bunion pad needs!” I suppose being Mr. Creative, you feel that it’s an old cliché. Sorry Bunkie, you’re writing to the oldest cliché in the world, I don’t see a problem.
Then there’s number 6. NO more client written/voiced commercials. Now hold onto to your candy cane one minute, mister! Nobody knows a business like the guy who owns it! He is the one who can tell it like it is! Plus it’s his nickel, you know? It doesn’t matter if he sounds like Porky Pig with a French accent! If he wants to write and voice his own commercials, it’s your job to shut up and record them!
Ho! Ho! Ho! Yes, you’ve given us all a good laugh up here in the North Pole! You had silly ideas when you were a kid and you have silly ideas now! It’s amazing you’ve made it in radio at all with that attitude! I’m beginning to think I should’ve made you Batman after all. Consider this letter all you’re getting for Christmas.
“AHHHHHHHH!” I bolt up in bed, and my wife assures me that it’s only a nightmare. “Of course,” I tell her. “Santa understands radio creative better than that!” I get THE smile and a kiss on the cheek. She tells me goodnight, and as she turns over says, “You kept screaming that you shouldn’t have sent a letter to the North Pole. You didn’t REALLY send a letter to Santa Claus, did you?” I laugh. “I did not,” I insist. And that’s true. It was actually an email.