Q It Up: One thing consolidation has done is increase the amount of outsourcing radio stations do for their commercial and imaging production. Do your stations outsource voice, production, and/or copywriting? If so, who do you use and for what? Do you use just one service or several? For example, if you outsource voice talent, do you use just one voice talent service with multiple voices to choose from, or do you use a variety of voices from different services? Independent production houses: Do you outsource voice work and/or copywriting? Please add any further thoughts you have on the outsourcing you do or outsourcing in general.
Johnny George [jg[at]johnnygeorge .com], Susquehanna, Indianapolis, Indiana: At our combo of 3 stations here in Indianapolis, we use 1 station imaging voice for each of our stations. Randy Reeves (Atlanta) for our country station, WFMS, Doug Paul (Atlanta) for our oldies station, Gold 104.5 and Sean Caldwell (Tampa) for our 80’s station, Retro 93-9.
Our production voices, copywriting and imaging is all done in-house by their respective departments. We utilize our own talented people and rarely ever outsource for voices or copywriting. “Simple is, as simple does...”
Zack Lowe [zackl[at]zrgmail.com]: Zimmer Creative Services, Joplin, Missouri: Commercial-wise, I found it’s sometimes very helpful to get in good with the area school teachers, college included. Some of the best casting for voice talent you can find is real people… “unpolished.” As for copywriting, everything is written in house. With the help of three magic words: ROY WILLIAMS’ BOOKS
Rich VanSlyke [richvs[at]bellsouth.net], Rich VanSlyke Productions, Suwanee, Georgia: You’re absolutely right about outsourcing. That’s how I make a living! I am used as an outsource by radio stations for imaging voice and production, spot voice and production and jingle production! But I outsource imaging production as well. Some of the best producers are guys at radio stations with home studios! Email makes it easy! I work with Tom Robinson at Citadel Grand Rapids. JJ Prieve at KRFR in Bakersfield. Matt DuBiel Voice and Production. Rich Witt at Vanilla Gorilla Productions. Andy Safnauer at Long Train Productions. Dave Michaels at Damic.com Productions. It’s a big wild wacky world out there.
Jim Thomas [commercials[at]wclo. com], WCLO/WJVL: Outsourcing, huh? Well, we have two other AM/FM combos in our group, and since our signals do not overlap, we “trade” voices with them at least once a week. A small inter-company stipend per spot gives us all a little extra “beer money.” Our company is unusual I suppose, because we still have a copywriter at each AM/FM combo. I deal with eight salespeople here, and some of them write a tight outline for their copy, giving me the direction they want to go. We make use of two voices for our imaging, both from Flash Flood. And then, since female voices are at a premium, our News Director’s wife (who has On-Air and Prod experience) comes in once a week to voice things for WCLO/WJVL, WRJN/WEZY and WBKV/WBWI. The system seems to work okay for now. Ask me again in 12 months.
Ian Fish [Ian.Fish[at]chrysalis.com]: The only thing I outsource is our station voice (Mitch Johnson). I’m a producer, not a presenter because my voice just isn’t up to it - although having said that, I’ve never really tried! But I get sessions with Mitch on fairly short notice, as we’re probably one of his biggest clients, and can usually turn production around pretty quickly when the inevitable last minute project comes in from the Sponsorship and Promotions department! That’s normally the time I find myself getting envious of all the guys in production studios around the world who are both production wizards and great voice talents. They use their own voice - that must make life so much easier ! And more profitable?