Q It Up: This question is for the imaging producers out there. What format(s) are you imaging for, and what production libraries and/or services are your favorites when producing promos, IDs and other imaging material? What do you like about these libraries and/or services? Do you create any of your own beds, sound effects, etc.?
Tom Robinson [tom.robinson[at]mail. citcomm.com], Citadel Broadcasting/Grand Rapids, MI: I image an active rocker, and have been using a few different imaging libraries. I’ve always liked the “Noise” series from Omega Productions, and Rich VanSlyke’s “Distortion” CD. I also use some AV Deli stuff. I like the short “in your face” splitters, blasts, rewinds, etc., but due to a tight budget, it’s often difficult to keep things fresh. A while back, I started making the effects myself, and now have enough for a CD. I’m calling it AudioWaves, and I’ll be offering it for sale soon.
Craig Jackman [craigj[at]canada.com], Rogers Media, Ottawa Ontario Canada: Currently I’m producing for KISS, which is a modern AC, and still a little bit for CHEZ which is classic rock. The libraries I’m using are mostly Chase Cuts and Frostbytes. Both are great fits for their formats. Of all the elements available in those services, what doesn’t fit on one of those stations will usually fit on the other. While I will occasionally make my own beds, usually as time allows, I do make my own sound effects regularly. It’s the only way to get it to sound exactly right sometimes.
Johnny George [jg[at]johnnygeorge .com], Susquehanna, Indianapolis, IN: I’m imaging 2 of our 3 stations: Country 95-5 WFMS, Oldies 50’s/60’s GOLD 104.5, and Christian Contemporary 93-9 THE SONG. All three of our stations use portions of all of the following (our afternoon guy on The Song images his station): MegaTrax, ProMusic, 615 Music, and Imagio.
These collections are some of the very best available anywhere. Good thing about 615 and MegaTrax is that they both are very versatile, cover about every facet of music you’ll ever need, and sound original. ProMusic is equally as great because this company is a broker for a bunch of other production music labels from all over the world, giving it a totally unique sound of a variety of many angles from a huge collaboration of producers and musicians from every corner of the planet. Imagio is wonderful for that spirited, layered sound for sweepers, stagers, and transitional work parts and such for about any format.
I’m very happy our company has the insight to provide us with the very best music collections available, which makes our jobs much easier with the right tools. By the way, adding all those together makes up over 600+ CD’s. And I use a ton of comedy driven and dramatic music to paint my audio pictures.
My palate runneth over.
Cooper Fox [cooper[at]conwaymagic .com]: I am currently doing the imaging for a Hot AC station (Magic 104, Conway, NH). All of our stuff is done in house with our fantastic voice guy (Mark McKay) emailing us the parts. We use two imaging libraries: Clip Art and Continuous Climax (there’s just something about that name, isn’t there?). Both are from ABC radio, with Clip Art being filled with your standard Hot AC fare, and Continuous Climax having more of a CHR flair to it. On Clip Art, the music beds work well with our morning show, and it also has some terrific artist testimonials. Most of the beds, beeps, bonks, laser effects, and such come from Continuous Climax. Continuous Climax also offers pre-made sweepers that only require you to drop the station moniker and slogan into the spaces. And, there are beat-matched vocal parts, too. Overall, a very cool package that, in my mind, stands out. I also occasionally use Voyetra’s EJay programs to build specialized music beds. Royalty free is good! (Imaging demo on the CD!)
Richard Stroobant [bigdick[at]cjay92 .com], CJAY 92/VIBE 98.5/AM 1060 CKMX, Calgary, Alberta, Canada: I image for the Rock station here. I have a collection of libraries. My absolute fav is my Brown Bag stuff. We have Redline, Rampage and Firepower, which comes with a monthly download disc. Brown Bag rocks my world!! We also have some AV Deli stuff too, but it is a few years old now. Best package I got from AV Deli is Guitar Wars. (It is unavailable now, but if you can somehow find it, it is killer.) We also have a few other AV Deli packages (Rock & Roll, Rock & Rhythm, Rock Logos, Speed Tracks, plus some others), but I don’t use them much for imaging — more for the commercial side of things.
Ian Fish [Ian.Fish[at]chrysalis.com]: I’m doing the imaging for just one format, 100.7 Heart FM in the West Midlands (www.heartfm.co.uk). We’ve just made a subtle change to the entire imaging package for the station to achieve a more contemporary sound. Key to this was signing up for TM Century’s Imagio and Imagio+ production library.
Heart FM is targeting 25-35 year olds, and we were after a library that was up tempo, contemporary and funky, but not so far away from the music we play that it would sound like two different stations with crossed frequencies. Imagio is perfect for us. It’s produced by the people who produce the real songs that we play; and the tempo, mood and energy is just fractionally above the tempo, mood and energy of the playlist.
I create my own sounds and beds by mixing and matching the different elements of the Imagio library — beats only mixes, synth effects, and stagers. Imagio+ offers downloads of TV clips, artist IDs and other production elements. So it really is a one stop service! No I’m not on commission, but I’m hoping with a glowing report like that I’ll get something free from TM Century!
The other library that I turn too is so different from Imagio. The Non Stop Music Producer Series — big, orchestral, Hollywood movie trailer stuff; a real dramatic compliment to the Imagio stuff. Great for starting promos, and creating a mood before moving to Imagio for the driving call to action part of the promo.
Shane Smyth [shane.smyth[at]q102.ie], Dublin’s Q102, Glenageary, County Dublin: I’m imaging just one station here: Dublin’s Q102 — AC format aimed at over 35s. The station re-launched as Dublin’s Q102 in March of this year from Lite FM, which sat on Dublin radio dials for the previous 3 and a half years. We invested in “Glue Imaging” from Marc Silk (www.marcsilk.com) and were quite happy with what we were able to turn around for the new station. It was a lot more edgy than imaging I’d previously done for Lite FM. (I was kinda restricted there!) We also used some elements from a production library called “Zing Things” — lots of really useful stuff on that! For a lot of our imaging we go out on the streets and get listener lines and also have a dedicated listener comment line. Promos for these change every week with lots of listeners telling us how great we are!!!!!
CJ Wilson [Prodhopper[at]aol.com], Earwhacked Radio Imaging, Savannah, GA: I do imaging for CHR, Hot AC and Country formats. I use TM Century’s D-Generation, Organism Three from Alien Imaging and Studio Cutz for production libraries. They are good libraries for independent producers. Imaging contemporary formats, you burn music beds very fast. In addition, I use a lot of AV Deli because there’s more music to choose from like Power Tools for Hip Hop, Chemicals and Pop Tools for CHR, and Hot AC. Some of the rhythmic loops and beats I may use on a Country station as well. Plus, there’s drops and lots of bonus elements to add to your arsenal. RadioWorkparts is a great service to use for finding artist and listeners drops, beds and very cool cinematic effects.
I rarely make my own effects. But when I do, I love taking everyday sounds and blending them with an effect. Using effects with music is cool, and I’m still learning my craft.
Jeff Berlin [JeffBerlin[at]clearchannel .com], Boston, MA: I image CHR Mainstream Kiss 108. For years we used Killer Hertz and Brown Bag libraries, but now it’s Chase Cuts and Robert Dudzic’s new library called “Trynity HD.” I like both of these libraries in that there are lots of “parts” for quick punctuators, and assembled collages of audio that make quick work of a sweeper. I also “roll my own” music and fx a lot using MetaSynth software (runs on Mac OS9 only) and ACID (or Screenblast, whatever it’s called now). Metasynth has been around for years, but remains a powerful sound design tool. I hope they update it soon as I’m pretty migrated over to Mac OSX. When I have the time, I hope to get and learn Reason and Melodyne to expand my “roll yer own” capabilities.
Brian Whitaker [dmrgproduction[at] qwest.net] Lazer 103.3 (KAZR)/Star 102.5 (KSTZ), Des Moines, IA: We have 2 ends of the spectrum. Female friendly Hot AC Star 102.5 and flame throwin' rocker Lazer 103.3.
For Star 102.5, I try to make the stationality as upbeat as possible (almost like a Top 40), so we use SHORTBUS radio, FUSE, SPLAT, and Gray Matter 1. Lately, Shortbus has been my package of choice. It’s great because you get a boat-load of SFX, movie drops, and beds...EVERY WEEK!
On Lazer 103.3, FROSTBYTES is my “fave.” Same concept as SHORTBUS, but you get the SFX, music beds, plus comedy bits from John Frost available to download DAILY! We also purchased NOISE 4 from Omega productions this year, and have CD racks full of AVDELI packages we’ve bought over the past 8-9 years.
It’s great to have an arsenal of tools to make the imaging smoke. Many of these services also provide pre-made “drop in your calls” type sweepers, which I use sparingly — cuz I still like producing my own stuff, and I want to have job!
One of these days, I’ll sit down and try blowing into a microphone and making my own SFX and beds, but the workload is so busy lately, it’s hard to find the time. Speaking of... I better get back to work!
Matt Lomax [matt.lomax[at]kiss100 .com] Kiss 100: I’m imaging for Kiss 100 in London (alongside Steve Pigott). It’s a Rhythmic CHR which is one of the best formats to do imaging for due to the uptempo nature of the music.
We try and use as many different production services such as Chasecuts and Cracked from Reelworld and Zero FX. Chasecuts has been very useful, there is an obvious American slant but it comes with great uptempo beds and great topical ideas! And Cracked has been good at using the music we play in a really clever way!
We’ve definitely gotten to the point though were we can easily make our own beats and fx thanks to Pro Tools and Logic. Plus, with the huge number of specialist shows we’ve got on Kiss, we are not too far away from the latest hip-hop or breakbeat to use on our imaging!
We’ve used Reelworld on some of our sung stuff in the last couple of years, and they have helped give us a real modern sound.
We also cut up the artist IDs to create unique sweepers. i.e., if Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and 50 Cent are all saying Kiss 100, you can create jingles that sound like the music your playing, tying in your stations music with your station sound.
I think it’s really important though to use as many things available to you as possible — listeners, artists, your own fx will all make you stand out from the crowd and make you unique as possible! (Imaging demo on the RAP CD!)