JV: That leads me to my next question which is, do you charge the clients for these spots that go above and beyond the simple script over some music? Is there a fee that is added to the buy for the production, or is the production free unless they want to use it elsewhere?
Steve: For the standard demos they’re just free of charge, but when we create a jingle for them we’ll charge them for that. For some of the jingles, the rates will start at $1,000 or $1,500 for just a sing-out or a donut, but the full package with full sings and the 10 item package, they go from $2,000 and up.

JV: This is even if they just run on your stations?
Steve: Actually, if they buy the package they own it. They can run it wherever they want, which is what the Shake’s Frozen Custard did.

JV: What if they choose not to buy the package? Will you make a free jingle for them that runs only on the Zimmer stations?
Steve: Well we’ve only had one case like that. Usually they want to own it. But we’ve had one, a guy that deals in vans and family transportation. I made him a neat little swinging country jingle, “The Van Man,” and it’s very catchy. But he didn’t want to pay for it to run it on other broadcasters here in this market, so he’s only able to run that one on our stations.

JV: But it sounds like the vast majority of what you’re doing is creating revenue for the stations.
Steve: Yes. We’ve got a lot of really good talent in this building. The programming side is amazing. These guys are all really good people. There’s some amazing talent here in Zimmer and Joplin. They’re philosophy is to give us what we need to do what we do. I think that matters a lot.

JV: How does your new found radio career compare to your career in the music entertainment business, when you were doing your gigs with the band? Do you feel like you’re still in the entertainment business?
Steve: Yeah, I do because of the style of work that I do. It’s an outlet for me to still be able to play my music without being in the smoky bar, listening to drunk people yell in my face. I like it. It’s wonderful and I’m glad that Zimmer has provided me with what I need to do it.

JV: About how many jingles are you doing in a week or a month?
Steve: Well, they’re not real regular here. We’ve probably sold 20 of them since I’ve been here, which is almost a year. It’s not real regular revenue, but they are buying and they are running them.

JV: So it’s not like every commercial in your stopsets is another one of your jingles.
Steve: No, but there are a lot. When I first came here, I was singing a lot of commercials, and then management said, “We could be making some money on this.” That’s when we set up the structure of the jingle package and started charging money for them.

JV: Smart people. Any plans for the future or are you pretty much a day to day kind of guy?
Steve: Well, I hope to sell hot dogs on the corner in a thong one of these days, but… [Laughter] No, I’m always looking to the future. I like where I’m at but I always want to shoot for the top because my feeling is, when you say you’ve succeeded and you’re good, then I think you’re done. You can stick a fork in it; it’s just going to get stale from there. So I’m always constantly trying to improve and do better.

JV: Most people we interview have a childhood memory that relates to what they do now. Anything come to mind?
Steve: Yes, my first memory of editing. I was 10 or 12 and I had one of those little mono tape cassette recorders that looked like a shoe box and the buttons were on the end. I would record the radio by sticking the microphone up to the radio. Then I would play the tape until it got to the end of the song, and I would pull tape out and cut out the spot breaks and the DJs. Then I would record my own break and splice them together with fingernail polish. I was just a kid. It was ugly. It would make some crazy noise at the splices, but I was the DJ. I was on the air.

Then I remember eventually I got my hands on a cassette recorder that had a counter in it, so I didn’t have to do all the splicing. I would just get to the end of the song, and I’d know how long I had to talk. It would be a rough in-and-out, but that was my first audio editing, 1/8 inch tape.

JV: So I guess one could say you did some analog work.
Steve: Oh yeah. Actually I’ve done a lot of recording in music through the years, working with a lot of 2-inch tape and 24-track and then mastering down to ¼-inch. So I’ve done a little bit of that but not a whole lot. Not like these other guys; I couldn’t imagine putting together a commercial with tape like the “Eccentrics” spot that won the RAP award this year. That would take weeks. It seems like it would just take forever. I’m glad I stepped in during the digital age.

JV: Well it’s spots like that that would never have been created because you would not have had the time to do them.
Steve: Yeah, and actually that commercial probably only took me 45 minutes to put together after I had the music completed. The music probably took an hour, hour and a half, but to piece it all together took inside and hour.

Adobe Audition, I love it. Since I started working with 2.0, I don’t open an older version anymore. The new version is just unbelievable. What you can do on each individual track and the multi-tracker is just mind blowing. You can add the automation lanes, the real time effects. It’s amazing.

When I started at KSPQ, when Randall first gave me my break, I was working with SAW, a really old version of SAW, which was real primitive. Of course to a rookie it was, “Wow, this is neat.” Then they had a version of Cool Edit at the station they weren’t even using very much, and I said, “Hey, what’s this?” That’s when I discovered Cool Edit Pro and fell in love with it.

JV: Any words of advice for those many RAP readers who are still striving to win their first RAP Award? What’s the key? What do they need to do?
Steve: One thing my friend Randall Gower told me is to just watch for inspiration everywhere you look. Something that a child will say can be an incredible ad campaign. Just watch for inspiration and work hard. I’ve worked hard to get where I am.

Oh yeah, and vote for me every year.