JV: Do you also have a studio at home? You mentioned the laptop.
Chad: Yes. That is something that I’m in the process of working on. My laptop right now kind of serves as my home studio. My wife and I just bought a house here a couple of months ago, and there’s an unfinished basement down there that I’m working on turning into what will be my home studio.
I haven’t gone out and purchased all the gear yet because I’m waiting to see how the room’s going to turn out. I revise my wish list every week or so. I keep updating what I’m going to need and how much money I’m going to need and whatnot.
But pretty much everything I do right now, whether it be for Family Life Network or for Christian Concert Spots or Spoken Word Images with Pete Bunch, I do all that stuff here at the studios at Family Life Network.
JV: Christian Concert Spots is a company that you’re the VP and Senior Producer for. How did you become involved with that?
Chad: Well, I got involved with that with Pete Bunch, an amazing voiceover talent with Spoken Word Images. Pete is our voice here at Family Life Network, and so Pete and I had developed a relationship over the years. I was working with his voiceover tracks every day here at the station, and I would send him some of my work from time to time. He contacted me almost two years ago now and said, “I’d love for you to join up with me at Spoken Word Images. We can offer full production to radio stations and clients all across the country.” I said, “Let’s give it a shot. Let’s go for it.” We’ve seen some really, really good stuff happen through that.
A few months ago he came to me and said, “Dude, I’ve got this idea for Christian Concert Spots.” We found that we’ve gotten the ear of a lot of bands and tour managers and record labels as far as putting concert spots together, and it was Pete’s idea to tailor the company specifically to doing spots for Christian tours and bands and whatnot. We started brainstorming on that, and then the web site came together. And really, just in this last month, we launched Christian Concert Spots. We just put together a whole new demo for that and we’re really trying to get the ear of these record label producers and promoters and tour managers and bands. We’re just dropping demos in their hands and saying, “Hey, when your band goes out on tour, we want to be able to do all the spots for your tour.” So it’s totally different from what Spoken Word Images is doing. That is more radio-based imaging and whatnot. But it’s Pete and I that are teaming up together on Christian Concert Spots, and we’re really excited for what’s going to happen with it.
JV: You’re doing plenty for the Family Life Ministries, Christian Concert Spots is in the mix now, plus there’s the work you are doing with Spoken Word Images. Do you ever feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over and over again?
Chad: Sometimes, yeah, I do. My wife reminds me of that. I brought home some work the other night and let her hear it and she just goes, “How do you just sit there and do this over and over and over again?” Sometimes it does feel like that, but it never really feels like that in a sense where I don’t enjoy it anymore. I love what I get to do. I’ll never forget a professor that I had in college. He said, “You know what? It’s the easiest thing. You just go out there and you find what you love to do, and then you just figure out how to get paid to do it.” That’s always stuck with me, and I love the fact that every morning I get to get up and love what I get to do. And every Friday there’s a paycheck waiting for me. It couldn’t get any better than that.
But yeah, some days it does get very monotonous. You get sick of cutting up dry VO tracks and finding the right take to use, and listening through music tracks trying to find the right one that’s going to fit the feel of the spot. But those are the days that you just kind of push through it. You make your coffee a little stronger. But I never really get bored with this. There’s always some sense of creative juice that’s flowing, and I always love it. I always leave the studio every day and feel very fulfilled knowing what I’ve gotten to do during the day.
JV: You mentioned the video, the DVD that you did, and I’ve noticed that that’s starting to creep into radio production studios more and more of late, people doing some video for the web site or whatever. How did you learn video production? Was that self-taught?
Chad: Pretty much. When I was in college I took a video production class where I learned Adobe Premiere and just messed with that. I had a great professor. He showed me a lot of stuff. I thought, “hey, this is really cool.” It’s creative. It’s another side of the creative juice of mine, you know? But I really didn’t do anything with it.
About a year ago, my dad came to me. They’d been trying to get a promotional DVD put together for the ministry here. They had outsourced a couple of things, and what was coming back wasn’t looking too good. It wasn’t looking fresh. It didn’t have the feel that he was looking for. So he asked me one day, “is that something that you might want to try your hand at?” He knows me. He knows my feel for things and my vibe on things, and I said, “You know what? It might be a fun creative challenge for me to tackle.” So he told me to do some research. “Get some equipment together and see what you need.” Being an Apple fan, I instantly wanted to go with the Final Cut stuff. I had seen some work that some of my friends had done with that and Apple Motion, and Soundtrack Pro and the integration between those.
So we bought the equipment and I spent a couple months with stacks of manuals, just kind of learning the specifics of how to use that program and learning shortcuts and spending time with the computer and the software. There were lots of headaches, lots of doing it wrong the first time. But we started working on it and we shot the video. We shot some different listener clips and things like that. We rented a camera for a week or two, and I learned how to do all the graphic motion stuff and put it together.
The whole thing, from the time we got the equipment until the time the DVD went out, was about six months. I look back on it and I just think, what was I thinking? How did all that come together? But that was a fun experience. That was a fun challenge. But I don’t know if I’d want to do video all the time. I think doing video kind of helped me remember my love for audio and how much easier audio is to work with than video. But it was definitely a fun challenge.
JV: Over the past couple of decades, Christianity’s been taking quite a hit. No prayer in schools. It’s “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Does Christian radio take a stance against this type thing?
Chad: We definitely do. We want to be light in a dark world, in a dark society where there is a lot of junk out there. It’s very frustrating sometimes — to be honest with you — when you do what you do and you try and do a good job at it, and you put your Lord and Savior’s name on it, and then you turn on the news and you find out that this guy in Colorado has been sleeping with a dude and lying to his congregation about it. And bam, there’s a slap against Christianity. That’s very difficult to deal with. It’s very hard to watch some of that unfold in the media, and you think, what is the world thinking of us now?
I alluded to this before, but we don’t want to beat people over the head with the Bible or with our religious stance or whatever. We want people to make their own decisions on who they’re going to vote for. We want people to make their own decisions on whether or not they’re going to go celebrate Halloween or something like that. But on certain moral things, we are going to take a stance — things that we believe to be right and true, good values and morals. That is going to come through our programming. That’s going to come through our music. That’s going to come through the production pieces that we put together, whether it’s a radio drama or a vignette, or just a liner or a jingle or something along those lines.
It’s something that we do take a stand on because we feel that it is our responsibility. We feel like God has put us in this place, and he’s put us at this radio station to have a voice. We want to let our voice be heard, but we don’t want to be negative, and we don’t want to push people away at the same time.
JV: Any parting thoughts for your fellow producers out there in radio land during the holidays?
Chad: During the holidays? I’d just say spend just as much time with your friends and loved ones as you do in the studio making your mixes, because I find that, for me, at holiday time, I draw my inspiration from family, from home, from fireplaces and Christmas trees and eggnog and things like that. Those warm memories that I have of Christmastime are what I try to get across in my production work during holiday time, and those things are very important to me. I love this time of the year, and it’s a great time to be a producer.