December 2007 Highlights

Production 212: Nature or Nurture?

by Dave Foxx

I've been trying to make this column a place where you can sharpen your production skills, and to most of you dear readers, that means technical voodoo, i.e. EQ, compression, limiting, expansion and flanging, to name a few magical incantations. Yes, the stuff we all like to geek out about because they're so cool. The geek factor plays a definite role in the response I get each month, meaning the geekier the column is, the better the response. This will be a slow month response-wise, only because I'm turning the geek factor down. I'm addressing something I'll bet every person who reads this has wondered about at least several hundred times: creativity. What is it? Is it something we're born with, or is it something we learn? Is it possible to make it grow? How can one enhance creativity? I'll be very up–front about it, this is the most important tool you have and I intend to tell you how you can not only sharpen this tool, but can bend it to your will.

Interview: Matt Bisbee, Chicago, IL

by Jerry Vigil

This month's RAP Interview stops in at Market #3 for a long overdue interview with Matt Bisbee, one of Chicago radio's most talented and well known creatives. Matt is best known for his amazing run of 26 years at the legendary WLUP, The Loop. In last month's interview with Jude Corbett, Jude said of Matt's imaging contributions to WLUP that Matt was "almost equally as important a personality as the morning show and afternoon show." Matt tells us about those days, about his new home with the Bonneville stations in Chicago, and we get some tips on how one goes about becoming such an integral part of a station's personality, from the production room. You'll love the audio from Matt on this month's RAP CD!

Test Drive: A Gaggle of Ribbon Microphones

by Steve Cunningham

Ribbon microphones are hot again. After falling out of favor in the early sixties with the development of smaller and lighter condenser microphones, new high-tech versions of the ribbon are appearing at various prices. The old RCA 44BX and 77DX ribbon mics probably wouldn't recognize most of their current progeny, but the past few years have seen a new crop of microphones that combine the smooth character of the ribbon element with modern electronics and manufacturing techniques. Some of these new models have all but eliminated the Achilles' heel of ribbon microphones, namely the fragile nature of the ribbon element itself. The latter development may explain why ribbons are hot again. Perhaps it's just a fashion thing, or maybe it's because the old RCA ribbon mics (often in questionable condition) still sell for several thousand dollars apiece on eBay and the like. In any case, if what you're looking for is a retro-sounding VO mic with extended low and high frequency response, a ribbon may be just the thing. Let's take a look at a few recently-introduced ribbons to see how they stack up.

Notes Off the Napkin: Creepy Kings & Cop Outs

by Andrew Frame

It's 12:30 in the morning, I can't sleep, and it's all Brandi's fault. I think the pork roll and black-eyes peas for supper may have something to do with it, too. The Brandi part that's keeping me awake is from when we were departing for pork roll and black-eyed peas and I heard a ripping "WTF?" come from the bedroom. "Why the (expletive deleted) can't these (expletive) ad agencies come up with something (expletive) original anymore? Do you have any idea what I just saw? (expletive) 'I Am Woman' to a (expletive) Burger King spot! What the (expletive) is with that?"

Q It Up: The RAP Network Speaks! - What was the inspiration for your latest creative commercial or promo? (Accompanying audio on the RAP CD!) - Part 2

Q It Up: Tell us about the last promo, commercial, or imaging piece you wrote and/or produced that was inspired by something outside the context of the commercial or promo/ID itself. What was the inspiration, and how/why did you incorporate it into the piece? Was the inspiration something you saw on TV? Something a family member said or did? Something you saw on your way to work? Tell us about your creative process, and then attach the production to your response! We'll put 'em on the RAP CD! Please note: we're not looking for award winners here; just an example of using external influences to raise your work a notch above the ordinary.

...And Make It Real Creative

by Trent Rentsch

At the risk of looking like I'm avoiding my series on synthesizers, I'm going to spend this month away from the subject yet again. Why? It's the holidays, for crying out loud! In fact, as you're reading this, it's probably been the holiday season for at least 3 months, by the retail calendar. I'm not about to complain about the tinsel, snowmen, and stockings appearing on the shelves alongside the Halloween costumes. Our retail clients have to get a jump on the competition for those big seasonal bucks. If you've paid attention to the financial news the past few years, the "record breaking years" retailers have been hoping for haven't appeared. If this year follows that trend, it's a bigger battle for a hunk of a smaller pie. That means that, more than ever, the commercials we create are vital to the battle plan... a good chance for the station to make more money, and for you to be a Creative hero.

Radio Hed: Explain the Bribe

by Jeffrey Hedquist

How can we get people to respond? Reward them for listening by making the commercial entertaining or relevant to their life – solving a problem, relieving a pain. Pay or reward them for taking a survey, coming to the store, visiting the advertiser's web site, filling out a form, submitting their contact and demographic information. When we do that, whether it's with a sale, offer, discount, free service – in other words, a bribe, tell 'em why we're doing it. It lets us share some truth with the audience, giving us a chance to build rapport with them.

Feature: Dear Santa

by Ed Thompson

Dear Santa,

How long has it been? 40 years since the last time I last wrote to you? I still remember what it was that I asked you to bring to me. It was a Major Matt Mason spaceman action figure. I played with it constantly. I took baths with it. I went to bed with it. I went to school with it. A lot's happened since that last letter.

Monday Morning Memo: Persona-Based Selling

by Roy H. Williams

We buy what we buy to remind ourselves and tell the world around us who we are. "Nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action, even though his language so often camouflages what really motivates him. For if you know these things about a man you can touch him at the core of his being." – Bill Bernbach, legendary ad writer

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