R.A.P. Interview: Scott Statham

R.A.P.: What plans do you have to take care of the extra load that is bound to occur with extra salespeople?
Scott: One thing we're looking into is the Tapscan Continuity Director software package. There's going to be more work, but if I can get my Continuity Director up to speed, and she's coming along very fast, I don't think there's going to be a real problem. At that point, what I intend to be doing is nothing but writing. Then I'll work on specs. Then finally, I'll work on station promos and leave all the commercial production to everyone else, because we have about twelve different people who can cut spots besides myself.

R.A.P.: You do have a rather large air staff.
Scott: Yeah. It's nice to have that much variety. We're doing a car dealer promotion, the Great Red Mile Car Sale. The Red Mile is a race track here. The Great Red Mile Car Sale is nine different car dealers all at this one race track for three days. It's our exclusive promotion, and had it been done a year ago, we'd have the same voice running on two different car dealers because we didn't have nine voices. Now, every single car dealer who's running spots for the Red Mile Car Sale has a different voice on their spots.

R.A.P.: How many commercials would you say you and the jocks are writing and producing in a week?
Scott: I want to say twenty or thirty. I know it's quite a few. It keeps me busy. I write at home a lot. Then, I write promos on top of that. I was going hot and heavy up until the time that Young Country went on the air, then I just fell flat on my face when it came to promos and sweepers. The salespeople give you a deadline, and the programming staff doesn't. The salespeople would say, "I have to have this done by this time," and so that has to come first.

R.A.P.: Describe a typical day for you.
Scott: I'm here by nine o'clock, although probably twice a week I'm here by seven o'clock. I come in, I check for missing spots, which is a constant it seems like. I never had that problem until we had three radio stations. My arms just aren't quite long enough. I check for missing materials, carts that have gone bad, sometimes the DigiCart system locks up and won't play anything, other issues like that. I write until 11 or 11:30, and then I go to lunch if I can. Other times it's an opportunity to get into the studio because nobody else is using it, and I'll skip lunch to take the studio time. I produce until two, then follow up on my Continuity Director and help her out and give her some direction on what she needs to do. Then I make that search at the end of the day for whatever is missing that's supposed to start the next day.

I'm interrupted a lot -- that's my biggest problem. I wish I had two hours of nobody interrupting me, of no one coming into my office. That would be quite a blessing.

R.A.P.: There are some Production Directors who take the time, who hold calls and lock doors for one or two hours a day. Maybe it's something you can work in down the road.
Scott: Well, the new deadlines I'm introducing are really going to help. Like I said, we've not had deadlines here, ever, and they all know they're coming. I've hinted at what they're going to be. If it's a dub we're needing, we have to know where and when it's going to be ready no later than three o'clock, or it's not going out until sometime mid-morning the following day. We're not going to have a midnight start. I think more than anything else, that will just wake some people up, and they'll say, "Oh, I've got to get on the ball a little bit."

R.A.P.: If you're producing for three stations, you're probably going to run into clients who want to use your spot on other stations as well. Are you finding this to be the case?
Scott: Yeah, we're doing a lot more dubs than we have done in the past.

R.A.P.: This has to help your freelance income out a bit, doesn't it?
Scott: Well, actually, this market doesn't have a rate for dubs. Everything is done free because we're "buddies" with the other radio stations, I guess. If a client wants a dub, we just make the dub, and it goes over to the other stations at no cost. All the other radio stations do the same for us.

R.A.P.: The entire market is this way? And we're talking about spots that are written and voiced by you and people on your air staff?
Scott: Both. There were some spots I did last year that were completely from my head, unasked for. It was one of those times when I just said, "I've got an idea. I'm going to try it." I had the time at that point, and I put the spot together. The AE played it for the client and he just went off. He made a couple of changes, and we had a series of five or six different commercials running for this client. He took them and put them on this station, put them on that station, put them all over the place. I put a lot of time into that, and it was just.... Oh well, it was free to go across town, no matter how much work or effort I put into it.

R.A.P.: You basically created a full blown campaign for this client, from concept to writing to talent to production, with no compensation.
Scott: Yeah, it was a campaign.

R.A.P.: Have you talked with any of the other production people in town about charging talent fees?
Scott: I've brought it up with a couple of people. Their general response was, "You're right, but it'll never happen." I spoke with my General Manager about it, and he pretty much said, "The market won't support it."

Charging for dubs has never been done here, and I'm not sure what it takes to get it done. I think our market rank is 126. Maybe there's a cutoff point where it stops happening. Most of the people I talk with are in larger markets, and they charge talent fees. I know we didn't do it in Mansfield, Ohio, but I was told by some people that we should be doing it there. Then I thought, "Well, when I come down here to Lexington, we'll definitely be charging because it's a jump of 100 markets." But it doesn't happen here either.

R.A.P.: And you've never been given any reason other than "the market won't support it?"
Scott: That was the statement made.

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