R.A.P. Interview - Randy Reeves

R.A.P. You had your own studio at home several years ago. How did you put that together?
Randy: I started doing sweepers for some stations right before I went to Z-93. When I came to Z, there was no problem with management to use the facility, but there was a problem with the hours. I had to either hurry up and do the station's production then do my sweepers, or come in early in the morning before the room got busy. That got to be more and more con-fining, and there was always a slight guilt feeling involved when the other jocks saw me doing my own stuff; so I soon decided that my own studio needed to become a reality. It's the only way to go, as far as being flexible and being able to work when you want to.
So I put together a studio at home with a Yamaha 12 channel board. I use the Sennheiser 441 mike, a couple of 2-tracks, one of which is the Otari 5050, in addition to a 4-track reel-to-reel. I have a DBX 166 compressor/limiter and noise gate, the SPX-90 II, an EXR exciter, along with some other accessories--CD player, de-esser, digital delays, and so on. I have a Roland keyboard that I use to get a lot of effects from, as well as to trigger effects in the SPX-90 II.

R.A.P. Anybody that is going to build a studio at home has one major consideration, and that is the money. How did you put the studio together in this respect?
Randy: I knew I couldn't equip the studio like I would equip a radio station's studio, but I also knew that it had to be on par with the sound quality of the station's studio, or I would be saying, "These sweepers are for a special station, so I need to go to the radio station to cut these." I had to have enough at home so I would feel good about it. I shopped around for a long time and then went out and bought the basics all at once. I had a $10,000 line of credit with a bank and just used that at first. Then I started adding all the toys.

R.A.P. How much, in dollars, would you say you have in the studio right now?
Randy: Initially, I was in business for about $15,000, but if I went out today and bought everything I have, it would probably cost about $30,000.

R.A.P. Do you have a bit of advice to anyone getting ready to build their own studio at home?
Randy: If you can, find somebody locally to buy your equipment from. They can give you a heck of a lot of advice, plus it's easy to get things on a trial basis. For instance, I'm going to upgrade and buy another microphone, and I wouldn't think of buying a mike unless I could work with it for about a week. A lot of these national catalogue places can beat a local distributor on price maybe, but I've found that sometimes the personal attention from a guy that knows you and what you have at home is worth more.

R.A.P. When did you realize it was time to cut the strings with Power 99?
Randy: It was about a year ago. The business really started picking up, and the scenario was that I would work in the studio at home in the mornings, starting around 6:30 or 7:00 o'clock, then I would go into work. It got to the point where I was going in later and later, and I was beginning to get stressed out. So I talked to the GM and he said, "Don't sweat it. If you need to come in at 10 or 11, do it." So I thought, "OK, why give up the salary now? I'll just keep it up like this until I can't handle it any longer." About a couple of month's before I left, I was even busier. I went to the GM and said, "What would you think about me taking a cut in pay and taking a day off a week?" He didn't really go for that. He reiterated and said, "Don't worry about when you come in. I know you're going to get the job done, so don't sweat it." So, I started coming in anywhere from 10:30 to 12:30, and I wouldn't get out of there until 8:00 or later that evening. That made for a pretty long day. The GM came in about a month after our previous talk and asked how things were going since our talk. I said, "Well, it's going pretty good, but I think I'm just going to go ahead and hang it up." The GM said, "I sort of thought you would say that. I've thought about what I would do in the same position, and I'd do the same thing." That made me feel pretty good and made me feel I was doing the right thing. He asked for some time, so I gave him six weeks notice. That's how it came down.

R.A.P. We invariably, in our interviews, get on the subject of sampling and stuttering the voice. What are your feelings on this effect?
Randy: I don't use the stutter effect to any great extent. I just use it more as an accent rather than the focal point of a sweeper. I thought, when it started, that the stutter was going to be an even shorter fad. I thought, "Boy we're gonna get sick of this real quick!" I've come to think of it as a "technique" because it's still heavily in the music. I think the heavy use of the effect is headed out, but I believe it is still a current "high tech" kind of sound if you don't abuse it.

R.A.P. How did the sweeper business get started? Did you actively pursue it in the beginning with a mailout and demo tapes?
Randy: No. The first station I did sweepers for was in Birmingham. I did those simply because I knew some people over there. Back then, if I did something for a station, I would charge them minimal dollars and ask them to mention me to somebody if they had a chance. I remember getting a mention in a tipsheet like the Friday Morning Quarterback from someone saying, "real happy with the promo and sweeper work done by this guy. Give him a call." Back then it was all word of mouth, and it was all mostly confined to the southeast. A lot of it would be through the grapevine, or a guy traveling to a market and hearing the sweepers, asking who did them, and so on and so forth.

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