R.A.P. Interview: Bob Holmcrans

R.A.P.: What about IDs and sweepers. Are you producing a lot of these?
Bob: We do a bunch of little dry drop-ins, twenty to twenty-five a week sometimes. These are just catch phrases. We might take a line in the popular culture of the day and just transform it to relate with WPGC. An example might be something like a drop-in about the commercial with the guy that gets off the airplane and wants to get in the limousine. The guy says Dr. Kolakowitz? He goes, "Yes, I am!" So we might do a thing that says, "The station that plays at least 18 songs in a row?" The second voice says, "Yes, we are!" That type of thing. We do a zillion of those, and we change them all the time. They pop these drops in about four times an hour.

R.A.P.: You said the AM is handling most of their own production. Are there two production rooms?
Bob: We have my main studio, and then the other studio has about four different uses. In the morning it's the newsroom. At ten in the morning that is freed up, and we usually have my intern in there till about two. At two, the AM station does about one and a half to two hours of production. By that time, Christina is off the air and has had lunch, and she goes in there and spends however long is necessary for us to get all our FM stuff done between the two of us. Then, in the evenings on weekends, we have what we call Club 95 where we have a club jock come in and set up with two turntables. They come in and do mix shows for us. So, that studio is hopping like twenty-four hours a day, continually pumping it out. We have a 4-track in there, my old Sony MCI. The day they wheeled in my digital studio, they wheeled out the 4-track and put it in the second production room.

R.A.P.: What digital workstation do you have in your studio?
Bob: I have a Waveframe 401. About two years ago, when we decided to go digital, we checked out the three or four workstations that were out at the time. I was computer illiterate at the time -- scared to death. In most stations you find the Production Director begging the GM to buy a digital workstation. In my case, it was the GM coming to the Production Director and saying, "Come on. We're taking this station to the '90s! We're going digital!" I just trembled in fear. I had never touched a computer in my life.

Between the engineers and myself, we checked out several different workstations, and most of them just didn't make sense to me. What finally happened was, we went to one of the local dealers and were supposed to have a demonstration one day for the ProTools system. The guy who was supposed to do the demo didn't show up. While we were waiting for about an hour and a half for this guy that didn't show up, I struck up a conversation with another customer that was in the store. He invited me to come over to his studio and check out his system. He had the Waveframe. I never heard of the Waveframe. It had been used basically for a lot of post production film work. He had this huge zillion-track digital thing in his studio, but he told me they had an 8-track version of it. He hooked me up with a rep, and the rep came down and demo'd it. I could actually follow what was going on while this guy demo'd it at the station. I said, "This is it! I never heard of this thing, but this is the one I want." I think it was the best move we ever made. It is a wonderful system.

I think the company was sold recently. They were first sold to Digital Effects Corporation. Then Digital Effects went out of business, and they sold it to Time Line. Now, I'm awaiting new software. Time Line is suppose to be doing a whole new treatment with it. They are calling it Studio Frame DAW-80. That software should be ready in a couple of weeks, hopefully.

R.A.P.: How long have you had the system?
Bob: About 2 years.

R.A.P.: Have you found any shortcomings?
Bob: Nothing. It took me about six months to really get up to speed on it. I had to learn not only how to use a digital workstation, but I had to learn the basics of computers at the same time. That's life in the '90s. You have to know that stuff. The sound quality is perfect, and the editing capabilities are just unbelievable. And it's fast. I just can't say enough about it.

R.A.P.: Do you remember what the price tag on the system was?
Bob: I think we paid around $17,000 to $18,000. That's for the whole set up. It's a little bit more than some of the less expensive units out there, but it is also considerably less than the $40,000 things.

R.A.P.: Does it have any digital signal processing on it?
Bob: It has EQ on it. That's it.

R.A.P.: Does this system use a mouse for the user interface?
Bob: Yes, I use a mouse in the Windows format.

R.A.P.: What other toys do you have in the room?
Bob: The board is a Harrison Pro 790. It is a real good board, but we had a lot of trouble with dirty switches. We had to send every single module back to the factory to have them repaired. Once you get it up and running though, it is a fine board. I also have an Otari MTR-15 2-track, and a Sony MCI 2-track which I use as a backup 2-track. I have the Eventide H3000B Ultra-Harmonizer and your basic array of compressor/limiters, DAT players, cassette machines, and things along that line. I also have the Digital Generation Systems box. We've had that since about last October or so. That system is wonderful, but it took them a while to get their act together. There was one point where I almost threw the thing out the window. I just got so frustrated with the customer service. But they seem to have that in line, and it works fine now.

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