R.A.P. Interview: John Frost

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R.A.P.: What production libraries are you using?
John: We've always had the crappiest music production libraries, but it hasn't bothered me because I just go ahead and use bands. On the other hand, for our commercials, where they're gonna cease and desist your ass in a second if you use music from bands, we've just recently ordered Attitude from TA&A in Dallas, Toby Arnold and Associates. I think this library is great. There's another one that sounds pretty good that I don't have yet called X Rules. I don't even know who puts it out, but they've been direct mailing to all of us modern rock stations for a while. Other than that, modern rock is a really under served area because they can't just use rock libraries. Rock libraries are full of the squealing, guitar, glamour, Van Halen sounding rock and that just doesn't work for us. So other than those two libraries, Attitude and X Rules, we're really under served in that category. Somebody ought to get on the ball.

For sound effects, we're using Network. I hate the Network sound effects library, but we have it so I use it. We have a couple of Hollywood Edge sound effects CDs, and I've got a variety of cartoon CDs from Sound Ideas and Hollywood Edge.

R.A.P.: Are you serious about cease and desist orders? Will you get one pretty fast in L.A. for using music from a band under a commercial without a license?
John: Yeah. Definitely. Even stuff like the Hawaii Five-O theme. You can't use that because somebody's got the rights to that here somewhere. And the Mission Impossible theme; we've been ceased and desisted on that one. Even things like that which usually would just go into a promo at some point and enhance the mood somehow--we get called on that a lot.

R.A.P.: You got a cease and desist for using these cuts on a promo?
John: I can't remember the exact nature of those two cease and desists, but they can actually cease and desist us from using it on a jingle or a promo, too. We got ceased and desisted on Wipeout by the Surfaris, and I think we were using that just under our surf report. We used to have a surfer who would call in and give a surf report every Saturday morning. It's more image than it is function to do that, but yeah, just using it underneath that, I think we got cease and desisted. Usually, if you're using it to sell auto insurance or something, they're definitely going to cease and desist you. If you're using it as part of imaging your radio station, they may not, but they still can.

R.A.P.: It just depends on their mood.
John: That's right. It depends on their mood. You know, when you're putting it behind an auto insurance commercial, it stands out like a sore thumb to them. If they just hear a little sample of it built into a jingle or a promo or something, it may not bug them. I'm not even clear on the laws. I don't even know what the sample law is. There's something about being able to sample a few seconds, but I don't know if you have to give the composer anything or what you have to do.

R.A.P.: What's down the road for you?
John: I don't know what I'm going to do next. I can't imagine working at another radio station other than K-Rock. I can't think of another modern rock station I'd go to. Maybe I'll go consult and do a network of modern rock stations or something like that. Or maybe I'll go into TV production if one of these scripts gets picked up, or cartoon voicing full-time because that's really easy, or record production. Who knows? I'm having fun. I have no idea what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll just stay here and try to win more awards because awards are neat.

R.A.P.: You mentioned television scripts?
John: Well, I have some characters that I'm trying to shop and get a deal for. I haven't actually written scripts that are out there being considered. I'm actually trying to get my own series with characters I've created--cartoon animation, adult cartoon animation.

R.A.P.: What advice would you pass on to programmers who want to get more out of their creative people?
John: Boy, I don't know. Creative people are weird. Hopefully, everybody knows that a creative person is somebody you have to manage a little bit differently than anybody else in the office. For instance, different things bring out the best in creative people. I would say probably the one thing I don't like, and which really seems to stifle me and burn me out more than anything else, is being micro-managed where every little detail of what you do is constantly held up and questioned. We're supposed to be doing fun stuff anyway, so if it doesn't communicate exactly what you wanted it to as efficiently as some other way you may think of later, you still maybe should do the weird thing from time to time just to keep people guessing about you. Don't micro-manage the image. It's not that important (laughs). When you're goofing around, then that will get across, and they'll realize that you're not so full of yourself...and that's good, too.

R.A.P.: Any parting thoughts for your peers?
John: We're having a lot of fun. Don't forget to have fun. Don't take this life or this job or your work too seriously. Have fun and then maybe the listeners will as well. It's pretty obvious stuff, but it's real easy to forget.

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