October 2013 Highlights

Outside the Box: The Rest of the Story

by Erik Cudd

You know you are getting old when you sit and listen to the ad from "the Big Game" utilizing Paul Harvey's voice and realize that the master is no longer with us. As a Radio user I was often delighted to be greeted by the familiar, "Hello Americans, this is Paul Harvey... stand by for news". Immediately, regardless of my activity or frame of mind, I instantly became locked into preparation mode, turned up the volume, and paid attention. It goes without saying that many clients think putting an attention grabber in the beginning of their ad is powerful. I disagree. Simply screaming "Attention", or using some ridiculous siren or obnoxious sound effect does not cause people to be drawn in, waiting and attentive to a message.

Q It Up: Do You Dabble In Sound Design?

We anticipated that few of our readers have time to "dabble" in sound design, and if they do, they probably don't have much time to write about it. But we did get a few commendable responses from some noteworthy gentlemen, some of whom are quite familiar with the subject. Thanks guys!

Q It Up: Do you dabble in sound design, or are you pretty much the type that just grabs the sound effect from the imaging effects or sound effects library and lay it in? If you do sound design, what are some of your favorite tools for creating sounds? Do you like to take existing sounds and alter them? What techniques do you find yourself using most often?

Production 212: I'll Take The Red Ferrari, Please

by Dave Foxx

A couple of months ago, I posted an article online that said, "playing on the cutting edge means you're in serious danger of getting cut...badly." I then went on to describe my adventures in upgrading to Pro Tools 11 and how it was probably a bad step to upgrade so soon after a major release update. Having read the post, a friend of mine dropped by to commiserate a few days later. He has a pretty magnificent home studio, which he spends a LOT of cash on every year, keeping it right on the hairy edge of technology. While we were moaning and groaning about technology creep, another friend with a home studio called and she ended up joining the conversation.

Test Drive: iZotope RX 3 Noise Reduction Software Redux

by Steve Cunningham

One of my most prized audio tools is not a vintage microphone or a boutique preamp. It's a bit of software, albeit a very complex bit of software, that comes courtesy of the boffins at iZotope. We took a gander at iZotope's RX plug-in back in February 2008, when it was at version 1 (as in Uno!). Since then others have released plug-ins that perform many of the same noise-reducing tasks, including most of the heavy-hitter software companies like Waves, Sony and even CEDAR, who is considered the granddaddy of noise reduction. Despite both product and pricing competition, iZotope's RX product has continued to dominate the market, gaining a reputation amongst audio engineers as the go-to noise killer. It has certainly been mine for the past five or so years.

Radio Hed: Commercial Hooks Catch Customers

by Jeffrey Hedquist

Your clients are nervous. They'd love to have a way to measure the effectiveness of their ads. They want to prove they're working. They think if they put these in their commercial...
"Mention this ad and get a free gift, or...we'll give you 20% off, or...your next ______ is on us..." that they'll be able to track response to their radio campaign because customers will come in and say those magic words.
Unfortunately, this rarely works. People will respond to a campaign because they heard the ads, or a friend who heard the ads told them, but customers are RELUCTANT to respond the way your client wants them to. They don't want to follow your clients "doggie commands" as Nick Michaels calls them. To do so is mildly embarrassing, and so 1950s.
So instead of asking them to beg for the prize, tickle their imaginations. Put something in the commercials that will stick in their minds. Give 'em a hook - a mnemonic device, a catchy phrase, image, sound, taste, touch or smell that jogs the memory. Hooks help listeners remember your client's commercial. They help inspire them to respond. No, they're probably not going to say "I heard it on the radio," but if your hook is distinctive enough, they may refer to it when they speak with someone at your client's business.

Personal Computing: It's All About Your Connections

by Reid Goldsborough

From close to their inception, computers have not only been calculating machines but also connecting tools to link us with one another. The way computers and other digital devices connect us is by connecting to one another.
The various ways computers connect have evolved over the years. Today the most important, and interesting, connections include Wi-Fi, LTE, fiber, coax, HDMI, USB, and Bluetooth. Making the best use of these connections will help you get the most out of whatever computer equipment you're using, from smartphone to desktop PC. 

"...And Make It Real Creative!": The Dream Journal

by Trent Rentsch

I don't remember where I first heard it, but someone told me that all the great Creatives in history, from Da Vinci to Groucho Marx, kept a journal with them at all times; taking notes about the world they experienced, jotting down ideas when inspired, generally chronicling impressions that might make an impact in their future Creations. Since I've always wanted to be a great Creative when I grow up, this seemed like a baby step in the right direction, so I began to carry a notebook with me.
The first one became more toil than tool... it was legal sized, unwieldy to haul around, and the bright yellow paper! Sheez!! Too bright and glaring! No wonder I never got around to scribbling more than a literal scribble or two in it!

The Monday Morning Memo: What PPM Means To Radio Advertisers

by Roy H. Williams

Before we begin, you need to know that a "3.0 frequency" is RadioSpeak for reaching the same listener 3 times. TSL means "Time Spent Listening" and PPM is "Portable People Meter."

Hi Roy,
I'm sure that you receive this question often, but I didn't find your personal response to it online. How do you believe the reduction in frequency realized through the implementation of PPM should affect media planning? The obvious response is that PPM derives a more accurate measure of TSL, and therefore these "new" metrics should now be the benchmark... but what does that say about the "old" 3.0 frequency? Previous studies showed the "old 3.0" was effective. In the end, the PPM 3.0 is clearly a safe bet for results... but the question is whether old schedules, previously deemed effective, should be shifted to reduce reach and increase frequency... and whether that change will further enhance results or not.

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