R.A.P. Interview: Rich Conway

JV: Have you ever worked for a larger company?
Rich: Yes. I didn’t have any problems in that atmosphere, and it was great. I have excellent memories and friends. There’s a stereotype that things are a living hell out there, but that’s not true. Just do good work and you won’t have any problems. Everyone likes to hear good radio, so I learned early on not to ask and just do. The only time someone will say not to do something is if it isn’t good. When you work in radio, or any job, you should treat it as if it is your own business. You need to make and keep your company the best it can be. The rest will take care of itself.

JV: You also do commercials there. How busy are you with commercials and what’s your philosophy regarding this side of production at WCCC?
Rich: I do quite a few spots, and I like to create all types of spots. I like the way multi-voice spots sound on the air—like imaging, it makes you and the client sound big. I try to keep a balance of voices. There are certain spots I do, like local concert spots and such, and then there are spots better suited for other voices. I try to keep production away from the jocks as much as possible so they can concentrate on their shows. We have a great weekend staff that is capable of doing good work, so I’ll often leave them spots to be voiced and produced. This way, we always have plenty of voices on the air. In radio, part-time people are often overlooked, but they can really affect the sound of the big picture. And it’s great to give them an opportunity, too. 

JV: It sounds like you crank out quite a bit of production every day. Do you ever get burned out?
Rich: I hate those days when there’s so much to do that it starts to feel like an assembly line. It’s important to me that the quality keeps up with the quantity, and I constantly have a hunger to create new and original things that are better than what was done yesterday. It gets hard at times, but I’ve learned that the creative process comes in cycles. So, I try not to get bummed out when it’s not there because it always comes back around.

JV: Are there any people in the industry who have been mentors for you to some degree?
Rich: There’s Bob Smith, who used to do the production at WHCN and later at WZLX in Boston. I always felt his work was an influence on mine. One piece of his work would be completely bizarre, then the next would be serious and really rock. I’ve also worked with some great PDs such as Tom Bass, who ironically is back at WHCN. My first PD was cool, too. His name was Jeff Spencer, a man obsessed with polish. I‘d do something, and he say, “not quite… do it again.” I‘d do it five more times or whatever to get it right. I remember him saying, “Someday, you’ll thank me.” Thanks Jeff, wherever you are.

JV: What advice would you give someone who is just getting into production?
Rich: Assembling production is like putting together a puzzle. The pieces can’t almost fit—they either do or they don’t. The only way to learn how to do it is through hours of practice. Make the commitment, listen often to what you’re doing, and focus on the little things. Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Remember, what you create needs to come from your mind. There are no rules. Don’t look at the piece your creating as simply going from point A to point B, but look at all the things that need to happen along the way to capture a listener’s attention. It’s really the small things that make the difference. Not everything has to be a grand slam. Consistently hit doubles and triples, and the homers will come. Listen to people around you and be open to learn from them.

JV: Tell us about your business on the side called Off The Dial Productions.
Rich: That’s basically the company for my freelance production work. I’ve done some things for WHJY in Providence in the past when Bill Weston was PD, I’ve worked for American Comedy Network, and I also do some spots for some of my own clients through Off The Dial Productions.

JV: You also have a commercial website, condomclub.com. Wanna tell us about this one?
Rich: Yes, mom is so proud. People keep coming and coming. CondomClub.com is getting bigger and bigger all the time. CondomClub.com carries 10 different brands of condoms, and people order from the privacy of their home. From weird sweepers to your sex life, I’ve got you covered…so to speak.

JV: What do you see yourself doing in the near future?
Rich: I’d like to do some additional freelance work and keep kicking ass with my friends at the Rock. But it would be really cool to be able to turn the “Squid Report” into a crazy TV show and get farted out of a giant squid live on TV. Then mom would really be proud.

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Always great to hear about other people’s creativity!!?

Mary
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