Greg Scott Fisher, Operations Manager/Production Director, WZZB-FM, WQKC-AM, Seymour, IN

by Jerry Vigil

The programming of the Satellite Music Network accounts for the programming of some 1100 stations across the country. For the most part, these are small market stations where spot rates and budgets are simply too low for many stations to afford a full staff of talented people both on and off the air. That's where the talents of SMN come in, but there's still work to be done at satellite programmed stations. There are spots to produce, promos to produce, newscasts to do, and lots of remote broadcasts with personal appearances by a representative of the station. There's the full-time job of making a satellite station sound local to the point that listeners call the station theirs. Sure, the jocks are provided to such a station, but these jocks break away for local programming between records, and that's where what happens locally has to shine. In this respect, satellite stations share a similarity with other stations. They both must deal with what happens between the records, and for each, the quality of these breaks eventually becomes the responsibility of the Production Department.

Seymour, Indiana is home to some 37,000 people and radio stations WZZB-FM/Z93-7 and WQKC-AM. They are both SMN affiliates. Their Production Director and Operations Manager is 25 year old Greg Scott Fisher. Join us as we visit Greg and get a glimpse of the Satellite Music Network and radio in the small market today.

R.A.P.: Tell us how you started in radio and how you wound up at Z93-7.
Greg: I always wanted a career in radio, but I didn't want to spend my life floundering around in small markets going nowhere. So I went to Greenville College in Illinois near St. Louis and started my career with a four year degree in communications, and I worked at the college station there for four years. I started out as a News Director and spent the last three years there as the Program Director. The station wasn't commercial, but I got my feet wet in production by doing a lot of PSA material, spots for the college itself, and promos for our various programs.

After college, my first job was at WINN in North Vernon, Indiana. I worked there for two years and ended up being the Production Director there. The neighbor county, Jackson County, where I'm working now, had a station called WJCD. The station had quite a reputation and was the only station in Jackson County. It was owned by a family that never really put any money into the station, and everybody in the area was just waiting for the owner to decide to sell. We knew when that happened that Seymour would be an exploding market, and sure enough, it happened.

When the new owners took over WJCD, I was hired on as the Operations Manager/Production Director. When we came into the station we found a nightmare situation. A lot of the equipment was from the 40's. The format was everywhere. The owner did a lot of preparation in advance, but I was in on the final stages helping to select studio equipment and hire the new staff for my department. My first month here, one of the evening jocks who was here at the time was doing his heavy metal show one evening. All of a sudden I noticed him tracking this blue grass album. I looked around for him to find out what was going on, and he came out of the bathroom. "Your tracking a blue grass album in the middle of your metal show. What's up?" I asked. He said, "Well, I had to take a crap and the blue grass album was handy." Obviously, he was one that wasn't kept on. Anyway, we took over fully on February 15th (1990) and became WZZB-FM and WQKC-AM. We call our FM, Z93-7. That's our Heat affiliate station.

This job has blown me away because it has offered me everything I ever dreamed of at a point in my career much earlier than I expected. The new owners put a ton of money into the station. They put together a fabulous facility basically on the philosophy that they wanted to be a big market station that happens to be in a small market. I think they've succeeded in that. I feel quite honored to have been brought in in this position since this is my first real run as an Operations Manager.

R.A.P.: How many studios do you have and how are they equipped?
Greg: We have one production studio, and it's well equipped. Our engineer, Bob Hawkins, is the Chief Engineer at WENS in Indianapolis which is an Emmis station. He bought a lot of equipment that he was familiar with. We have an Auditronics board hooked up to two reel-to-reel machines. We have the Otari MX5050 2-track and 4-track. We've got the Eventide H3000B Ultra Harmonizer, and we've got a Valley compressor and a couple of the Valley 400 mike processors.

We run our automation through the Audisk system, so carts are actually an antiquity here. In fact, I was running around with a cart in my hand the other day, and somebody asked me what it was. All of our commercial production is on digital disk. We were only the second and third radio stations to have the Audisk system. It was a brand new baby when we bought it. When we started talking about equipment, they wanted my input, but I couldn't say anything at first. I was just sitting there with my mouth open, blown away by what they were bringing in.

I think we've got the best studio in this area. In fact, I think that has kind of upset the other stations because now they've had to put out a little bit more money. One station in the area just bought a nice voice processing unit, and I don't think they would have done that before we were here with our equipment.

The thinking is that with The Heat, you've got to keep the sound consistent with good local production; and we can't be sending every single spot we need produced to The Heat to get it cut. We're going to have to do the job well ourselves. I don't think I would have some of the elaborate equipment I have here if we weren't a hot CHR affiliate. If we were country on the FM and A/C on the AM, I'm sure we would have some nice equipment, but I don't think I'd have the Harmonizer or a hot production library to work with.

R.A.P.: It sounds like they put quite a bit of money into the station for a market that size.
Greg: They did. I was extremely ecstatic about the 4-track until I started reading about all these guys with 8-tracks and what they were doing with them, so I have an 8-track on my shopping list for the future once we start pulling the money in.

R.A.P.: Did you find yourself running out of tracks on the 4-track soon after you had it?
Greg: Yea. The 4-track was quite a blessing for me, but all of a sudden, I found myself thinking, "Good grief. I could have mixed these two pieces in stereo rather than mono, and I could have done some stereo effects with my voice if I only had a couple more tracks." Otherwise, I've found ways of getting around that. I'm pretty imaginative when it comes to doing a production piece.

R.A.P.: What other toys are you hoping to add further down the road?
Greg: One of the first things I'd like to bring in when we have the money for it is a sampler so I can get my feet wet with sampling. I personally own a Roland D-20 workstation which I enjoy working with, but I'd love to see them bring a sampler in.

R.A.P.: Are you a musician?
Greg: I enjoy songwriting. I do a lot of songwriting on my own.

R.A.P.: It sounds like management there is into equipment a little more than at the average station.
Greg: Yes, and that was a big advantage for me. Blair Trask, the General Manager, had worked a number of years as an on-air talent, and he has the reputation of being one of the top small market managers in this area. He's highly sought after and regularly pursued by other people. When we first bought the Harmonizer, he was in here playing around with it and having a great time. He has worked all sides of the radio business, and he saw the benefits of having such equipment in here. I came from an experience where the station manager had always done sales, and management had no perspective whatsoever of the production end of radio, even to the extent of having a salesman come in and cut spots himself which made me cry when I heard them on the air. In this case, the station manager instigates a very precise system of checks and balances. He never wants to hear the phrase, "That's not my job." On the other hand, he's very concerned that the right people do the right job. It's a balance between the two extremes.

R.A.P.: Tell us a bit more about the Audisk system and how it is being used there.
Greg: For on-air automation, it performs three different functions. It functions in production where we actually go in and produce the commercial and master it right into the Audisk. It can store up to 360 minutes of stereo audio. That's using an 8-bit sampling rate of 32kHz. The second function is the scheduling phase where you schedule spots to run automatically. You can schedule up to a week at a time if you have your logs ready that far in advance. The way we do it now, which unfortunately allows for some human error, is that our Traffic Manager produces a log, brings it in, and I have my evening staff manually program in the log. In the future, we're hoping to be able to take the traffic system and plug it directly into the Audisk and have it remember the log that way. That way we'll eliminate errors caused by a number that's punched in incorrectly.

R.A.P.: So, basically, you just plug all of your spots into the Audisk and then the satellite signals trigger the Audisk to play spots as they've been programmed.
Greg: Precisely. We also have all of our liners on Audisk. That includes the Magicall liners, the ID's, and the general liners.

R.A.P.: What are Magicall liners?
Greg: Those are the little short things the jocks on The Heat push while they're talking live that say the call letters. They'll say, "Z93-7 Heat," and then the jock will come back on live and nobody ever notices the difference, especially with the digital quality of Audisk. Now the station I worked at before was also an SMN affiliate, and with the carts you could always tell the difference between when they pushed the taped Magicall and what was actually live on the air. But with the Audisk system, the Magicalls are dubbed from SMN's reel tape, which is very good quality tape in the first place, onto the digital Audisk. So you have perfect reproduction of those. You can't tell any difference at all.

R.A.P.: Is the unit itself, the Audisk, in the production room?
Greg: Yes. Our production room also serves as an FM studio on occasions when we go live, for example, on a remote broadcast. We also have an AM control room. Our AM is a Country Coast To Coast affiliate [SMN], and we have an Audisk system set up in there as well; but we do both our AM and FM production in one studio.

R.A.P.: You must have some computer terminals somewhere. Are they in the production room?
Greg: Right. I have two screens here before me, one for the AM and one for the FM. Then I have my keyboard. That brings us to the third function of the Audisk system. The screens have a "show on air" menu which shows us what's happening and allows us to do any last minute control of the spot sets. Also, if we're doing a live break for any reason, we can pull up a live assist menu from which we can fire all the spots manually. The only reason we use the live assist menu is on our AM for our live newscasts. We have rather extensive newscasts on the AM. Also, the live assist menu is used during remote broadcasts when we have to fire something manually back here at the station. Otherwise, all the spots are fired automatically.

R.A.P.: Apparently, you also transfer all agency tapes directly to the Audisk. Correct?
Greg: Exactly.

R.A.P.: Wow. No carts!
Greg: Another thing that's great about that is that the spots are going to sound just as good the millionth time you play them as they do the first time.

R.A.P.: There are going to be a few folks in the majors that'll be sick to hear that Seymour, Indiana has put the days of carts behind them.
Greg: That's good! I get sick of hearing about their samplers and stuff! I like having something that can make them a little bit jealous.

R.A.P.: Has the Audisk given you any problems?
Greg: We've had some problems with it, but we've worked them out. It's a computer, and computers are basically dumb. They only know what you put into them. I've yet to experience a computer that performed precisely the way I wished it to perform. So, it's typical of a computer, and we've had some problems; but then again I have to say that they've worked, through updates, to make sure that our program has come together as good as it possibly can. We just recently put a new update in, and right now everything is running very smoothly.

There's just one thing I don't like about the Audisk, as far as its on-air sound goes. This may be a picky thing, but I miss the sound of segueing commercials. When you're digital, you're going click, click, click, from one commercial to the next, and you don't have that smooth segued sound. The only time you get the segue sound is at the end of a break when it triggers the network back on and you hear the jock come on. It segues on the last commercial. I miss that good old, smooth segue sound, but other than that, I've been very happy with the unit.

R.A.P.: As far as studios go, you have a production room with two terminals for the two stations. Is that it?
Greg: Yea, for the production end of it. We have some minor equipment in the news room and then the AM studio which is basically set up as an on-air studio. Our mornings are live on the AM with the newscasts.

R.A.P.: Is the FM live at any point?
Greg: No. We stick with The Heat exclusively. We've been very happy with their programming at this point and have no intention of breaking away from it. They can do what we can't do at a great savings to us as you can imagine. Now, we do have remotes that we break away for, and, I should say, we'll do a little bit of live programming. For example, a local artist named Jimmy Ryser recently released an album on Arista records, and we had him in for an interview which we did apart from The Heat.

R.A.P.: How many stations are there in Seymour?
Greg: We're the only stations in Seymour, however we have some neighboring counties who are really hungry for the dollars here. As a matter of fact, they have been sponging money out of Seymour for a number of years and basically doing nothing for Jackson County. They've been making money off the local advertisers because their signals penetrate Jackson County, and they've been the top stations in the area.

R.A.P.: How have things changed since your AM and FM have hit the airwaves?
Greg: I know we've really put the hurt on both of the stations, but we don't have any specific Arbitron figures and won't until the end of the year. Basically, we've taken the attitude that we're going to stand alone in what we are. We haven't tried to compare ourselves to anybody else. We've just been what we've been, and the reaction has just been incredible.

I wasn't certain how the Heat format would work in a small market. I monitored the Heat quite a bit before we went on the air, and there were a few things they would do on The Heat that would make me a little bit nervous -- terms like, "bitchin' radio." We were a little bit uncertain about how it would work out, but now that it has been on the air, the response has just been fantastic. We'll go out on a remote and just have a killer crowd show up. I've never seen this kind of response to a remote at a small market station before. The jock identities are really strong in this area. The people know who the jocks are. The kids love 'em. They ask about Jason Taylor and Monty Foster. It's really amazing. I, in a vague sort of way, try to build myself up as being a local, identifiable person; so when I go to do a remote, they know who Greg Scott Fisher is. They hear my production work on the air, and they know my voice. I'm kind of the connection to the on-air sound, so they sort of perceive me as being one of the on-air talent although I don't actually do a shift.

R.A.P.: How do you get name recognition for yourself on the air?
Greg: When I'm out doing a remote, we might have a liner. We order special liner packages. The Heat is very good about that. We can fax them a liner, and they'll have it on the air to us within the next hour during the closed circuit break. We'll have lines like, "Let's go now to Greg Scott Fisher live on location" or "Join Greg Scott Fisher this Friday...." I've done promos before where I've used my name, so people hear my name. Plus, I meet a lot of people when I'm out on the remotes. They hear my name enough that I kind of become identifiable with what's on the air.

R.A.P.: It sounds like you do quite a few remotes!
Greg: Quite a few. We've put together an interesting remote package, and we don't just do a remote. The idea actually came down from the network. They wanted us to bring their jocks in for large fees to do the remotes, and even though there are ways that we can arrange trade and so forth to make it less expensive for us, we got to working with the format and realized we could put on a darn good remote ourselves. So we don't do a remote; we do a party for the business. We have pizza. We have soft drinks. We work out trades for those. We don't pay a cent for refreshments but we have a ton of them there. We have a thing we call the "Z Wheel" that people spin for prizes. We ask the business to give away prizes. We do very heavy advertising in advance for the remote. We normally run them a set of commercials, and we also run promos and liners, too. By the time we're there, everyone has it in their mind that it's going to be a party, and that's what we do. We go there to party.

R.A.P.: Tell us a bit more about The Heat's format?
Greg: It's a very hot CHR. There's a good mix of dance, rap, a lot of urban, some metal, and good old roots rock and roll. They even do a feature called Timeless Heat where they occasionally throw in a "classic" song from the past ten or so years, even a Beatles song from time to time.

R.A.P.: What would you say your target audience is with The Heat?
Greg: It's really hard to categorize what we're getting with The Heat. We expected anywhere from 12 to 25. Instead, we're not only getting the younger age group, but we're also reaching the middle 30's and some 40's. I've seen some much older people at our remotes that claim to be avid listeners of the station.

R.A.P.: What do you do there to bring your level of production up to the professional sound of The Heat?
Greg: We've put an awful lot of work into that, and it has really surprised a lot of the businesses. One of the interesting, and pleasing aspects of our station, having come from a station where the people didn't expect much from us, is that sometimes people won't recognize us when they hear the station, even our commercial production. They'll say, "I tried to listen to your new station, but I couldn't find it." When it's established that they in fact did find the station, they'll say, "Oh, I listened to that station, but I thought it was an Indianapolis station."

With our production, I really want to put it out in people's faces. I want to be outrageous with it. One thing The Heat does is make up a lot of words to mean different things, and I'll do that in the production work as well. I'll listen to the network and find out what words they're using a lot -- "totally ya" and "rad" for example. If they're using it a lot on the network, I'll use the words in our promos. I try to stay away from using cliché phrases and try to find very unusual ways of saying things. I do a screamer voice on a lot of the promos rather than just your regular radio voice. I do a lot of processing on the Harmonizer, too. We say a lot of outrageous things, but we have to be careful there. Being in a small market, we have to be very concerned about offending people. In this area, offending people can lessen your market base quite considerably. We try to take it as close to the border as possible without going over to really grab their attention. I love it when I go out and hear somebody quoting a commercial, especially when they don't know who I am. Things like, "The radio station that doesn't stink. Here, smell."

R.A.P.: What production libraries are you using?
Greg: I have the Century 21 Laser Lightning package, and I've been very happy with it. I'll have to say that the people at Century 21 are absolutely terrific, specifically Brenda, whom I work with there. I dealt with her at WINN, and she's great to work with. Along with the Laser Lightning package, we got the Generation III package which has some middle of the road stuff on it, a little bit of country, a little bit of rock, news themes, and that type of thing. With their recent merger with TM, we ended up getting two more production libraries for free, so I got TM's Trendsetter II which I've been thrilled to death with. For a station of our size and with our needs, it just fit the bill perfectly. I couldn't ask for a better library in here because it covers all the bases. It has your novelty cuts. It has your international flavor, a few rock cuts, a few country, and a few adult contemporary cuts, just a little of everything. It's absolutely perfect. Then we also got the CDPL collection as part of the total package from Century 21.

R.A.P.: Are there any other people on staff that help you with the production?
Greg: I have one other full time person who works in the evenings and assists me with a lot of production. His job consists mainly of scheduling the Audisk, but he handles a lot of the dubs and does some production work. His production is mostly on the AM station. I've been very blessed to also get some very talented part-timers. I have one young man who drives in from the Louisville area who is extremely talented. We keep him on standby. I have a lady working part-time for me who has worked in radio for years but wanted to get out of it. Still, she enjoys coming in to do some voice work and so forth. I've got a very good staff on hand here.

R.A.P.: How many salespeople are on staff?
Greg: They recently expanded the sales staff, and we now have seven salespeople which includes one telemarketer.

R.A.P.: Do they write spots?
Greg: No. That's my job. They pretty much rely on my warped mind to come up with something.

R.A.P.: How is the sales staff, and how are they treating you?
Greg: On a personal basis, we all get along very well; but since we increased the size of our sales staff, it seems like I have one of them perturbed at me at all times because I'm working on someone else's account. We stay quite busy.

The company has an excellent sales training program. The company that owns us also owns WXVW in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The President of the corporation, Charlie Jenkins, has a reputation of having an excellent sales program. They take them through an extensive training program with video tapes and tests, and they learn absolutely everything they can about radio. They have quite a few training sessions, and the results have shown up in the sales figures.

Some of the sales staff came over from the same station I was at previous to this one. As for the rest of the sales staff, they're basically all new to radio sales. The amazing thing I've noticed about dealing with this management is that they go through quite a process and screen all the applicants before they're considered. They make them take tests to determine whether or not they fit into the sales role. An interesting thing that I've discussed with my station manager before is that the thing that makes the best salesmen also makes them the hardest people to get along with. The thing that makes them get out there, get in peoples faces, and make those sales also makes them kind of difficult to deal with back at the station, but on the other hand, they're all good people.

R.A.P.: Do you get your fair share of last minute spots?
Greg: Oh, all the time. One problem I have is salespeople that don't pay attention. I'm very much a perfectionist, and I'm very picky with the salespeople. I ask for very detailed information from them regarding their clients and that's what you should expect from them, but most of the spots we've had to recut come from their error. Either they've given us the wrong address, or they've left out something that was important. They didn't get to know the client and his needs thoroughly enough. They didn't ask enough questions. There again though, that's typical. It's just a matter of having not had that experience; and to them, a small change is nothing. The client will call them and say, "Change this a little bit," or "change that." As far as the salesperson is concerned, they just come in and say, "change this," and that's that. A lot of them don't realize the effort it takes to actually have to recut a spot, especially one that I've put a lot of production work into. So, we have that encounter every once in a while, but definitely we have a lot of last minute stuff.

Another mistake I see salesmen making is, rather than coaching and helping these people along with their advertising, their tendency is to give the client whatever they want because they want to make that sale and they want to please that client. So if the client says, "Can you make fifty edits in this commercial?" the salesman will say, "Oh, sure we can!" Then they'll come back here and say, "Oh, Greg? Can you do this?" They'll make promises that are a little bit hard to keep, and rather than coaching the client and saying, "Well, maybe you should go this direction. It might be more beneficial for you," they'll just say, "We'll do it, if that's what you want to do." It's not to say the client's always wrong. That's certainly not the case, but there are certain instances where a client needs a certain amount of coaching rather than being coddled.

R.A.P.: How many spots would you say you write and produce in a week on the average?
Greg: In the ballpark, somewhere in the twenties.

R.A.P.: Do you often have to cut two spots for one client, one for the FM format and the other for the AM format?
Greg: Occasionally, but not too often. Originally, my directive for the AM station was, "I'd better not hear that Harmonizer on the AM station!" However, I've managed to work it in to kind of beef up the production there, and they've been surprised at how versatile the Harmonizer is, even for a country station. There are effects that can make a country promo sound much more memorable.

R.A.P.: How are the station's clients when it comes to working with them on their spots?
Greg: One of the biggest problems I have is typical of a small market where you tend to have quite a few radio virgins -- people that have never worked with radio before. I'll have a lot of clients that send in copy that they're really high on and think is great, but at first glance I'll see it's riddled with clichés and really isn't very good copy. It doesn't jump out at you. I don't know if they really have a full grasp on what advertising is, yet. Sometimes these clients will want to come in and be radio stars more than actually advertise their business. I actually had one lady that wanted to play a song that she had recorded in the background of her commercial just to get her song on the air. On the other hand, many of these clients have liked what I've put out for them. They've been willing to let me work with the copy and show them better ways of doing things.

It amazes me, even from the large markets, the amount of wimpy copy I see coming out. I think surely I'm not the only person on to this, but I've got a real thing against wimpy copy. I do everything I can to make the copy work. For example, I don't want to give people listening to copy any way that they can say "no" to the product. One way I avoid that is with a rule I have against asking a question in a commercial, unless it's actually essential. I won't say, "Would you like a steak today?" because automatically you'll have people say, "No, I don't want a steak today." Instead, I'll say, "Boy, a hot, juicy steak sure sounds great right now." I write copy that tells people, "this is what you want." With car dealers, it's very difficult to tell everybody that they want this new car, but by the time I get to the end of the copy, I want them to think this is their dream car and that they've got to go test drive it today.

There's another thing I have to work at convincing the advertisers of -- it has been mentioned several times in Radio And Production, but it probably bears repeating -- and that is, why waste time putting a phone number in the copy several times, or why put an entire street address in there? I've yet to go by a business that has their phone number or their address in big numbers in front of their store. Why not say it's next to Walmart or across from McDonalds?

R.A.P.: Do you hire any outside voice talent for sweepers, promos, and spots, or is it all handled by the SMN people and your staff?
Greg: We try to do it all in-house. We will occasionally have the SMN people voice a spot or something for us. We don't do a lot of that basically because we can do it quicker ourselves and keep the overhead costs down. Our main goal for this first year is to do something that most small market stations have never been able to do, and that is to turn over a tremendous profit, and it looks like we're going to be able to do that.

R.A.P.: It sounds like The Heat really boosted sales for WZZB. Is the AM doing as well?
Greg: The AM station is doing very well. Both of our stations have found a niche. The only thing I'm curious about when the book for our market comes out is which one of our stations will be number one. I have no doubt that we're going to kill 'em in this market.

The tact we're taking with the AM station is that it's the "Seymour" station. It's the area station with all the news and sports which is a pretty typical tact for a small market station. Our FM station is the regional station. We're looking forward to increasing our power in the future and being a little bit more generic with our terminology and programming, but yet letting Seymour be able to say, "Hey, this is our station." They hear their name on the air or they see us out in the community. They feel like we're their station, but, on the other hand, we're doing nothing to offend our other listeners in other counties as well.

R.A.P.: Are you getting business from the neighboring counties?
Greg: We haven't really had the manpower in the past to go after it, but recently we have begun expanding our sales efforts to the other counties. Judging from the response we've had, we have quite a listener base in those other counties. We get some feedback from the network that supports this. I've talked to some of the jocks who have told me about calls they get from our neighboring counties. We'll get response from Columbus, Indiana and North Vernon. The Heat does a game show every week called Beat The Heat, and every week they have a winner. They gave away a pinball machine one week, and the winner was from North Vernon. We had a ball with that. Of all the people across the nation, the winner was in our neighboring county.

R.A.P.: Are there any locally based ad agencies in Seymour?
Greg: There are none locally, but there are several in the area that will come in and target some of the local businesses. That's another thing that blows me away -- some of the crap that people are selling for six hundred dollars and a thousand bucks. Some of the low-ball ad agencies that come in and give clients the ad agency line and say, "We're going to produce this big time spot for you that's going to be great and sell a lot," and they send back these spots that are just absolutely pathetic. And the clients are paying big bucks for this! One thing I push to our clients here is that we can give them that ad agency sound right here, and we can. We just came through the political season and surprised a lot of politicians who came in here and could not believe how good I made them sound on the air just by using the good equipment and having the know-how. We had politicians go out and pay big bucks to the ad agencies who came back with a poorer quality commercial than the local politicians were getting by spending the money with us and having us do the production.

R.A.P.: As Operations Manager/Production Director, what are your tasks outside of hiring and maintaining staff and handling the production?
Greg: One major responsibility is taking care of the liners. I have to make sure the liners on both stations are in on time and make sure that they achieve the goals of the station, that is to make our FM sound like Seymour's station but yet a regional station, and make our AM sound extremely local. On The Heat, I just have a ball with the liners. Having the jocks say something with our local call letters is a primary concern for a station using a satellite format. You want the jock to sound like he's right here in our studio.

My other concerns are upkeep of the production facility and the libraries and so forth. I'm on top of the remotes and consult a lot regarding those. I work with our News Director to make sure our news is on course, but the largest part of my job is consumed with production.

R.A.P.: Is there any area where SMN has fallen short as far as your stations are concerned?
Greg: That's tough. I certainly don't want to sound critical of the Satellite Music Network because they've done an awesome job for us, and they have a great staff working for them. Perhaps, though, their staff tends to be overworked from time to time. I've heard several jock shifts where the jock has had to fire a liner then go into commercials rather than do a live set because, I presume, he's on the phone having to take care of some business of some sort. Basically, they've done a fine job, and I enjoy working with them.

R.A.P.: How about a little small market war story for our readers who may have forgotten what it's like in the small markets?
Greg: At this station, I had a client write a piece of copy and send it to me with instructions to record it "as is." I read the copy and found they didn't mention the name of their business once. I've had that happen to me twice. The first time I thought this was just a once in a lifetime thing and should enjoy it, and then it happened again. I couldn't believe it.

Another amazing thing happened with one of the salespeople here. Recently I had to recut a spot because I used a word in it that the account rep didn't know the meaning of. "You better recut that. I don't know what that word means."

I had to change one spot not too long ago for a client so that one of the sentences read in poor grammar simply because that was the way he wanted it to read. He didn't know it was poor grammar. He said, "No, I think it should be this way." So we had to change the sentence. Unfortunately, I was the one that was voicing that account, so I read the spot and cringed when I read that line, realizing that people would say, "Golly, he doesn't know what he's saying."

R.A.P.: Do you have some aspirations to move up in the markets, or are you pretty happy there?
Greg: That's a tough one because initially, when I got into radio, I thought I'd quickly pursue the major markets, or at least the medium markets like Indianapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, or Louisville; however, in this small market I've recently bought a house, I'm settled in, I've got my family here, and I guess I kind of enjoy the fact that it's not quite as stressful, I guess you would say, because you don't hear of all the hirings and firings you hear about happening every day in the major markets. Ideally, I would like to get into a larger market, but right now, I'm enjoying what I'm doing here. Plus, working with the staff here is great. At larger stations, people seem to go their own direction and always have their noses in a piece of paper. Here you have people communicating with each other. You have the infamous staff parties with everyone having a great time. You can sit back and joke with the station manager, have a laugh, and still take care of business. I've told people that we have a staff of radically insane people here, and that's what makes the station work.

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  • The R.A.P. CD - March 2003

    Winners, Runners-Up and Finalists from the 2003 Radio And Production Awards including winning entries from John D. Masecar, Mix 99.9, Toronto, ON; Timothy...