I just received the May issue of RAP and couldn't help poking a little fun at Dennis Daniel's "Tales of the Tape" column with this letter to the editor:
Gee whiz golly wowee far out and jeepers, Dennis Daniel! I wish I'da known really swell "Quincy Jones" type of guys like you could make nifty little jingles (with real players, singers, creative time, studio costs, and sales commissions of course!) for three hundred bucks, before I went out and invested $500,000 in building, staffing, and running a recording studio (not to mention years of engineering sixteen-hour a day sessions, playing session and live dates, and college).
What I shoulda done was bought the jingles from you for $300 each, and then turned around and sold them for "$1,500 to $5,000" each and put all those extra REALLY BIG GREEN DOLLARS right in my pocket! Well, Hi Howdy I Do Declare!
Of course then I guess if jingles should go for $300 each 'cause "this stuff is a cake walk," then voice-over talent should go for fifty cents a spot and Production Managers for two dollars an hour. After all, anyone can talk and push a button or two!
Bill Byrne, The Production Group
Spokane, WA 99207
I raise my glass to you for providing a forum for clarifying music copyright issues. Flip Michaels [The Cheat Sheet] has shown an effort to convey a clear understanding of the system, how it works, and how to work in it.
A letter to you by Craig Jackman of CHEZ [May '92 Letters] states, "...using music we don't have copyright for. We all do it at one time or another, but my point is, don't do it all the time, and if you must, use the most obscure piece you can find." I suppose he would not object to a Los Angeles production maven using his ideas and duplicating his sounds off a reel, so long as it was from an obscure location like Ottawa.
Let's face it. The obscure recording artists aren't getting rich. And you're going to insult them further by ripping them off?
The point is, using music licensed to the station for program use, not commercials, is wrong. Ask your legal council to read the BMI or ASCAP license to you. You can't use the rationale that cheating on your wife is okay, as long as it's far from home and with some poor, ugly woman. You can try to excuse yourself [by saying] that others do it, you may not get caught, and you may only feel a little guilty; but it still erodes the institution and your integrity.
So, my bandwagon is obvious. Use music that you have permission to use. Convince management you need production music or clearance on a specific song. Need ammunition? Management would never allow engineering to, even occasionally, operate over power and outside frequency and risk legal exposure from FCC monitoring. You don't want even a remote chance of a legal suit from using music illegally. When put into business terms, businessmen understand. If not, you're at the wrong station.
Bill Mullin, Signature Music Library
Buchanan, MI 49107
I was puzzled by the tone of Sean O'Neal's letter to the editor in the May issue regarding my 3-D patch for the SPX-90. He says that my patch "leaves the voice track(s) sounding too ethereal, too unnatural," and then goes on to assume that I use this patch the wrong way... that is, not his way.
First off, I only use this patch for one-word to three-word bursts, and never for a whole sentence, much less a whole spot. (It's also very nifty on laser shots, for those who still use laser shots.) His contempt for producers who lack "subtlety" and "prudence" somehow got transferred to me, and if he's heard any of my work on The Cassette, he'd know that I'm not one to ignore good copy for the sake of misplaced razzle-dazzle.
Second: What sounds "too unnatural" to him may sound perfect in the right context. If O'Neal ever produces more than one kind of spot he'll need more than one kind of trick up his sleeve.
Third: He implies that I'm using effects to "blow away other Production Directors," not to make "clients and listeners happy." Actually, it's by making clients, listeners, and my PD happy that I've blown other Philadelphia Production Directors away...and that's why so many of my (paid-for) spots are running on their stations.
Finally, if he doesn't think my patch is mono-compatible, he needs a serious head adjustment...and he might want to get his tape recorder checked, too!
David Witz, Production Director
WYXR-FM, Philadelphia, PA
Just a quick note to call your attention to an article in a recent issue of R&R (4/10). On page 38, Rob Balon, CEO of the Benchmark Company, sums up something we Production Directors have been saying all along: "...Radio cannot afford mediocrity."
...I'm hoping my sales colleagues will read the sample script in the article and realize that I am not the only one who feels they could LOSE MONEY by being lazy when they finally sit down to type up a spot.
MEDIOCRITY IS DEATH. That's why I subscribe to R.A.P., and always will.
Pete Jensen, Production Director
KZZU-FM, Spokane, WA
I just briefly wanted to respond to something Dennis Daniel wrote in the May R.A.P. ["Jocks in the Production Room"]. Rather than try to "teach" production at the major market level, I find it better to sit down with the PD at the time he's hiring and remind him that we really need someone with production experience to fill that opening. I must say that the last three people we've hired are all capable of excellent production. Look at it this way; it's the PD's job to staff the program department. YOU have to let him know the kind of staff person that's needed. If a jock comes to me and asks me to help him/her do better production, then, of course, I'll find the time to do it. However, if there are people out there that have the time to teach production to your jocks, that's GREAT! Hopefully, we'll hire one for our next opening.
Ed Brown, Creative Director/Production Manager
KSHE-FM, St. Louis, MO