Good Rep/Bad Rep - Why You, The Creative/Production Person, Should Always Go On The Call

from Jeff Left, Creative Director, KVOX/K100/Jeff Left Productions, Fargo, ND

If you work at a station and you do not have the tools needed to create a great spot, find another job ASAP! If you have the tools and are creating great production and promotions and marketing schemes, you need to know why YOU are needed on the call. In 18 years of being in and around production, I have yet to meet a rep who could sell my idea as well as I could. Their focus is always on profit and away from creative. So, to all creative production people, here is a "best and worst" that I have seen, along with some tips on how to make sure your idea and hard work gets on the air. Your rep is with a client, armed with that spot, campaign, or marketing scheme you came up with. Here is what happens and what should happen:

1. A bad rep uses the spot as an option to something better we can come up with next week, then sells next week's idea and shoots this one down. A good rep wouldn't have seen the client unless the spot or idea was on the money. Good reps sell the material as the vehicle by which they can get the money. The good idea sells better than that fleeting Reach and Frequency that changes every twelve weeks.

2. A bad rep sells the spot or idea as a Level 4 in the pitch as opposed to a Level 1. A good rep knows any station can be number one in many ways, many times in the day. If a client focuses on objections in creative, Reach and Frequency become NA! If your idea or marketing scheme is too good to pass up, the client might even trim down other stations' budgets to buy your station.

3. A bad rep will blow the idea away and re-focus on the other station's problems. A good rep will never have to defend an idea or spot. They will sell its advantages, and the only focus on the other station won't be about Rate, Reach or Frequency but on the other station's inability to come up with this level of creative production.

4. A bad rep will not even take the cassette into the client because they don't believe it will work. A good rep is in on the creation of the spot, working with the producer to make sure the producer has all the information in the spot correct, just as the client asked for. This way, objections about incorrect or incomplete information are erased.

5. A bad rep will not have heard the material before the meeting and will end up in a scramble to save the sale. A good rep isn't surprised at all. The good rep is ready for client objections. This rep knows this idea back and forth, up and down, and how it will work.

But even the best rep can't sell it like the creators can. We make it bigger than life. Reps just don't have the hype needed to do the best sell of your idea or spot. It's that kind of dance that gets a client to grab a pen faster and ink with the station. We all have a large part in getting the buy. Why put your part in the hands of someone who can't sell it as well as you? All creative people should be on the call when a lot of money is on the table or when it's of a very grandiose nature. We are sales support systems, and if we are not included in the sell, everyone can lose. Make yourself a part of the call. Save the idea or promotion or spot by bringing the one thing the rep can't. And let the rep bring that which you don't have. TOGETHER, YOU'LL BLOW THE DOORS OFF A NORMAL SALES CALL AND TURN BUSINESS AS USUAL INTO UNUSUAL BUSINESS! Break a lip!!!! 


Mono Check!

from Craig Rogers, Production Director, KLYF/WHO, Des Moines, IA

When we sit in our ivory tower studios, with the chair in the sweet spot and the monitors cranked to 11, we are far removed from the average listeners environment. As a result, what we hear on the air may be entirely different from what we THOUGHT we heard in the studio.

If in-office listening is important to your station, think of the average office listening environment. Unless the office is a high-end audio store or popular mall store, most listening is probably through a clock radio or small boom box, often with only one speaker. This means all your stereo masterpieces are being heard in MONO. Are you checking ALL your stereo mixes in mono? I wasn't -- until I learned the hard way.

KLYF was updating some of their positioning promos. For most of the promos, the revised copy was to go over the same music bed as the old copy. I grabbed the 4-track promo master, and started replacing the old voice tracks with new. Easy enough. There were a few minor bed revisions, but overall, nothing much had changed. Redubbing them to cart didn't take long either. I monitored the cart in stereo as I dubbed them and they sounded just fine! The PD auditioned them before they went on the air. Great stereo mixes! BUT, when he heard them on his clock radio at home or on a mono monitor in the building, the voice-over seemed to get lost, the music lost all its presence.

We pulled the carts and listened to them in mono. Major phasing problem! Our chief pulled the cart deck and looked it over. Upon (very) close inspection, he found an IC with an improperly seated pin. The machine had probably been shipped that way, but functioned fine until the IC finally worked away from the slot and lost its contact.

If I had listened to the carts in mono before I sent them to the studio, I would have caught this and saved three people lots of time in tracking down this problem. One of my rules I try to abide by is, "If there isn't time to do it right, when will there be time to do it over?" It has really hit home now!