by Dennis Daniel
So, anyway...I'm no longer in radio and...oh? Didn't I tell you? Darn, it must have slipped my mind. It's true! I resigned from my job as Production Director at modern rocker WDRE in September. I had been there for four years. Prior to that, I was Production Director at album rocker WBAB for ten years. Those of you who have read this column over the past six years are no doubt familiar with my many rants and raves about the creative life of a radio station Production Director. It's one hell of a tough job! A job that often goes unappreciated and unrewarded. Well, I quit! I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!
What Happened, Part One: When I started at WDRE in 1990, we were the little radio station that could. The station had never had a solid production department until I came in with my partner and assistant. We turned the whole joint around! We had tons of creative freedom! Tons! We did the wildest bits and commercials of our joint careers. It was radio heaven! Then...the Program Director who hired us left. When the new one came, as is always the case, changes took place. For me, these initial changes were for the better. I became the voice of the station, doing all the programming oriented production. I worked out a trade agreement with a local studio and did all original music on all promos! We even composed music to pre-voiced reads. For two and a half years it was complete bliss! I experimented with all kinds of styles and approaches. My PD was very happy and told me so often. This, I thought, was my new calling in life! I even got some side jobs voicing other modern rock stations across the country. It was wonderful!! Naturally, it wasn't meant to last.
What Happened, Part Two: The beginning of the end for me, although I didn't know it at the time, was when the one station became two. WDRE expanded to the Philadelphia market. Soon, it expanded further, with additions out east on Long Island, in Albany, Georgia, and Tennessee. With this expansion came an expansion in my workload. A big expansion. In short, I was no longer working for one radio station. Internal changes in management also made things difficult. I didn't know who was my boss when. Mind you, I don't blame anybody for this specifically. The staff and upper management at WDRE are top notch! I have tons of respect for them all -- not a slacker among them! It was just not going in the direction I would have liked. My advice was sought only sporadically on issues I felt required my being in the loop. For me, things became a mess. I have often said in these pages that sitting around and bellyaching without taking action will never do anyone any good. I decided that it was time to leave.
Where I Went: What I'm about to tell is really going to blow the minds of those who have read my column all these years. Get this: I'm now the Broadcast Creative Director of an ad agency! Yes, children, an ad agency! I went to the other side! But wait, before you burn me in effigy, check this out. Way back in 1978 when I was a mere eighteen-year-old pup, I was hired by an ad agency called Topline Design to write some radio commercials. I ended up working there for two years. Since then, they've become one of the largest ad agencies in New York. I always remained friends with the owners. One night I was over there for dinner. I had a little wine in me, and I started to lament my present job situation. Within two weeks they put together a plan to bring me over! Not only would I become Creative Director of Broadcast, they also would become my partners in a production company! And Topline Design would be one of my accounts! They'd even build me my own studio in house! The result? One on One Productions, my new company. For years I've had offers to start a production company, but I always smelled a rat! This was a no lose situation! Built-in business!
So, here I now sit. Dennis Daniel, President of One on One Productions. Dennis Daniel, Broadcast Creative Director for Topline Design. I'm still doing tons of commercials, but now...I get a piece! All my previous free-lance clients have come over with me! In a way, I'm still in radio. But I'm also doing TV, film, print, and more! I'm expanding my creative horizons.
Life is change. I never would have guessed that I'd be here doing what I'm doing. As I learn, I hope to let you all know how it's going. It seems so strange to me. I thought I'd be a radio station Production Director until I died. Now, I find that my Tales of the Tape haven't ended...they're really just beginning.