I truly enjoyed the articles in April's edition by Mark Margulies and in May's edition by Jeff Left. They are the very items we've been discussing here at WMJQ/WBEN for quite some time. Fortunately, our owners, Keymarket Communications, are extremely high on the CREATIVE process and want only the best writing and production.
As those two articles pointed out, some stations put creative at the very bottom of the station totem pole. I'm relieved to know that there are still some broadcasters out there who remember that this is a CREATIVE business as well as a profitable business. And each one has to work together with the other or neither exists. We've found that you can sell creative writing and production as well as ratings. The key is training the sales staff to sell the creative. We've done that.
It hasn't been easy, but the clients can hear the quality and realize that the creative process can drive customers into their stores. The clients are starting to know that they don't need their phone number in the ad twelve times and address fourteen times to make a successful commercial.
Yes, you have to train the clients as well as the salespeople. They've been using the same "BANG THEM OVER THE HEAD UNTIL THEY BLEED FROM THE EARS" radio ads. And it has worked for the most part. But they've been afraid to try anything new, anything daring. WOW, when they did, surprise, surprise--it worked. More people stampeded into their stores.
My point is: keep pushing the good creative towards sales and the clients. It makes all of us better writers and producers in the long run.
Todd Broady, Production Director
WMJQ/WBEN, Buffalo, NY
Just finished reading, with great interest, your interview with Scott Bourne of 30:60 Productions, formerly of the Boise, Idaho area, and now located in Minneapolis. I was quite surprised to read about how involved Bourne says he was in the Boise production scene since I, as Production Director at this station since May, 1986, never met the gentleman and on only one occasion actually heard a sample of his production skills.
I have been working in Boise radio since January, 1986 and began my current job as Production Director at KBOI/KQFC/KLCI radio in May of 1986. During that time, I've not only been writing copy for our three stations, but producing spots as well. Not only do I keep quite busy at my regular job, but I also do considerable free-lance work for various agencies in the Boise area, and, contrary to what Bourne said in your interview, GET PAID FOR IT!
Apparently, Scott Bourne's business was located in the hinterlands of Southwestern Idaho. Otherwise, he would have known that most radio stations in the Boise area have had digital capability for the past couple of years. At the present time, our three stations are using the Orban DSE-7000, a production tool that we've had in-house for approximately eighteen months. Long range plans call for another digital editor to be added to our inventory. I take exception with Bourne's comment that a "...top of the line production facility in a Boise radio station is a 4-track..." and that "...most of those guys are doing production on old 2-track reel-to-reel machines...," and for phase effect they "...kind of put their thumb on the reel." Come on, Scott, get real!
Finally, and contrary to what Bourne says, Boise is NOT one of those "terrible markets where guys who work their butts off to do their best get paid nothing extra." Boise and the surrounding cities comprise what's growing into a major metropolitan area, complete with all the problems and growing pains experienced by other bigger cities, even Minneapolis! And, the best part is that our advertising agencies seem to respect the work that we in radio do for them!
It's obvious that, for whatever reason NOT brought out in the Bourne interview, it's not nice to bite the hand that fed you, Scott! ...and now you know the REST of the story!
Randy Seely, Production Director
KBOI/KQFC/KLCI, Boise, Idaho
We gave Mr. Bourne an opportunity to respond:
This letter is in response to Randy Seely's complaint that I was too hard on Boise during my recent RAP interview.
First, let me sincerely apologize if I offended Mr. Seely or anyone else from Boise by my comments. It was not my intention during the interview to slight the Treasure Valley. Nor do I think the focus of the interview was on Boise, Idaho. Unfortunately, Mr. Seely seems to have concentrated on that portion of the article rather than the general points I was trying to make, i.e., all of us in radio production deserve to get paid well for the work we do and that technology has a role to play in our future.
As to Mr. Seely's specific complaints...I regret that I didn't put more emphasis on the fact that my comments about Boise were based on my experience there more than three years ago. While I did make that clear, I should have talked more about it. At that time, there were several production people using 2 and 4-track tape machines for radio production. My tongue-in-cheek reference to guys putting their thumb on the reel-to-reel for a phase effect was, in fact, based on an actual experience I had while visiting a Southwestern Idaho radio station.
According to Mr. Seely's letter, things have improved in the Treasure Valley, at least for him. Unfortunately, most Treasure Valley production people don't work at the number one station in town as does Mr. Seely. Nor do they get paid on the billing of a "trombo" (three stations operated by one company). The smaller stations in places like Ontario, Oregon (part of the Boise trade area) and Caldwell, Idaho can't boast big Arbitron ratings, and, based on my personal experience with these stations, they are under-equipped and their staffs under-appreciated.
I guess that Mr. Seely and I have had different experiences in the Boise market. I'm glad he is doing well, but a quick call to some friends at smaller stations in the area confirmed that not everyone in that market shares his views.
Working in Minneapolis, a market with ten times the audience and ten times the pay, I have gained a different perspective about small market radio. I hope Mr. Seely doesn't hold that against me just because he's staying behind.
Scott Bourne, President
30:60 Productions, Minneapolis, MN