by Jerry Vigil
This month’s Q It Up wraps up the responses received to last month’s question: What are your favorite production libraries for imaging production such as promos, IDs, sweepers, etc.? Tell us which libraries you are currently using, and for what type of format you are using them. Share any likes/dislikes about these libraries if you want. Tell us about other sources for imaging production elements you use, if any, other than artists’ CDs laying around the station. Do you make your own, for example? And who decides what imaging libraries to purchase?
Kevin Charles Minatrea, Production Director, Oldies 94.5/KLDE, Houston, Texas: At Oldies 94.5 KLDE, we use a combination of things. Many of our sweepers and liners, etc. are produced using “Money” and “Eclipse” from Brown Bag. We also use a few cuts from the “Production Garden” library called “Air Assault.” This one is decent but not nearly as good as the Brown Bag stuff. Brown Bag is a lease; Production Garden is a buyout. So the budget-making guys love the cheaper Production Garden product. Supposedly, that way we don’t have to keep paying for something, and next time we can eliminate it altogether from the expenses. I try not to let them think that way for long, though. I continually look for new ways to image Oldies 94.5, something that makes us sound like a contemporary station of the ‘90s that happens to play older music. I also use imaging beds and promos from Goldmine, a service of Radio Today. It is customized for Oldies stations, but sometimes the cuts are a bit too stereotypical of the format. We try to stay away from the doo-wop sound and that sort of thing and opt for the more contemporary sound.
John Pellegrini, WLS-AM, Chicago, Illinois: We’re currently using Brown Bag’s “Redline” for our imaging. What can I say…the stuff is the best, and Mike Lee is a blast to work with. Previously, at ‘KLQ, I used Joe Kelly’s AV Deli packages which contained a good share of bite as well. I tried to get it here, but another station in town was already using it. I recommend either Brown Bag or AV Deli for imaging.
The secret to good imaging music is that you want something that doesn’t sound like a commercial library. You want something that is totally different from your commercial library, so your station imaging stands out from the rest of the commercial clutter, especially if you run your promos in your stop sets, such as we do here. Also, the more diversity there is, the better for your imaging. This may fly in the face of Program Directors who only want music that matches the format, but my belief is the more diversity, the more creative ways you can image the station. The idea is that the promos should be heard and remembered, and not blend into the background.
Ryan Mill, WBZZ/WZPT, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Imaging libraries I use: Redline from Brown Bag Productions, Invasion from Premiere/AME, the Hollywood Edge Sound Effects Library, Continuous Climax (used sparingly...a bit too lazery, if that’s a word), Attitude II and Alternate Current from TA&A/Toby Arnold & Associates, and Signals & Electric from Chateau Brazil. And sitting on a shelf designated for crispy CDs is XFX and XFX 2 (which unfortunately can be heard on the Sean Caldwell-voiced station across town.) I’d complain but they might actually then find something good, use it, and near a 2 share. (Sorry, just a little bitter)
Problems: One problem with image production parts is that they seem to walk out of my studio and into commercial production studios—little buggers must have feet or something. Next thing I know, Pablo’s Tire Hut and Italian Bistro has one of my imaging beds under its “Daily Wheel Rotation Special,” which then effectively kills that cut from my arsenal.
Decision Makers: I will shop around and demo many different libraries in order to pick out exactly what I want. It may be 6-8 months before anything worth fighting for is sent to me. But when I do find something that I really like, I pass the word to my OM, Keith Clark. He is an old prod man and knows how hard it is to find something really good. So, when I finally come to him, he knows it cooks. He then goes into some private room with our GM and a copy of the budget. After a lot of screaming and large booming sounds (normally not sound FX) I either get the yea or nay.
Make FX: I make a lot of everyday FX in our station’s garage. With a portable DAT or MiniDisc and a mike, I’ll bang stuff around for awhile till I hear what I need.
Lee Edwards, WMXS/WLWI/WYSA, Montgomery, Alabama: Brown Bag all the way. We have four stations under the same roof, and it seems to work for all four. It’s clean, crisp, and polished, with a wide enough variety to fit all of our formats. From Hot A/C to Country, Sports Talk to Nostalgia, it does the trick and sounds great.
Laurent Eveno, Bel Air Productions, Paris, France: We use about 10 various 1-CD libraries for the production of our sweepers. They are as assorted as the voice talents we use. PowerPlay, Digitizers, Synthefex, Lazer Plus, and others. I don’t have them right here and can’t remember names of houses. We have noticed that in Europe, “bells and whistles” libraries are pretty expensive. Companies like Network Music have reps in the UK and Holland, but these guys tend to overprice such libraries, so very few are used in Europe.
Corey Dissin, Production Director, Paul Turner Productions, Frazer, Pennsylvania: For the producer imaging for more than one market (such as we do), just about anything from Chateau Brazil works. We’ve used X-Rules 2.0 before, and we are currently using SpeedTracks, Son of Speedtracks, and CH-X. The good thing about Chateau Brazil is that a lot of their FX are format interchangeable.
The stuff from Jeff Thomas (Killer Hertz) is pretty powerful too, but because it’s only one CD, it became toast in our studios real quick. By the way, if you’re reading this Jeff, call me immediately when you are ready to release your first multi-CD set.
My producers and I still find the best work-parts come from ASCAP/BMI stuff. Obscure industrial bands are the best bet. If you dig through them long enough, their CDs are filled with all types of mechanical crunches, zaps, and micro-beds that can be used for all types of imaging stuff.
Steve Taylor, Production Director, WJXB/WIMZ/WNFZ, Knoxville, Tennessee: In regards to imaging libraries and materials for promos, liners, and the like, we’ve been unrelentingly using the new “Tech X” library from Techsonics and FirstCom. In my experience, when it comes to more “punched” drops and accentuators, the ‘Tech X” is hard to beat. Currently, it is used on our Alternative station (WNFZ) and the Classic Rock (WIMZ-FM). I also find that the elements from it mesh and mix under and around heavier voices quite nicely. We use Chris Corley, for instance. We start with the voice and tweak a little here and there, maybe do some filtering, then apply the ‘Tech X” elements and go to mix. With Chris, it’s a great-sounding collage of sound. However, I find again and again that through extensive use of the library, as with most, I sometimes run out of sounds. Then it becomes the old Creative Director’s “trick” of making those sounds “sound” different. Vari-speed on some, with the audio reversed is the quick and dirty way. But, this makes for a little more time spent on actually producing, which won’t keep the PD happy. That’s why we got hold of some standards that weren’t terribly burnt in the market, those being Network’s “Shockwave” and “Brainstorm.” We also have “Spike & Glide” from the Network folks. When you put all five libraries together, it’s a rather extensive bastion of sound. Still, I sometimes long for an old Moog synth with variable EVERYTHING just to create some of the noise I sometimes hear in my head.
Mike Carta, Mike Carta Productions, Knoxville, Tennessee: I use Chateau Brazil’s Speed Tracks and Son of Speed Tracks, Spectrum, Industrial Nation, and EFest for Rock and Alternative sweepers. Believe it or not, some of the elements from Speed tracks I and II work perfect for Hot Country, Hot AC, and CHR. Network Music’s ShockWave, BrainStorm, Spike & Glide, all of GMI’s latest disks, the old PowerPlay P1 and P2 element CDs, and lots of sampled bits for any and all projects. Don’t have a very favorite library right now, although I must say the stuff from Joe Kelly is what I find myself using the most. Will probably contract with someone to produce some custom effects for me soon.
Dennis Coleman, Production Director, ARS/CBS, Austin, Texas: As far as imaging goes, we’re using all of Joe Kelly’s AV Deli/Chateau Brazil stuff that we can get. (At least as far as what’s appropriate for our stations.) With all the merger madness here in town, we’ve been kind of locked out by one or two of the other station groups for some stuff that we wanted. We also use some stuff from Audio ClipArt when we need it.
Kathy Morgan, KOSP/KKLH, Springfield, Missouri: Our production libraries are kind of an audio gumbo—a little of this, a little of that. We have the old TM Century Trendsetter and Digital Director libraries that have some imaging element disks (PowerParts) among them. I’ll grab the occasional drone or stinger from them sometimes. We also use pieces from Network’s Shockwave and Brainstorm. For KOSP (Oldies), we subscribe to Goldmine from Radio Today, a package that’s sent to us every two weeks with all sorts of elements from zaps to music beds, artist clips to collages. It’s very easy to use; their cue sheet is handy; and if I’m in a time pinch for a liner or promo, I can just drop our own voice right in, and it’s ready to go. Another thing I really like is that it fits with our presentation perfectly. Many of the other oldies-targeted packages I’ve come across are too nostalgia-heavy. KKLH is Classic Hits with more of a rock base. We also use the ABC Radio Rock F/X Box for them.
Still more odds n’ ends (for both stations): Radio Potato’s Whooshes & Zaps, Hollywood Edge’s Jurassic Dinosaurs and Other Creatures and Electronic Sci-Fi (disk 20 of the Premiere Edition) sounds FX CDs, and a few other things picked up along the way. We also have a Kurzweil K2000 keyboard/sampler in the studio. It’s already programmed with great sounds, and we get others through the Kurzweil Owners Group, so we can create just what we want. We get some good drops from the network feeds and surfing the ‘net, in addition to Goldmine.
Page Miller handles the imaging for KKLH. She and I keep track of which cuts are used on which stations so that there’s enough of a difference between the two. And like everyone else, we’d love to have more to choose from. There’s a wish list of libraries on my desk. As far as who makes the buying decisions, Page and I listen to the demos and evaluate. I’ll make the recommendations, and the final decision ultimately comes from management based on how well the production budget’s been met.