I have been working with digital audio production for about 10 years and have loved every second of it. I have loved radio since I was a kid growing up in LA listening to Rick Dees on Kiss FM. I knew I would like to work in the business but I, like most kids, figured you had to know someone or do naughty things to get a job like that. I did. Know someone. “Scott the Robot” at 90.5 KCSU in Fort Collins, Colorado is one of the main reasons I am doing what I am doing.
I began my career in radio at Colorado State University. There was a major flood around ’97 and the whole facility was destroyed. Along with the equipment went some of the people, leaving me a prime weekend air-shift wide-open! One day the PD came in a said “hey do you have any interest in production?” Did I!! He handed me Saw, a digital audio editor and off I went. The very first thing I ever produced was a sweeper. Here it is fave game Oooooohhhh! I know, sweet. I am one of the people that came into this business the day things were switching from reel to reel tape editing to computers. To this day I have never cut a piece of tape, used those stupid razor blades or that little tape to put it back together. For this I am thankful.
I eventually did afternoons on KCSU and took care of imaging for the station through my second Senior year and bonus semester. CSU threw that one in for full price so that was cool. I got my first professional gig as a board op at 950 The Fan in Denver. I loved working in that environment with a bunch of pros. I was quickly offered a full-time gig producing a Morning show and doing some production at a new AM station in Boulder called 1490 KWAB – Radio-For-Change. I loved it there and quickly was handed the role of imaging the station. This is when I officially decided I would like to make my living doing radio imaging. So naturally I started doing sports play-by-play and was even thrown on the air for fill-ins as a talk host. This station was sold and basically turned dark. Sad day. I felt like I was punched in the stomach when my boss, Dave Skinner, told me. We remain friends and he still remains one of the coolest people I have ever known in radio.
I moved to South Dakota to call sports full time. I had to see if it was something I really wanted to pursue. People say being on the radio is addictive like a drug and this is true. BUT…if being a jock is a drug it would be pot to Sports play-by-play’s Black Tar Heroin. Calling sports has to be one the best jobs a human can have. My main problem is that I was doing it in South Dakota. All do respect to the state but the year I spent there was about 364 days to much. The people were great but I knew I had to move on. Thankfully I had 2 job offers, one in Santa Maria CA and one in Sussex NJ/Port Jervis NY. I went east and it has been one of the best decisions I made.
I was hired at WTSX/WDLC and did Middays on an Oldies station. I happen to be a huge fan of music made between 1954 and 1971. It was awesome getting to jock a station like that. But this is where I really honed my imaging chops. I started to learn the intricacies of many formats. Why you can do some things on some formats and why those same tactics don’t work on others. In the 3 1/2 years I was there I was doing Middays on oldies, Nights and then Afternoons on a Top 40 which eventually became a VERY cool Hot-AC, Max 106.3, and some fill-in on Classic Rock 103.7 WNNJ. I was also imaging 4 stations in market and another 2 in NY. Being in a smaller market for a few years is the best thing someone can do to figure out what they want to do in this business. You get to do many things, move up quickly if you’re good and establish a very solid resume.
In early ’06 I got a call from a friend of mine at PLJ in NYC. He indicated there was a job I should think about applying for. I had no details and was told to send my stuff to a certain address. To make a long story short I was flown to Dallas, had a 4 hour interview and within weeks was offered one of the coolest jobs in all of radio imaging. Imaging Director at 96.3 KSCS Dallas/Fort Worth. The station has been a power for over 35 years and has some the biggest talents and best people on staff, all of which are the nicest you could ever meet. I have been here since April of ’06 trying to grow as a producer, constantly learn from other great producers and provide high quality production for clients all over the US and beyond.
I started Ryan On The Radio Productions in 2002. I was offered some extra cash to start imaging an extra station about 50 miles north of me, Poughkeepsie, NY, and said sure. Starting in 1997 I began to study and therefore learn the major and minor differences between radio formats. I think when producers start out they try to emulate what they think is cool no matter where they heard it originally. Then they gain some skills and start producing for themselves. Soon though you learn it doesn’t matter what you want it to sound like. The key I learned early was to figure out the audience of a particular station and meet, or hopefully, exceed their expectations. The Classic Rock listener is not going to want a station that sounds like the Soft Rock station. Men are not going to react to the same things as women. All of this is obvious but putting these emotions forth in 30 second segments using only audio is where it gets exciting. If a picture is worth a thousand words what can you do with 40 words of copy? I think you can do a lot. Before this becomes an article of theory I shall move on.
Over the past decade I have handled imaging audio production for more then 20 different formats and stations in well over 10 different states. I have also expanded the other elements of audio production. I have been producing materials for South East Asian media outlets from New Jersey to Texas. This has been exciting because it has forced me to learn a whole new culture, pronunciation of multiple languages and interesting new music formats.
I have also expanded in the world of Voice-overs. I am available for voice work, almost 24 hours a day, often with an hour turn-around. I am working with other major VO talents from LA to NY and many places in between.
I am proud to be producing spots daily for some larger companies and many small businesses. I love producing for so many different types of products and groups. I am also pleased to have my audio production find its way onto television more and more. From clients like Chrysler to Dish network to a small diner it is all very exciting.
Please drop me a line to talk about your needs or just to ask advice on what you may need for the future. Thanks for taking a read.