There are a lot of Imaging Directors out there imaging more than 1 station at the same time. How do they keep formats seperated, how do they make each of the stations sound unique and give them their own identity? I asked my friend Mike Santos to explain how he does it in Denver imaging Alice 1059, 99-5 The Mountain and KOSI 101.1. at the same time. Mike’s work is even as interesting as his background. He is from San Francisco, but he’s also lived in Hawaii, Palm Springs, and Jakarta / Indonesia.
Check out Mike’s audio demos and learn more about his daily strategy to be a multi-format imaging rockstar!
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you’re imaging multiple stations at the same time as part of your job. Now, when I say “job,” this doesn’t include your side projects or freelance gigs, but you’re actual Monday to Friday, 8a-5p job. In Denver, I image 3 stations in our cluster – Alice 1059 (HotAC/CHR), 995 The Mountain (AAA/Classic Rock Hybrid) and KOSI 101.1 (AC). The problem with imaging multiple stations at the same time is making sure that each station sounds unique. Since you’re only one person, your work will inherently have similar characteristics regardless of format. So how do you approach imaging multiple formats at the same time? For me, it all comes down to the little things. Here are 4 things that have helped me along the way:
1. Pay attention to the music. You want to make sure the music you use in your production has the same feel and tempo as the music on the station. The music on The Mountain is very organic – real instruments and simpler production value – so my goal is to capture the same feel with my imaging. I’m not gonna use anything techno sounding or hard driving on Mountain because it doesn’t fit. A good rule of thumb when choosing music beds is, “If it doesn’t sound like anything on your station, don’t use it.”
2. Know your audience. The verbiage and tone for one format, may not work for another. Think back to the last time you said something and your mom or dad asked you, “What does that word mean?” Dave Foxx once told me that when it comes to producing multiple stations, it’s the writing that makes it unique. When you’re writing your promos, make sure your word choice and phrasing, much like choosing your music beds, relates to the people you’re speaking to. Sometimes this can be difficult, especially if you’re out of the demographic, but the solution to this problem could be as simple as talking to your jocks or program director
3. Does your OVERALL production value match the OVERALL sound of the station? The music is always first and foremost, and your imaging is an extension of the station. This encompasses my previous two points. Does your final product – music beds, sound fx, and copy – fit with the station your producing it for? On Mountain, I keep things very simple. I use very little vocal effects (at most, a hi-pass filter and a chorus) and I use very simple sound effects (wipes, simple reverses and one-hitters). On the other hand, with Alice, I can flex my production muscle a little more because the music and demo allows me to. And finally,
4. Take a break. In my opinion, taking break can do wonders when it comes to keeping your stations sounding unique. If I spend a few hours doing Alice imaging, before I even start on Mountain, I’ll take a quick 15 minute break to refocus. Because of the tempo and production value of Alice, I’m pretty amped up afterwards and I really have to slow my brain down before I start working on Mountain otherwise, it could come out sounding hotter than I want and I wouldn’t even notice because I’m still in “Alice Mode.” The same is true if I move from Mountain to Alice, but instead of slowing the brain down, I have to turn it up. So before you start working on your second (or third) station for the day…leave the studio, take a walk, talk to a co-worker. Take the time to adjust and refocus the brain. You’ll find yourself in a better place than if you had just blown through everything.
So the next time you sit in front of your computer with your multi-station to-do list, remember, it’s the little things that make your stations sound unique. The key to being a multi-format rockstar isn’t about how cool and amazing your production is, it’s about how cool and amazing your production fits within the given format.
Mike Santos – a short summery:
Mike is the creative services director for Entercom/Denver, imaging Alice 1059, 99-5 The Mountain and KOSI 101.1…he also does freelance work for WWYZ-FM in Hartford, Connecticut
He’s done Alt Rock, Classic Rock, Country, AC/HotAC and CHR.
He got his start as the commercial production director for 95.7 The Wolf in San Francisco
If you ask him, he’ll tell you he’s from San Francisco, but he’s also lived in Hawaii, Palm Springs, and Jakarta, Indonesia
He’s a huge soccer fan and will cheer for Manchester United because of Eric Cantona and Ryan Giggs…not David Beckham.
He appreciates a good beer almost as much as he appreciates a fine whiskey
He’s been all over Asia, but has never been to Europe…btw, he hates airplanes.