Finland, the land of polar bears, wodka, ice and snow :)…and excellent radio imaging.
This year’s 24th “Radio and Production Awards” were announced at the end of march and as always a lot of talented people took the challenge and participated. I am very happy to share an interview with one of the contestants and 2nd Runner Up for Large Market Promo : Heikki Wichman from Finland. Heikki is a great guy who has been doing radio imaging for commercial radio in Finland since 1997. He has been working for many stations like U103, Sävelradio, Radio Nova, Nostalgia and NRJ. For the work below on the “Energy Extravadance Show” in 2013, he earned the 2nd runner-up in the category “Large Market Promo” on this year’s “Radio and Production Awards” and I am thrilled he took some time to answer my questions.
1. Which production system do you use and why?
I’ve been using Steinberg’s WaveLab for 9 years. Workflow is really fast and GUI is simple enough, meaning no useless buttons etc. It has all the features I need for my basic production and if I want to make some special sound editing and twisting then I might use some other programs I have. I tried Protools for a while, but workflow was too slow for me and the productions I mostly do.
2. What are your favourite PlugIns ? What is the perfect VO chain?
I use Waves plugins. I don’t like to completely twist the VO’s so that listener can’t hear what the VO’s are saying. My normal VO chains is EQ, limiter, reverb, delay and limiter again. Depends on what I’m doing. When I record VO’s I’m using a Rode NTV microphone and a SPL Channel One preamp, so the signal is “pre-processed” and doesn’t need much processing. As a result of that my workflow is quite quick, no unnecessary tweaking of EQ etc.
3. How do you schedule your work and your priorities?
I’m producing audio for 2 radio stations alone, NRJ and NOSTALGIA, so my days are quite busy. I update my to-do list in the morning and do prioritising. In most cases all “nice to do”, non-commercial stuff is left as last.
4. What is the best Protools or production trick anybody should know?
Hmm…. that’s a tough question. I think that a good trick or advice is to keep your production simple. Meaning, no pointless tweaking of sound and keeping in mind what and who your audience is.
5. How do you get inspired and what do you use as a source of creativity? What does the term “creative Imaging” mean to you?
I wish I had time to be creative…well… I don’t have any specific source, I guess I get inspired by daily life. And on my time off I try to do something totally different. I love to be out in the ocean with a boat. I really enjoy the time when I can’t think of anything work related.
6. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer?
I’ve learnt a lot by doing and experiencing things. I started “audio production” when I was 13 years old. In a way, I earned a lot of experience the time I was at school and when I was involved with all kinds of events we had like concerts, plays and so on. I was responsible of the audio mixing back then and of other stuff on those events. If I have to name one guy it’s DJ Kaippa, Kari Kaivola. He’s one of the pioneers in radio production in Finland. I got to work with him for a couple of years!
7. What would be your 3 key advises for a youngster?
1. Keep your production simple! Don’t try to make too much tricks, keep the listener in mind!
2. Do things quickly, don’t get stuck in some EQ tweaking for too long time. Do your job, don’t be an “artist” if you know what I mean…
3. Organize your projects so that any other sound producer can work with your projects. Meaning: Clean unnecessary files etc.
Thank you very much Heikki for sharing your thoughts and good luck for the future!