Time by time I read some of the wisdom Dave Foxx shares on his blog. When entering Dave’s blog for the last time I read his post about an imaging guy from Ireland, whose station 98FM (Dublin / Ireland) has been nominated for 13 PPI awards including station Imaging. 13 PPI awards? Massive! I dont know much about the other categories, but Paul Duffy’s Imaging demo blew me away. It was creative, powerful and award winning. Enjoy 20 minutes of great Imaging!
To make a long story short : That’s how I recognized Paul’s name for the first time. Around 3 weeks later a guy from Ireland contacted us to get a trial set up for our CHR library and after he checked out the site he was emailing me – guess what, it was Paul Duffy. I grabbed the opportunity and interviewed him for you guys. Check out his favourite plugIns including screenshot, his favourite production system, his priority management, his idols and his award winning story.
1. Which production system do you use and why?
I currently use Adobe Audition 2.0(I did use 3 but my shit computer in work can’t handle it) I have used cool edit pro / audition since its start up so I am quite comfortable using it. However at the home studio, I have started the transition into pro tools as its studio standard worldwide. I do love pro tools and I can see myself using it but at present I just think I’m a little clumsy using it but I suppose this will come with time.
2. What are your favourite plugIns (including screenshots)?
I use waves and sonnox bundles also sound toys bundle on vst for Audition. On pro tools I use 8.0 so the built in Air plugs, Pitch n Time, Waves and Sonnox.I also have the focusrite d2 eq but again I’m clumsy on PT so I haven’t spent a lot of time using the plugs for Pro Tools.I use a very simple template for my daily production. We have two VOs for 98FM. We use Dave Foxx and an Irish girl called Becki Miller. Both VO`s are always filtered. Two main sounds, 1 full ish filter and 1 really harsh 1k cut filter. I have a chain for each VO which generally will go – Sonnox eq – Waves audio track-classic compressor preset – L1 ultramaximizer.I have all vo tracks bussed to a flange plug. For Mastering I use the C4 followed by the L2 or sometimes L3. I will add that these plug settings work well for me and they give me the sound I’m sorta after. I am never really happy with my main template and sometimes get frustrated by it is it just me or does everyone suffer this from time to time?. I suppose it’s just a case of playing around with our toys and seeing what we can come up with.
3. How do you schedule your work (priorities…..)?
I have a list of the daily show promos that need to be done every day and these are always at the top of my diary and I cross them off as they are done. I have a list of production elements that are updated every 2/3 weeks, depending on playlist and rotations yada yada – these would include beat mix music sweepers/Branded Intros/ specific show promos. I have an excel sheet where I can keep track of what needs to be done and when. I try to concentrate on a specific section every week. That’s all well and good in an ideal world but with the way things are these days economically the S&P dept stuff always becomes top priority and these bits are always the mundane boring non creative stuff.
4. What do you love about being the head of production @ 98FM?
Hearing something that you have put a lot of work into go out on air and being pleased with how it sounds. Putting an idea that’s in your think box on the air!
5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?
I feel the most under used waves plug is the mondomod plug. I love it. Really cool for playing around, when stuck in that template rut. Also there is a pulsing gate preset which works well as a transition bit in a promo/beat mix. Also as I am a relative newbie to pro tools I love how easy it is to map beat mix promos out on the grid and as I’m pc based, holding the alt key while adding a plug on a track adds it to all tracks. I’m a newbie, I’m sorry.
6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?
I listen to Ryan Drean`s Podcasts which I love and its how I found out about you guys (benztown). I love listening to other producers work. I Listen to it over and over again and emulate the sound or try to re-create it somewhat. I find if you watch another producer at work it really gets the creative juices going. There are youtube videos of an Aussie guy (his username is theprodguy – benztown comment : it is 3MMMs Brendan Tacey also been featured on this blog) just watching the videos makes you want to produce there and then. I try to read books on audio to increase my knowledge base. I sometimes feel as though I’m a cheater or a fake because I do not have a degree from college in audio production or sound engineering but then I have to remind myself that I do have the hunger and passion for radio and Imaging and the want to learn all the time.
7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer?
Oh crap, we`re gonna be here all day. If I’m honest I would have 4 Prod Idols, Dave Foxx, Eric Chase, Jeff Thomas and the genius that is Nick Daley .Then there are heaps more producers that I have been introduced to through the podcasts. John Frost, David Konsky,Ricky Roo, You guys(Benztown Andy and Benztown Olli) Arden Hanley in Capital London. The Pure Tonic lads from London also, they created 98FMs new jingle package and also produce fantastic imaging for Kiss 100 London. Seriously I could do this all day.
8. What would be your 3 key advices for me as a youngster?
Learn Learn Learn. Read as much as you can, listen to and study other producers work as much as you can.
Work hard. It’s a tough business, one that has literally reduced me to tears of frustration but stick with it. If you love what you do and have passion and hunger for it, you will succeed.
Be nice. It makes life a lot easier!!
Paul Duffy and 98FM – The novel
I have been with 98FM since April 08. I was brought in by my mentor, the then PD, Andy Matthews. There was a re brand happening shifting away from 98FM, dropping the FM and calling it Dublin’s 98(something to do with the digital age bullcrap)Lets cut to the chase – IT DIDNT WORK.
Fast forward 2 years later. We are sitting down searching for the right jingle package and a brand new fresh sound for – 98FM. AHHHH back to normal. We decided upon the VO god that is Dave Foxx, a local up and coming female VO talent Becky Miller and a new Jingle package from Pure Tonic. We started talking about the re- image idea in the November of 09 and it came to fruition in June of this year and it is amazing to have seen this successful re image thru from paper to airwaves. The whole reason behind the re brand and relaunch was that figures were sliding and we knew we had to give our product a swift kick in the hole (Irish term) and I’m really proud to say around the time of the re brand we went back to number 1 in Dublin. The Dublin market is quite competitive at present; the top 3 stations in Dublin are in the 11 per cent bracket so it keeps us on our toes.
In October of this year 98FM won 2 PPI radio awards, where we were nominated for 13. One of the awards we won was the Imaging award which is nice recognition from my peers of the hard work that was put in to creating a whole new station sound.Im pretty proud of this achievement as my mentor Andy has won this award 4 years in a row. (1 down 3 to go LOL)
The nuts and bolts of the station sound was simply this “we want the station to jump out of the speakers”. I mainly use upbeat punchy beds and dance tracks to make promos with. They make the promo flow and sound rich and full of energy when on the air. We do beat mix music imagers and we throw artist liners in the mix too. We also do Power Intros too. Now I know you are saying yeah big deal so what CHR radio has been doing that for years. Again it’s going back to that perception thing actually being a reality. The old 98FM was stale and was not doing any of the CHR ideas. The current 98FM is the hottest it has been in years. I don’t mean that to sound ignorant or big headed because I don’t mean it like “I’m great”, it’s a culmination of everything just gelling at the right time and everyone working WITH each other to create a great product.
Getting recognised with the imaging award back in October was really nice, a moment I am proud of as it had been a hard and pressurised re image and it just felt like such a relief to know it had been given the thumbs up. The entry itself was a montage of on air elements ranging from big station promos to in music sweeps to beat mixes to in house parody song/breakfast show jingles and I felt it showcased the image of 98FM well. It was under 10 minutes in duration. We did have a maximum of 20 but in fairness I don’t think any judge would want to listen to 20 mins of wall to wall imaging. A big thing that really helped me out this year was creating a folder called Radio Awards Imaging. If I felt I was happy with that promo, Power intro, Beat mix, Set of sweepers, I dumped them into that folder. It saved me a lot of time and gave me a more focussed process of elimination on what to put in the entry.