Benztown’s Andreas Sannemann in conversation with Michael Brownsher, Creative Services Director, ESPN New York

Michael Brownsher, Creative Services Director at ESPN, New York.

Broadcast Dialogue contributor Andreas Sannemann is CEO of Benztown. Sannemann is a leading international audio imaging specialist, composer and Stuttgart-based entrepreneur. In 2008, he joined forces with Dave “Chachi” Denes and Oliver Klenk to form Benztown, building a network of partners in the United States, Germany, England, Australia, and New Zealand to deliver distinctive audio branding, imaging and programming to over 2,300 affiliates on six continents. Known for his unique branding style, innovative ideas and ability to recognize upcoming trends in audio imaging and music production, he’s the mastermind behind the industry-leading technology and proprietary system for Benztown’s web-based imaging solution, “Benztown Branding.”

Imaging sports leader ESPN: Meet Michael Brownsher

Mike was so kind to take the time and answer my questions and share his experience in Sports imaging and creating magic for market #1 – New York City. Check out this awesome interview and dig into the secrets of positioning the sports leader!

AS: Which production systems do you use and why?

MB: I use Pro Tools. (PT 10.3.5 to be specific). I’ve been on it since around 2001 when my small market station took the leap and bought PT. I just love it. It’s easy and powerful.

AS: What are your favorite PlugIns?

MB: I’m pretty basic with my plug-in usage. We’re a sports station, so there’s no need to get too crazy. I have a template set up (thanks to Dan Kelly at WPLJ), basically compressing all my vocal tracks with the C1 Compressor. I like a little slap-delay just for some color and the EQ3 1 band on a Hi Pass. I’ll throw the L1 +Ultramaximizer on the master. That’s pretty much it.

AS: How do you schedule your work/priorities?

MB: Because we’re a sports station, the news of the day will always dictate priorities. On top of that, we do a lot of contesting here. So it’s basically the combo of the news of the day and then contest promos and just general big sports story news/game promos. We do a bit more with the New York Jets, New York Knicks and New York Rangers as we’re broadcast partners with those teams as well. That’s a broad look at how my day/priorities break down.

AS: What do you love about doing imaging for the Sports format?

MB: What do I love about imaging ESPN? The drama of sports is great. The stories are always changing. One season the Jets might be an abysmal football team (currently), but on the off chance they’re good, everything changes – the mood, the music, what you’re writing. Essentially the ups and downs of sports franchises and how you tell those stories is really what’s interesting to me about doing Sports.

AS: What is the best Pro Tools or production trick everyone should know?

MB: I wish I could impart some wisdom here. I’m sure everyone who is reading this has better tricks than I do.

AS: How do you get inspired and what do you use as a source of creativity?

MB: A lot of times I feel like my best shit comes from listening to music. Sometimes I’ll just go through libraries and listen to music and many times I’ll get inspired if the right piece of music hits me. If the music makes me feel something…then hopefully the promo with that music might get the listener to stop and pay attention. I also get inspired from stuff I see on ESPN TV. But I’m always on the lookout for things that move me.

AS: Who were your radio production idols and who has more recently influenced your work as a producer?

MB: I started my radio career in market #145 in Springfield, Missouri. There was a guy there named Steve-O. He was a strong writer and he understood beats and production and was someone who was just really good for me to connect with early in my career. Along the way…Dan Kelly at WPLJ is an absolute stud and was so kind to me when I got to NYC. Our stations were in the same building. He taught me a ton about big time radio. Tim Thomas at ESPN Radio in Bristol has been very influential for me. He was doing really great stuff in the early years of the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN and still continues to kill it there.

AS: What has been some of the key advice you’ve followed in your career?

MB: A couple of mantras I follow are “just be likeable.” No one wants to work with an asshole. You’ll always get the benefit of the doubt if people like you. And #2 – Stand your ground. People will take advantage of you in this business if you’re talented. Know your worth and stand your ground.


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