I got introduced to Scott Stanley, Director of Creative Services at iHeartMedia in Cincinnati, by [The Imaging House founder] K3. She recommended Scott as being one of the best out there and she was so right. My interest in this format keeps growing and the more I learn about it, the more I love it. Dive into Scott’s audio examples, learn about scheduling priorities in a crazy news cycle and and and…enter Scott!
AS: Which production system do you use and why?
SS: I use Adobe Audition. It’s a fine system and does everything I need it to do. I didn’t choose it. One day an engineer installed it in my studio and that was that. I didn’t have much say in the matter. I’ve never really been picky about equipment. As long as it does what I want it to do, I’m fine with it. I couldn’t tell you model numbers for half the stuff I use. Honestly, the most important piece of equipment I use is Microsoft Word.
AS: What are your favourite PlugIns?
SS: I don’t have any PlugIns. The various effects built into Audition work just fine for me. Since the majority of my work goes on the AM band, a lot of effects just get lost. I use a few built-in filters and EQ on my VO talent, but for the most part, I try to keep them natural sounding.
AS: How do you schedule your work?
SS: The news of the day dictates my work schedule. I’ve learned over the years that the best-laid plans can go up in smoke because of some sort of breaking news. Because of this, I try to work ahead.
I have to promote [Cincinnati] Reds Baseball, Bengals football, the sports teams of our two local universities. I try to stay two weeks ahead on game promos. I try to work ahead on weather imaging – I know winter is coming, I know summer is coming – there’s no need to wait to get going on those.
Another thing I stay on top of is obits. The worst thing in the world is to scramble for sound when someone important passes. I already have obits produced for all the living presidents, as well as the big names locally – sports/media heroes, etc.
AS: What do you love about working for News/Talk? How important is writing to you?
SS: What I enjoy most about News/Talk is the variety of topics and issues I can have fun with. Obviously, certain topics have to be treated with kid gloves; however, I do take liberties with just about everything else. Politics, weather, traffic, issues, sports…I try to present them all in an entertaining way. If I can get a laugh, I’ve done my job. When a promo is perceived as entertainment instead of a commercial – I’ve done my job.
AS: What is the best ProTools or production trick anybody should know?
SS: I don’t have any studio tricks per se…but I do think the most important thing an imaging person can do is write copy to be heard. Copy should speak to the listener the way the listener speaks. Does the average person say precipitation? No. Does anyone say they have “Automotive needs?” No.
Another thing – be honest. Nothing sets off the bullshit buzzer like “The show everyone is talking about.” If everyone was talking about it, there wouldn’t be a need to promote it. That doesn’t mean you can’t go over-the-top, as long as it’s so ridiculous the listener gets the joke, for example: “This winter storm is so bad, you may be snowbound in your home, and just may have to eat your fingers to survive.”
AS: How do you get inspired and what do you use as a source of creativity?
SS: I get inspired by the things I see every day. The fat guy who takes off his shirt to mow the lawn, the bratty kid who has a tantrum in the store, the woman at work who always gripes she doesn’t have money but gets her nails done every week. I’m also inspired by the ridiculousness of Monty Python, the imagination of Disney and the sound and feel of big epic films.
AS: Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as a producer?
SS: In high school, I listened to our local rock station WEBN. They did stuff I’d never heard on the air before. They ran fake commercials. They had bizarre contests. They even had an on-air theatre of the mind parade every April 1st. I would listen to the station just for the production elements – that’s what really entertained me. Later in life, I got to intern at WEBN and learned from the men who created those pieces, Tom Sandman and Joel Moss. I learned from them how to channel my ideas and attitude into production pieces.
AS: What has been some key advice received throughout your career?
SS: Never take yourself too seriously. Be a team player. Keep trying something new.
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