Monday, May 4, 2009

Producing the show in pieces

Saving the 70s isn't done the way you may think. Live radio shows are done in real-time, and ALWAYS include mistakes, and things that didn't go exactly according to plan. I did a live radio show every day (usually six days a week) for 24 years...1974-1998. And being a perfectionist, I almost always left the studio angry at myself over some tiny little thing that went event (commercial, song, promotional announcement, whatever) that didn't fire when it was supposed to, a segue (transition) between songs that wasn't as smooth as I'd expected, a time when I got tongue-tied, was short with a caller who irritated me (I always put tons of callers on the air live...reacting in the moment to what others say or do was always one of my strengths as a personality, so I tried to surround myself by people who would create events, or express opinions, or talk trivia, anything that I could react to.

How does this relate to "Saving the 70s"? Since the show isn't done live on a radio station, but pre-produced and then aired on many stations, I had to re-think how I worked. I decided that since pre-production was mandated, I would make "Saving the 70s" a real production an attempt at satisfying my self-critical, perfectionist side. I would make sure every "talk-up" over a song intro was perfectly timed, every segue between songs was exactly "on the beat" and made musical sense, and use other production techniques (editing, mixing, processing) I've learned through the years to make "Saving the 70s" the "perfect" show I was never able to do live. And NO I don't think it's perfect. That's why I put it in quotes. But it is more consistently "ont he money" than anything I was ever able to do live. Since perfection is something I'll never attain, I suppose that will have to do.

For the first several months of production, I did the show all in one "spurt" on a Monday morning. That is until one Monday I had so much commercial production work that there wasn't time to do it all in a I only did the first (of four) segments on Monday. Tuesday was busy too, so I did segment two on Tuesday, and segments three and four on Thursday. Know what? The show was better! I was able to take whatever creative ideas I had, sit down and put them "make them real", then walk away while my mind was still fresh. I've done the show that way ever since.

Segment one is produced on either Monday or Tuesday, segment two the following day, and segments three and four later in the week. On Thursday or Friday I apply the final "sweetening", getting the audio quality just right, evening up the levels, and making any last minute edits. Then I burn the show to a cd, and listen to it in the car over the weekend as my wife and I drive around...absorbing it as a listener would, and observing my wife's reactions. She's just what I need...brutally honest, and always ON MY SIDE!

I work two to three weeks ahead of time, so the show I'm working on this week will air in a couple of weeks. When I finish the production process, "Saving the 70s" is one long, unbroken file. On Mondays I split the show that's to be aired that week into the four component segments, save each as a losslessly compressed audio file on my computer's hard drive, then convert each to high bitrate mp3 format for upload to my website, where sations can download for airplay.

Blah, blah, blah...TOO MUCH INFORMATION, right? Isn't that what blogs are for? Feel free to ignore ALL OF THE ABOVE, and simply enjoy the memories. THAT IS, after all, what the show is for!

Hear the show here

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