AMPing CHR Radio or JAKE KAPLAN
At the end of the year I decided to go more into the interview world again and reached out to one of my best friends in the business and an absolute expert for creating significant, remarkable and for most different Imaging. There is not much people out there, who can define and create a station sound as strategically funded as Jake can.
With AMP in LA he sets a benchmark in terms of bringing in a new creative approach into the CHR format, imaging a market, where the legendary KIIS hat cemented their No 1 position over years. So, why does AMP sound as it sound, why do the CBS major market stations sound like they sound and how does Jake handle all his various duties, what are his routines? Enter Jake!
Jake how does a normal day in your life look? What are the responsibilities ? What is your routine?
Well the thing about my job is nothing is routine. The time I come in and leave is never the same, sometimes I’ll do some work from home, even sometimes I’ll spend a few hours at a coffee shop and get some ideas brewing (pun intended). I have filled in for our music director on KROQ, brainstormed ideas for our other stations in the cluster, mixed live performances, done an on-air shift, edited interviews at Weenie and Acoustic ….and have worked on brand new CBS Radio stations in all kinds of formats.
Typically my day consists of keeping our imaging fresh and creating promos. I work with our APD John Michael the closest, him and I are constantly evaluating the sound of the station. Be it freshening up new imaging, or figuring out how we are gonna execute a promotion. I try to stay ahead of the wave, and keep our imaging up to date before a listener would notice something is getting old.
Any new tricks on the Imaging front? New plugIns, tools, little helpers?
Simplicity is really the trick I have to challenge myself with. We all can make cool stuttering vo fx, play around with a cool new plug-in, use cool filters, or beat match in Serato. Our job is to promote our station and give it an identity. You have to ask yourself when you are finished making a promo or piece of production: does this make sense? Does the girl sitting on the 405 get the message I’m trying to tell them? Will this piece of imaging make them want to keeping listening to AMP?
What has changed in the media landscape in the last 12 month and how did you at AMP react on Apple Music for example?
I think all investment that Apple, Google, Amazon, ect. have made into music just shows how strong our medium is. Now is the time we need invest in our own product, give our listeners a premium listening experience. We need to analyze how people use our medium, it has changed greatly since the 90s. We need to evolve the radio listening experience, be it on the their tradition radio, online, or our media content.
How difficult was it to set up the new stations and also teach your new guys how to create the AMP / NOW sound?
Creating the sound of AMP goes beyond hiring the same voices or using the AMP logo. It’s all about creating a station that is unique to your market. In most cases our stations are new and are going against a dominant competitor. We’ll most likely be playing similar music, so the key is to give the station a sound between the songs that is unlike the completion. If the listener can tell a difference between the other station and our station, then we are doing our job.
I know you fill in for Trevor sometimes on KROQ. KROQ vs AMP – what do you like more to image?
I get asked this question a lot, and for the record I don’t have to cover for Trevor all that often…but before AMP I had a more active role at KROQ. KROQ is a part of southern California. It’s like going to Santa Monica Pier or Disneyland, and it has been for 30 years. You can’t help but respect that when you are doing a piece of production for KROQ. With AMP, it’s a clean slate…AMP is about the listeners and current music. There is no one saying this is how we’ve done things for 30 years, at AMP I’m able to try new ideas. In the summer of 2008 when I got the green light to start coming up with ideas for a new Top 40, I had a clean slate. I still have that mindset everyday at AMP.
What about Christmas Imaging? How important is this for a CHR and how do you give it the AMP twist?
I think it’s important for CHRs to have some kind of Christmas imaging on the air. Most likely you are not the Christmas station, so try to give your listeners a break. At AMP the Christmas vibe comes more in the promos and promotions rather than a bunch of holiday imaging. A ringing jingle bell can even do the trick.