Andy @ Cumulus Headquarters with Rob Jenners & Adam Schneider

Finally I made it! I AM IN ATLANTA, the heart of the broadcasting universe, the home of Cumulus and the home of 2 of the best imaging guys for NT and Sports, I ever worked with. I am thrilled to had time to catch up with Adam, our Classic Hits Imaging Director and Rob, who oversees the ADRENALINE library. Check out this massive post, stuffed with 2 interviews, pics and secrets straight form the heart of broadcasting.

First of all I am really impressed, the new facilities in are incredible, it is a creative laboratory with 3 awesome producers.

I had the chance to talk to Adam and Rob and finally meet both guys f2f – after working alongside for so long!

Let’s start with Rob:

1. Which production system do you use  and why?

– We operate everything on Adobe Audition – mainly because it allows me a lot of flexibility and it’s a program I can run on my work and home computers. It’s nice to be able to grab a session from work and throw it open on my home PC and work on the same project from the house.

2. What are your favorite plugIns?

– Don’t really use any.

3. How do you schedule your work (priorities…..)?

– In sports, topical is king, so topical imaging has to be priority number 1. Sports is a unique imaging format, as the general “branding” promos don’t really carry water any more, it’s all about what’s happening NOW – who won, who lost, why it’s important, why our take on it matters.

4. What do you love about being the head of production @ Dickey Broadcasting?

– I love sports, so I always love the opportunity to create custom production around the teams I love and follow – it’s selfishly fun!  Plus I have the unique opportunity to work directly with some of the biggest brands in sports – the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Hawks and the Georgia Bulldogs. It’s amazing to listen to your production help shape the impression of these teams around the southeast.

5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

– Compression! But be careful, it’s a double-edged sword. Some VO works great with compression, even if it’s just a light punch to add depth – but too much can ruin a great VO. Some VO artists are already so rich that their voices don’t need it – but when a voice feels thin, or doesn’t have much low-end, a little punch of compression can really help your VO stand out.

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?

– In sports, your creativity comes from how you spin a story or a topic. Everyone in sports talk about basically the same stuff (with the exception of local teams by market) so to stand out it’s about how you have fun with that topic. I have spent years working in comedy, so I always look for the fun angle or the comedic spin on stories so keep the mood of the station light and positive. Sports tends to be a serious format, with lots of negative takes on teams/players/games – so trying to keep things fun keeps our listeners smiling.

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as producer?

– There were two people in the imaging world that I really looked up to. The first is John Frost, the pioneer of KROQ LA’s imaging dominance in the 90’s. He had a way of creating sharp, fast-paced and focused production while still including his twisted sense of humor – which I always loved. The other is Kelly Doherty, who I had the pleasure of working with at Clear Channel Miami for several years, before she went off to LA to produce Ryan Seacrest and American Top 40. Her imaging is always clean and dynamic, nothing too busy, but always very solid and full of impact.

8. Synergies etc… what is the best working in the new Cumulus imaging headquarters?

– I like having a lot of creative minds on one floor, it’s nice to be able to bounce ideas off other people when you’re stuck. Between our high-profile on-air staff (across seven stations) and all these creative producers and imagers, you’re never short of a sounding board at this place!

Here’s my interview with Adam:

1. Which production system do you use  and why?

I use Pro Tools and have been since 1997. For me, it allows me the most flexibility to do what I need to do. Since I’ve been using it for so many years, it is by far the fastest DAW for me to use. I’m currently using Pro Tools 10, which I think is the biggest jump Pro Tools has made. Clip Gain alone makes it worth the upgrade.

2. What are your favorite plugIns?

My favorite plugins are Metric Halo’s Channelstrip, Audioease’s Speakerphone 2, and various Waves plugins. The Waves plugins I use most are SuperTap 6, C4, and L3 Multimaximizer. The SuperTap is used as an Aux Send and the C4 & L3 are on my Master track.

3. How do you schedule your work (priorities…..)?

My work priorities are that I do what needs to be done first. Since the turnaround time is often same day or less, I don’t often have the luxury of taking a long time to work on any one piece of imaging. Having Jim Cutler as our station voice is a true luxury, as his turnaround time on VO is by far the best of any VO I have ever worked with – and I’ve worked with some amazing VOs. The fact that Jim has as many clients as he does and will often turn his stuff around in a matter of minutes is amazing. He once had a 4 minute turnaround. I try to give Jim as much lead time as possible, as I hate needing VO turned around so fast. But with the nature of an all news station, that isn’t always possible. The format is all about current events and if something is breaking on the news, I need to get it on the air as fast as I can.

4. What do you love about being the head of production ?

The thing that I love about being the head of production is that the station sound basically comes from my imagination. It’s very gratifying to know that the sonic image that a listener has of my station is the result of my audio branding.

5. What is the best protools or production trick anybody should know?

As technology gets better, consolidation continues, and more and more people are learning DAWs since they are so cheap, the best trick is to work FAST. Thus, I cannot stress the benefit of using keyboard shortcuts. I almost never use the drop down menus in Pro Tools.  Usually the only time I do is to select a plugin, since there currently isn’t any keyboard shortcuts for that.

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as source of creativity?

Inspiration can come from anywhere.  Working with a talented group of coworkers here at Cumulus/Atlanta, I often get inspired by the work of Andy West, Rob Jenners, and Josh Hall. I’ll also listen to new stuff that others are doing that they post on Facebook or Soundcloud. And detaching myself from work and leaving the building for an hour if I get creatively frustrated helps a lot too.

7. Who were your radio production idols, who influenced your work as producer?

I can pretty much narrow down my influences to 2 people: Jeff Berlin and John Frost. John was (and I think still is) the best writer there is. He is proof that while having the technical chops helps, your writing will always set you apart. The stuff that comes out of his brain is amazing and bizarre. I love it. Yet no matter how much John has inspired me, I cannot express how big a role Jeff Berlin has played in my career.  From teaching me all of the little nuances of Pro Tools to the theory behind why to place FX or beds in a certain place to the business of imaging and VO, Jeff has mentored me for about the last 15 years. While his talent is matched by very few, his willingness to help is the reason I try to pay it forward by taking others under my wing.

8. Synergies etc.. what is the best working in the new Cumulus imaging headquarters?

Working at Cumulus/Atlanta is an amazing place to work. While it can often times be a pressure cooker, I love it. There are so many brilliant people in this building that I can bounce ideas off of. Plus, with such a broad spectrum of formats (All News, CHR, Rock, Country, Sports, etc) there is never a shortage of creativity.

Thanks to Rob and Adam for sharing their thoughts and check out some pics from Cumulus Headquarters:

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