Canadian Connection REVISITED – Meet Gary McClenaghan

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Today I am proud to introduce you to our latest addition to the the benztown Imaging Roster – Gary McClenaghan. Gary is from cold Canada and works for Bell Media in Edmonton overseeing 3 stations. His demo blew me away, big rock sound, creative and… but judge yourself.
Check my interview with Gary below, learn his tricks and check more audio and screen shots.

1. Which production system do you use  and why?

I use Audition 3.  The ‘why’ really isn’t that exciting, I use it, simply because it’s what I learned on, and I am most efficient with.  No radio station that I have worked at prior to where I am now had the use of Pro Tools…but if my boss is reading this… I am still trying to learn Pro Tools.

2. What are your favourite plug-Ins? What is the perfect VO chain?

My favorite plug-in would have to be wavs RE-Q, where I have many different slight variations on EQ’s.  The one below I call Flash Eq.  I usually Hard Limit after I apply it.  And believe it or not, I am a big fan of a simple 2K EQ that I made in Audition’s presets.  I find it to be the perfect vocal effect for the funny stop downs I use in my production.  As for chaining…I don’t know if I am the only one…but I am a destructive editor.  I apply effects directly to the VO itself.  I never went to broadcasting school for this… and I learned on my own…it was far too late for me to change my hedonistic ways.

Gary McClenaghan - REQ

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And a simple 2K High Pass Dynamic EQ. – I usually set the GAIN to 3db.  Then again, I hard limit it -3db.

Gary McClenaghan - Dynamic EQ

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3. How do you schedule your priorities between 3 stations?

Whichever promo department buys the biggest bottle of liquor.  Just kidding…….kind of.   I schedule my priorities around my voice guys for the most part.  I have worked out a schedule that early in the week I mostly write…which is great because I use my weekend show prep for that.  By weekend show prep…I mean living and doing things living people do.  The rest of the week is basically splitting up between three stations.  I like to project jump from one to the other to keep things fresh, as they all have their own distinct sound that keeps me on my toes.
As you can see below…the Bear is currently the frontrunner with their delicious award winning Bear Beer Growler.

Gary McClenaghan - Bear

4. What do you love about working on your own compared to being the head of imaging for 100.3 The Bear, TSN 1260, and CJAY 92?

I actually enjoy both. As for working on my own…I enjoy constantly being introduced to new people and new scenarios. Have I produced my best promo yet?? I highly doubt it. I wonder what it will be like…I think about that a lot. Although, being in a radio station allows you a definite advantage of being immersed with some pretty colorful characters that I can both bounce ideas off, and get ideas from. At the Bear, we have some pretty twisted meetings. They go in directions that would be disturbing to most. The first question they asked me before they hired me here was…how easily are you offended…? Every Thursday…I am reminded of my high tolerance for appalling behavior.

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

Killing music wherever you want…on beat. Find the end beat you want. Kill everything behind it, Generate silence and put a simple reverb on it. Maybe spice it up with a rise or hit. You have just learned how to never fade out any commercial or imaging piece again. Well done. It’s like writing a story…then getting lazy at the end and moving on before it’s really THE END moment. ’99 Spoiler Alert.
Can you imagine if you never found out Bruce Willis was really dead?? That would’ve been a dumb movie.

6. How do you get inspired and what do you use as a source of creativity? What does the term “Creative Imaging” mean to you?

Being…not dead. I live life. Spending time with family and friends doing what everyone does, talking about stupid things that make us laugh, and laughing about stupid things that everyone does. When I go to concerts or movies…I listen to them. Like REALLY listen to them. I live in the BG of the world. I am always listening to what ELSE is happening, which is why nine times out of ten, when my wife asks me if I’m even listening to her…truth be told…I am not. Sorry love.

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

Honestly…although there are a lot of producers I could name (they are the same as all of yours). I have found that how someone voices something and how you coach them is big in determining your sound. David Kaye and I created a real edgy dark sound on a rocker we worked on together. He also can shell out tons of characters which is always helpful! Rob Naughton is an awesome voice that I use myself to play back and forth with. He’s the straight guy…I’m the dumb guy. It creates a unique sound. Then he hulk smashes you at the end with the hard stuff. And Jamie Watson to this day would be my biggest influence. He’s an insane writer that just happens to be an insane Voice Talent. He has opened the doors to my creative closet. When I get audio back from him…after I am done laughing for about 20 minutes I am almost overwhelmed with the excitement of getting to work. It’s like being in 7/11 and picking and choosing the 5 cent candies to put in your little brown bag that you then have to wait in line and pay for, when you just want to stuff your face right there at the candy isle. Or crack. He’s like VO crack for any producer.

8. What would be your 3 key advices for a youngster?

Simplicity. Listeners don’t care how many vocal effects you use. Shit. My mom still has no idea what I do. I find the key is a clear and concise message delivered in a way that doesn’t confuse the listener with too much flash. Great writing and timing can beat out flashy chorus & delay any day in my mind.
Timing. For me, it’s everything. I didn’t spend all that time in a ridiculous outfit in a stupid band program playing a dumb trumpet for nothing. I learned to count and I use it every day to land every word in the right spot so it has a natural flow that any listener can understand without having to fully understand why they like what they are hearing and why it stands out in their mind.
EQ. Learn it. EQ can cut through the music so you don’t have to adjust and fade in your projects. It was my ‘aha’ moment. All that time dragging the little fader squares around…what a waste… I could have been spending all that time dragging the little panning squares around. Ha.

Thanks to Gary for sharing his experience and work with us!

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