10 Questions with ... Dylan Paul
August 16, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Nights at WFFY/Destin-Fort Walton Beach, WHBQ/Memphis and KHTT/Tulsa.
- News Anchor at WVNN/Huntsville.
- Fred Thompson Show Producer, Westwood One - Washington, DC.
- Creative Services Director, WLUM/Milwaukee and Clear Channel/St. Louis.
- Producer/Writer, Premiere Radio - Chasecuts
1. Brag on Chase Cuts ... what are you guys doing that's special and different?
I think we've managed to stay entertaining and compelling in the PPM world. We're more than just plug 'n play and bullet points. We're still producing out-of-the-box stuff, just in quicker PPM doses.
2. What trends are you seeing in Top 40 imaging?
There's less and less of it ... and fewer places to get inspired now for sure. Once-unique stations have now been shaped by the giant cookie-cutter. There were stations that a young guy starting out in a smaller market could have listened to online a few years ago and gotten chills. Now he listens and thinks, "This sounds like my station! We even have the same air staff!"
3. Who are some of the players who are leading the way with cutting edge production? Run down some stations and programmers who you think are really doing cool stuff on the air.
I really like what Y100 in Miami and XL in Orlando do. It's very writing, concept and artist-driven. They would both be great places to look for inspiration if you're still rocking it old school or scared of imaging in a PPM world. They pull it off. I also like Tommy Oz's work on Premiere Radio's After Midnite with Blair Garner, which is a syndicated Country show.
4. Do you miss being on-air as a jock?
Sometimes I hear a new song that I think would be cool to talk over, but I don't miss it. I'm able to be more creative through imaging.
5. Who would you say are your mentors in the biz?
The boss man, Eric Chase, really inspires me. I grew up playing in bands like him, and we both kind of fell into this radio thing. I really relate to him, and will never forget the first time I heard his work. I had been in radio for a small bit, and just moved to Florida to launch a new Top 40. Brian Holmes and I were living in a hotel at the time, and one night he pulled up some of Eric's stuff on his computer. I was just like "YES! YES!" ... and have never been the same since.
I'm also a big John Frost fan. He's just not right. Nick Daley and Steve Sykes also make me sick. They're both top-notch, and have been very good to me.
6. Who are some of your favorite on-air personalities?
I still listen to Rick & Bubba regularly on my phone. They're a syndicated morning show out of my hometown in Birmingham, AL. I've been listening to those guys since I was in kindergarten. They claim to be programmers' and radio consultants' worst nightmare. It's true and it works. It's just real. You could listen to them for two days and feel like you know them. It's hard to stomach the run-of-the-mill prep service rip-'n'-read morning shows after being raised on that.
As for Top 40, Brian Holmes at WSNX in Grand Rapids is a dinosaur. I've personally witnessed him destroy two markets. In an era where a jock break has seemed to basically become a Facebook status (Here's a headline, but you'll have to go to my blog for the pay off), he's a real breath of fresh air.
Everywhere I went on-air, I felt like I took a little Coyote J. Calhoun with me. He's a shock jock legend, and basically just a nut in Birmingham that I grew up listening to. In recent years, I've met and had drinks with him. Wow, they don't make 'em like that anymore!
7. Let's say you're training somebody new, who wants to get into production and imaging. What's the first piece of advice that you give them?
I always tell people that with great writing or a cool concept, there's no need for a lot of noise and cliche production stuff. However, it's usually the noise and cliche production stuff that get the younger guys into it. You can be way more effective with words though.
I also preach sound quality. We're in an era where everybody and their mom have a cracked Waves plug-in bundle. Consequently, most stations' imaging sounds like a giant nasty L1 Limiter plug-in. It's uncalled for. Be clean!
8. Where do you come up with the inspiration and ideas that allow you to create new sounds and concepts?
When it comes to current events, Facebook is a real good indicator. If you log on and see a million status updates about one thing, make a piece around it!
I also get inspired a lot by TV commercials. Companies pay agencies millions of dollars for these ad campaigns, and they're brilliant. You can take a lot from them as far as wording, layout and timing. Who wants to watch a commercial that's just bullet points? I think the same can be said for a radio promo.
9. What is your favorite part of the job?
I love the freedom. Eric just cuts me lose, and understands that creative types are best when left alone. I've been in situations where everybody thought they were God's gift to writing and it seemed like the entire building was throwing in a line. By the end, I was producing a cluster you know what. We had too many cooks in the kitchen. Waking up and walking into my studio with a clear head, and not an e-mail from a jock that got bored and wrote 50 horrible sweepers for his show, or a corporate contest promo for a cruise where it's mandated you can't use any water sounds or island music - that's great.
10. What is the most challenging part of the job?
It has to be keeping the bar at the height Chasecuts is held at daily. We take a lot of long brainstorming showers, guzzle coffee, and relentlessly tweak audio to give you the best. That's just a Monday.
What's the best sweeper you've ever heard?
One that has stuck with me for years is a simple quickie they used to air on the Alternative station in Birmingham when I was in high school. It was just a guy coughing for a few seconds and screaming "The X!" It was nothing, but was it? I can't recall one sweeper with a laser and big voice guy, but that ... I remember.