10 Questions with ... Eric "Hollywood" Davis
October 6, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
A 30-plus-year broadcasting vet that began at WLTH-A in Gary, In. Then to WTLC, programmed WPZZ. MD and afternoons WOWI. Continuing to WIZF, WZPL, WQMG, V-103 (Baltimore), and WCFB in Orlando. I'm also the owner/CEO of Eric Davis Voiceovers. I've had the pleasure of working with, sharing and even disagreeing with the most electrifying individuals on the planet ... because if you're in broadcasting you know, we're really a fun people to be with!!
1) So what is new with you?
Well since we last spoke, as afternoon-drive personality and Imaging Dir. for WCFB (Star 94.5) in Orlando, we've taken our brand to the next level by becoming immersed in delivering the greatest of "Today's R&B and Throwbacks" by not only dominating terrestrial radio, but generating an aggressive online presence and developing a user-friendly app where our listeners can interact with us by way of our "Open Mic" feature. Personally, I have now acquired a certificate from the US Copyright Office for my authored "America's Best Broadcasting Academy Online Workbook," which is a 15-month student curriculum for those who wish to pursue a career in radio broadcasting. This curriculum equips the student with up-to-date knowledge, through a sophisticated E-Learning platform, of how the radio broadcast industry maneuvers and operates. This extensive course outlines and defines the areas of broadcasting such as Voice and Speech, Commercial Announcing and Copywriting, On-Air Announcing, News Announcing and Writing, Sports Announcing, Radio Station Structure, Basic Engineering and Basic Management, as well as Radio Production. I'm currently in the building stage of the platform and looking for investors that would like to partner in the development in our future broadcasters.
2) I know you are still doing your production business, how did it start and what sorts of things are you doing?
I've always been fascinated with creative services. I equate it as being an artist working on a blank canvas, developing it into a creation of listening pleasure. I'd been tooling around with it forever. So when I was displaced by syndication in '07, I really dug my heels in it. There was so much to learn, so I became a full-time student of the art. I began my business, Eric Davis Voiceovers, in 2009 by constructing a 'post-production house' in my home. In 2010, became represented by 'The Polygon Group' of Burbank, CA and began voicing regional and national clients.
3) How do you stay relevant?
It's easy. By continuing to learn, keeping in touch with peers and definitely maintaining an open dialog with listeners. I recall earlier in my career, a program director mandated to the air staff "not to answer" the request line. Now after 33 years in the business, that was one of the oddest request from a manager that I'd ever heard (and I've heard a few ... LOL). The request line is the sole pipeline to whom you're broadcasting. Listeners are not able to pick up a phone and speak directly to a Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, Kem, able to express their feelings regarding an injustice in the community or acquire knowledge that may affect their livelihood. We as broadcasters should embrace every chance we can to interact with those who have allowed us to entertain, educate and empower them through their listening devices. Especially now with the rise of social media, there's really no excuse why on-air talents shouldn't be involved in the daily activities of our communities. If you're not, you're truly doing an injustice to those whom you serve.
4) Could you tell us about the mentoring programs you're involved in?
I became involved with the "Not My City - Real Talk" mentoring program for at-risk young men between the ages of 10 and 18. We meet twice a month at the Westside Community Center in Sanford, FL. We engage these young men in direct dialog regarding pitfalls and successes that we as counselors have witnessed and experienced in our daily lives at their age and even today. A few of these young men are being raised in single-parent households and are thirsting for knowledge and desire an outlet where they can express their concerns and ask questions on how to avoid being "caught up in the system." We believe in "Each One, Teach One."
5) Try not to be too much of a suck -up, but what's it like working for Michael Saunders?
Well first, I think it's work "with" instead of "for," and here's the reason: With the seasoned pros in our facility, our feedback is taken with great consideration and when your opinions are valued like Mike values ours, our respect level and desire to deliver for him goes through the roof. Mike is really a great guy. Our conversations are not always about the industry. The open-door policy and camaraderie that he instills with all the family members, I believe transcends over the airwaves. He's really going to make me step up my golf game.
6) What people have influenced your radio career?
That's such a loaded question, because out of my 30+ years, there's not enough room here to list them all.
7) In detail, how do you see your role as an air personality?
In one word, I can sum that up for you -- companion. You, as the personality, are a friend, information source and stress reliever. Since the inception of personality radio, it should always be interpreted as a one-on-one experience with the listener.
My role is to make each listener feel there's a connection between ourselves that is directly programmed to them. In this age of rapid information, I continue to research material that I know will be of interest to my core audience.
8) What frustrates you the most about radio and the music industry?
That our format (Urban and Urban AC) does not receive its due diligence. These formats have been market leaders for decades, but it seems to always have to take a back seat. From programming, sales and promotions, these two formats appear to get what I call the "President Obama" scenario ... heavily relied on, but no respect. As far as the music industry, I believe there needs to be more talent-developed artists, meaning labels stop throwing any young acts that appear to have "the look" to the masses without nurturing and evolving their gift.
9) Would you share some of the hot new technology that's out here right now and you are excited about?
Well, that's like going to KFC and asking about their secret recipe ... LOL! But one package that I'm really excited to have added to my production arsenal is the "Waves Platinum" package. Its very user-friendly and ideal for those who may not have the room for outboard gear; the plugins are phenomenal. The plugins, once downloaded, connect to your digital workstation. Platinum is an extraordinary collection of signal processing tools. From dynamics, equalization and reverb to pitch correction, spatial imaging, harmonic enhancement and more. Platinum is great for sound design, mixing, mastering and beyond. It's a very powerful production resource for any studio. It's may seem pricey, but if your serious about voiceover and audio production, this is a must have. If you'd like to hear some of my finished product using Waves, feel free to go to my website, www.ericdavisvoiceovers.com and take a listen from the demo page.
10) What thoughts would you like to share with jocks who have just gotten into this business?
Don't pigeonhole yourself into one type of format. It's about developing a general market delivery. If your currently on-air at a hip-hop-based facility, yes, have fun and relate to your audience, but make sure if you're ever displaced (and it does happen) you can parallel into another format. Learn the business, all departments, and check your ego at the door.
How do you see yourself growing in this business?
I've been fortunate enough in my career to have had the pleasure of being a broadcast instructor for different institutions. In 2013, I was granted a copyright for an online workbook that I developed, "America's Best Broadcast Academy." After I hang up my headphones, my desire is to establish a broadcast school utilizing the ELearning platform.