Category Archives: Commercials

When you are in charge of yourself.

The employer/employee relationship. One built on trust and mutual respect. An acknowledgment of the hierarchy of the corporation…where one person is in charge of the other. Almost in a parental role. Some employers would say EXACTLY like a parental role.

In my limited experience in life, conversations with colleges in my industry (radio broadcasting) and others, the sentiment is usually the same with managers/employers.  When you take on an employee, you take on another responsibility.  And well you should.  They have taken a semi-oath to be faithful to you and your company for a significant part of their lives.   Everything they do within the 8 hours a day you pay them for is for you.

But it’s not just managing employees workload you need to deal with, as employees have issues on TOP of your regular duties.  Sure you are in charge of answering questions, handing out work orders, quality control AND answering to your bosses.  But what if Susan needs the day off to get her kids?  Fine, you will get John to cover.  But John already has a big workload that needs to be finished this afternoon.  Call in Steve, he never lets you down!  Except today, because he is late.   So, as it always does in a position of ‘power’, it all comes down to you.  YOU are the one in charge so YOU are the one held responsible.

For Overnight Radio Inc., the employer/employee relationship is something of yesteryear (at least in radio production).  We use a different model.  Since we are literally a group of people radio stations hire out to handle their daily production needs, we couldn’t possibly follow the employee/employer model with our clients…the paperwork alone would render us unusable.  We use the more independent system of ‘colleague teams’ or ‘group work for hire’.

With this scenario, not only do we fill a need for stations looking to outsource their production to a solid team of producers/voice over artists, but we come with an added bonus of a client NOT needing to fill out any forms, NOT trying to cover employee days off, and NOT needing to give any personal attention to anything other than the business at hand.

Barbecue with this model, everyone works for themselves.  Meaning, as an ‘colleague’ there is NO ONE ELSE that can solve your problem but you.  If you can’t make it in, you don’t get paid.  Also meaning, no one has added pressure of finding someone to fill in for you, to help you with whatever issues you have.  These are yours and yours alone to deal with.

For example, say one of our voice over artists is down with the flu.  You wouldn’t even notice, as it’s up to us (as one of your colleagues) to pass it on to a similar sounding voice which we have procured a long time ago…along with a back up for that one and the next one too.

As well as if someone has scheduling issues because of something unforeseen, once again, that is none of your concern…your production will STILL be delivered.

All you have to concentrate on is handing out the workload.

We are built as a group of real people here at our studio’s in the forest city, as well as a network of colleagues, and everyone is in charge of themselves.

What we have found in our almost 20 years of existence, is that firstly, it makes everyone more responsible for their own ‘product’ (their work) and secondly, it makes them much more proud to do it.

For us, it’s a win-win…and for our clients, it’s a win-win-win.

People working together without the constraints of a class or hierarchy system.  It’s something that works, AND works independently of supervision.

Correcting Miss Takes

I can tell you that mistakes are a part of my life…and unless i am mistaken, a part of everyone’s life.

You can take all the precautions you like, but it’s like trying to stay dry in a rainstorm…you might be pretty dry, but some part of you will be wet.

It’s not all bad though…really, what it is, is harm reduction.   The theory that life can’t exist without some sort of harm (you can’t even eat without destroying a life form, be it plant or animal)…but it’s up to each us to reduce it as much as possible.

The same theory applies to work.  Be it farming, air travel, or municipal politics.  We will all make mistakes…but the best of us have found a way to minimize it, preferably before someone else sees, and if they do see, a way to clean it up immediately.

In the radio broadcast industry (creative section), since it relies on a lot of opinion, there are more instances than normal, simply because some differences of opinion are mislabeled as mistakes.  But there certainly are mistakes.   And it can be exacerbated by the fact that a lot of us work in isolation  due to the internet allowing us to work together, yet alone.

In the latter case, working alone brings the point of keeping an eye on one’s mistakes to a sharp focus.   Working in groups always has the comfort of someone else watching your back…even if it’s for personal gain to be in the right: ‘hey dude, you said that totally wrong” as opposed to actually looking out for you.  Regardless, the outcome is the same…less mistakes are let out of that production studio.  But working alone, means you need to create a habit…a habit that forces you to go over once more what you have  gone over so many times already while in the process of creating it.

I know when it comes to radio commercial production with me, if i am alone in the studio (and even when there is a team in here), i create ways to double check everything WHILE doing something else, so the double checking doesn’t drive one insane (after producing 100 spots).   Case in point, this morning when i produced a spot,  after rendering to an mp3 for delivery, i listen WHILE i put together the next template for the next commercial.  This is my first draft listen.   It can’t find small mistakes, but it CAN find big mistakes…such as a part being slid out of place accidentally, or something of the like.

Once that is done and the next template is up, it’s time for the second listen-through.  This time I have the script up in front of me, while the spot is uploading to the clients FTP.   I can read along with the commercial playing WHILE it’s uploading.

With these processes, no time or very little time is wasted.  And if mistakes are found, i can stop the upload and fix it.  No harm done…the spot is fixed before anyone heard it.

The third and last read through is not about the production  itself, but the clients notes and instructions.  All read BEFORE i started the production, BUT once again AFTER it’s done in case something was forgotten or missed.  This is an extra step some might not feel the need for, but i have learned to always trust my mind, but not my memory…so for me, it’s well worth the extra 5 seconds to scan the instructions.

These are but a couple of the many ways i personally check and re-check my work before it heads to the client.  There are others of course, when it comes to creating an email, billing procedures/invoicing, creating work orders for our own team etc…but explaining them all might be moot, since my solutions may not work for someone else.

The point is, if you find yourself creating, and NOT checking your work for mistakes, you are making a big mistake.

Overnight Radio’s team prides itself on catching mistakes before they ever leave our production studios.  And when they do slip out, we do our very best to clean them up immediately…something i have been told by account executives that is appreciated by the sales rep out on the road, waiting for something to be corrected.

We ALL make mistakes, so for you to assume you don’t, well i don’t have to tell you twice, that THAT is a mistake.

No one should judge you on the errors you make…only on how you fix them.

London, Ontario, Canada | 519.660.0742 |