Imaging In 2019 – Chris Click
Welcome to the “Imaging In 2019 Series” – a blog series that interviews inspiring producers and great creators of Station Sound.
We’ve got another SiriusXM guest on this week’s #ImagingIn2019 Series.
Chris Click manages the Imaging for multiple Channels on the SiriusXM Network including: The Highway, Y2Kountry and Roadtrip Radio.
I get to work in the same team as Chris, and I appreciate his nerdy ways of getting the right things done. Also a really funny guy! Welcome Chris
1. How did you get started in the business and tell us about your role at SiriusXM?
I was in college as a theatre major… starving artist and student at the same time, and needed a job. A fraternity brother (or 3) at a local station in Columbus GA helped me land a gig doing remote setups for the broadcasts. I stumbled into the production room one day and decided I wanted to be able to make something cool. Jeff Berlin was the first person to ever critique my work (he was waaayyyyy too kind) and at that point I had the bug and started jumping markets (even did sales at one point). Eventually meeting Bryan Apple, who was freaking awesome and helped me grow, prepare for and land a job at SXM. Here, I manage prod flow for The Beatles Channel, and my current channel roster is imaging The Highway, Y2Kountry, Roadtrip Radio, Red White & Booze, a few pop-up channels (Dave Matthews Band Radio is one that is coming up). I also voice PopRocks, ONEderland, and a few of the Billboard countdown channels.
2. What's your opinion on the current state of play with regards to Radio Imaging?
Man, I’m really out of the loop on this one. When listening to radio I’m always on some SXM channel. I do like to go to soundcloud, twitter, insta to hear what other guys are making. But really, people only post their best work so I think it all sounds great. Hmmm… that makes me think, maybe I should post some of my least favourite work for a “terrible tuesday” or something. But, so many choices for that I might have a hard time picking one
3. In 2019, what do you think is more important - creativity or technical ability (or both)
This seems like an apples/oranges question (or is it whiskey/lager?)… The capacity to be “creative” is necessary for coming up with new ideas, phrasing copy, manoeuvring around programmers, and knowing when to take risks and try new things. Its needed for a little flavour. But, without a solid technical foundation your creativity will be tied-down. Technical ability is like a spine… without it as a backbone your creativity would be a puddle of flesh sitting on the floor. I do believe, in our industry, creative endowment is frequently valued higher than technical ability, but in the end, the two are interdependent on each other. While many would disagree, I also feel that creativity can be taught just as technique can be taught. Its a matter of nourishing the right habits and behaviours.
4. What was the best tip you know now, that’d you wish you knew when starting out?
When I was younger (and even today), its tough to release work into the wild. Will our peers like it? Will they hate it… will they even notice it? Insecurity is a big reason why I’ve shied away from putting out much of my own stuff. Its also why I don’t really share tips/tricks… I’ve got a bad case of impostor syndrome I’m working through. But, its good to put it out there and ask for honest feedback. It might sting a little, but you’ll learn. Likewise its also very beneficial to critique (and help) others that are seeking opinions as well because it will make you pause and really collect your thoughts on what you like or don’t like about a piece. Its like self enlightenment or something.
Editor’s Note: I would agree with this but think collectively sharing advice like this piece is beneficial for us all. No matter the guest’s background or experience – it’s all helpful.
5. You are very well versed when it comes to formats and styles. What is your favourite format to work with?
If I had to choose a favourite, I’d say I enjoy Country imaging the majority of the time. But, I can also really dig my teeth into the rawness Hip Hop has to offer or the emotional exploration a religious based channel will allow. Also, since I’ve been at SiriusXM I’ve been really spoiled with speciality channels and pop-ups. I get a huge rush out of being on the ground at Lolla, Coachella, ACL, and other festivals and talking with subscribers and then running back to the on-site trailer to produce some in-the-moment pieces that will only air for 2 days. Then we have channels that are so niche like The Beatles Channel, or Yacht Rock, or ONEderland where we get to create something so specific to live in that little world. I mean, other services might offer the same music in a play list, but at SXM we get to build the excitement and create this little place where listeners can feel a connection beyond the music.