Imaging In 2019 – Dom Evans


Welcome to the first post in the “Imaging In 2019 Series” – We ran with it last year and I thought it would be cool to continue it and we can always archive the older posts going forward to see the change in opinions as the years go on.

Over the coming months, i’ve lined up some amazing guests to feature in the series. Watch this space for announcements!

I am delighted to have Dom Evans as the first guest in this year’s series. Dom is a really good guy and is currently the Head of Production for Fox FM in Melbourne, Australia. He also runs his own Radio Imaging Resource – “Prodcast“, which is dedicated to interviewing guests in our field. It’s an amazing free additional resource that is very beneficial to newbies and experienced producers alike.

Dom is an incredible producer and all round nice guy – Welcome D!

1. How did you get started in the business and how did you get the gig at FoxFM?

I started out a community radio station called SYN FM in 2003, The Student Youth Network. They did a presentation to my Year 8 class about waveform editing in Audacity, and I was instantly hooked. 

While I was finishing school, I volunteered for 4 years at SYN before I got my first foot in the door at Fox FM panelling nights and weekends in 2007. Growing up listening to Fox, that was the dream station, but I needed more production experience before they’d let me on the tools. I started out in production in Darwin (hot100 and Mix104.9) and Perth (92.9 Breakfast) before returning to Melbourne.

I was very fortunate to join The Today Network Imaging Team alongside the legendary Matt Nikolic and David Konsky in 2010, looking after Fox’s sister stations in Adelaide and Perth (hit107 and hit929 as they are now known).

6 years later, the opportunity came up to look after Fox, and I’m just entering my fourth year in the role now. I love it.

2. Where do you think Radio Imaging is at?

I think overall it’s rocking. Like anything, I think it’s hard to apply a blanket assessment over the entire industry. I do get the sense it’s in a healthier shape in certain markets and networks than others, but that will always be the case.

I believe radio imaging is such a powerful tool in carving out a brand and attracting an audience. It’s the DNA of your station, 24/7.

There is a lot of healthy discussion around the introduction of streaming services and on demand listening, and the potential flow on effect that could have on the terrestrial radio industry. 

Whilst it would be negligent to suggest it will have zero impact, I do believe we as a radio business can defend our product by keeping it a great offering. If we start to drop the ball and offer a really lousy, lazy listening experience, you would think the effect of streaming services would be greater.

Looking to Fox for example, in a city of 5 million, we attract a weekly cumulative audience of over 1.1 million listeners. That’s a lot of people. I’m just one in a massive team that put together The Fox product every single day. If we continue to work really hard on a fantastic product, there is a huge loyal audience there for us to maintain. And we work hard to make sure they don’t have a reason to move.

3. In 2019, what do you think is more important - creativity or technical ability (or both)

Always both, but I think it’s balance isn’t it? It’s balance and restraint. 

As radio imaging producers, we pick up a lot of skills along the way, and because we are so proud of our work, we love to showcase those skills. But I think sometimes we lose sight of the task at hand. Just because we can show off all these mad tricks, doesn’t necessarily mean that 10 second sweeper needs it.

I would say it’s important to have a broad skillset of creative and technical skills, and absolutely familiarise yourself with the plethora of incredible plugins available, but know when to use which skills.

4. What was the best tip you know now, that’d you wish you knew when starting out?

So many. But the 2 biggest that come to mind would be firstly, keep it simple. I used to try and back up every single line of copy with a vocal hook. In hindsight, it was way too much. Forced, too busy, ineffective. For a promotion now, I’m looking for a main hook or sonic in key with a great piece of music to do the heavy lifting, and possibly a secondary little hook to add colour and break up the script. From there, I will use the natural progression of the song to build something exciting, but simple. I also have my music sitting lower in the mix than I used to.

And secondly, reach out to people! It sounds so rudimentary now, and it is much easier today with the likes of SoundCloud, the Facebook groups, podcasts. It always sort of felt like I had to work it all out on my own, which of course is ridiculous. I learnt an incredible amount from Matt Nikolic and David Konsky, but I wish I’d connected with the broader imaging community sooner.

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