Imaging In 2019 – Rob Wills
- ImagingIn2019, Opinion, Radio Imaging
- Audiosweets, KMFM, Loaded, Rob Wills, S2Blue, Voiceover
- July 30, 2019
Welcome to the “Imaging In 2019 Series” – a blog series that interviews inspiring producers and great creators of Station Sound.
This week, we have another Radio person with endless talent. Rob Wills is a Programmer, Presenter, Composer, Imaging Producer among many other things. He runs his own Production Music Company and is heavily involved within Kent’s KMFM.
I had the pleasure of working with Rob on Audiosweets a number of years back and he’s a pleasure to work with.
Welcome Rob to “Imaging In 2019”
1. Tell us a little about how you got into Radio and what you are working on currently?
When I was 12 I helped produce a Sunday night show (I have to give a shout to my Dad here who took me every weekend and waited in the car most nights till midnight…high five to committed Dads!) whilst I was doing mobile discos as a spotty teen! From there I did my time at hospital radio, then a small local station which is where I found my love for radio imaging, music production, voicing, jocking…….Nothing exciting here I am afraid!
I am writing this as I am bouncing out the latest Loaded album ‘Loaded Promos 2’ which launches in July. Doing the mix on that currently, then I am chipping away at the new ASX Dance 3 album out in July and then a bit of script writing for a promo we are running in August on kmfm called ‘Say My Name’……it might be a long night!
2. What do you think about Imaging in 2019 - who are your mentors and what station's Imaging appeals to you?
Big question man and a tricky one. I think there are incredibly creative people out there doing amazing things, but also a lot of frustrated producers in situations I have seen where resource/time is an issue. You know the deal you got the production guy on air, scheduling music, dealing with sales, programming, cleaning the PDs car!! So for some producers/stations I can kinda see that starting to impact on the sound. I am very lucky at kmfm being Programmer that the bosses appreciate and listen to what I would like to do, and they give me the time, space and budget to experiment and evolve our sound but there needs to be more bosses like that….bosses that understand the importance of an audio identity rather than seeing it as a luxury/not important.
I am a big CHR fan always have been, from first listening to Galaxy in the UK when I was a kid (NO:1 FOR DANCE AND R&B) but today…..love Nova’s personality and creativity, NRG musical elements and flow to KIIS Aus to Capital etc. I always remember listening to Chris Thorpe’s KERRANG! work and loving it (still remember the liners) and being very jealous of Matt Lomax’s talent at Kiss UK…he had that station sounding the biggest! Super talented folk!
3. In 2019, what do you think is more important - creativity or technical ability (or both)
To stand out for me…. I think it’s both with the added emphasis on ‘writing’. Everyone talks about it but it’s true. You can EQ, Comp and Limit something that is SOOOOOO technically clever…. but if it’s just a lame ass script…. then it doesn’t matter how slick you are! Those 3 things really do need to go hand in hand for me. As time goes on, that creative part of what we do in radio is going to become more and more important as more digital disrupters/services come into the market place; the one thing that stands radio apart is our creativity and the ability to make someone smile, laugh, cry, think, remember…..so for me training and challenging yourself on both in equal measure is key.
4. What was the best tip you know now, that’d you wish you knew when starting out?
Pressing pause! Everything is so fast paced for me I have a rule that I wish I had years ago! I just press pause on life! Once I have finished a week/month/QTR etc….I take just 20mins or so and listen back. I A-B against others work, critique, open the session etc and just self-evaluate…. I know that sounds a bit weak, but it really is great to do. We craft so much audio you also tend to forget what you have even done! But taking that time out for self-reflection is super important.
5. We all love tools and plugins. What is your DAW and favourite plugins or tricks?
You mean what is my fave plugging today? LOL. So, I am a Cubase boy although I do occasionally jump on PT but not a fan. Used Cubase now since SX3 so I’m likely to change the girlfriend before this! (I joke). All the usual Waves Mercury, Izotope 8, T Racks, Output, Nexus, UAD (love the Distressor) Kontakt (just upgraded to the Collector’s Edition which took a decade to download on this internet) but I got my hands on this last week……does it count* pic? Been experimenting this week with parallel compression on fx and certain parts in promos and imaging and also learning and practising binaural for a piece that I am working on for a new book which is going on a podcast service.
6. You are juggling lots of plates - between Programming KMFM, producing Imaging, Voiceover work, Composing and running a Music Production Service and presenting Daily Drive on KMFM. How do you find the time to do all these roles. Is it tough to balance them all?
It’s tough especially to try and have some kind of life that I can then talk about on air! But I am surrounded by amazing people, my family, friends, work buds. Jon Young (Capital FM/AudioSweets) is one of my closest friends and we talk almost every other day, Lee Turner (Composer/AudioSweets) we do actually talk every day, Marc Bakos (Cleanfeed) the team at kmfm etc they all help and that’s the key. Nicola (the other half) also works in the industry so understands it but she also understands me and the way I am wired…….because it’s like this………programming, producing, voiceover, composing, the AudioSweets, Loaded etc……..none of it is work.