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Re: voice-tracking is the symptom, but it's not the disease

Dan Strassberg wrote:
>I don't believe that a jock in Tampa can produce the equivalent
>_local_ content for a station in Boston. The decision to use the Tampa jock
>to do four-hour-a-day shifts in Tampa, Boston, DC, Cincinnati, Cleveland,
>Detroit, and Buffalo _is_ a mangement decision. True, it couldn't be done if
>the automation equipment didn't exist, but it's a management decision to use
>the automation equipment in that manner. 

I'll second that.  Dunno if they still do, but a year or so ago Dale Dorman
was voicetracking AM drive on an oldies station in Orlando.  Now when he's
local, Dale is as good as they get, but he sounded like a fish out of water
in a market 1500 mi away...flat, lifeless, generic and clearly canned.
This is not a new idea, though...in the mid-ish 70s when I was living in
Seattle there was a station there (KYYX I think) that "brought back"
legendary Seattle jocks thru the magic of voicetracking.  I think they
mailed reels of themselves doing semi-generic breaks and the breaks were
assembled at the studio.  Technically it sounded OK, but it didn't sound
live, and I believe the practice was discontinued within a year.

>>Beginning in 1972, John Garabedian's little WGTR 1060 in Natick was
>voice-tracked in most dayparts--often including AM drive. Yes there were
>occasional screwups, but the sound and feel were live, and the little
>suburban daytimer with an air staff of only four or five, was able to sound
>competitive with the Boston powerhouses of the day. 

They never sounded very live to me.  The jocks always sounded oblivious to
the music when they tried a talkover, and the music/voiceover mix never
sounded right.  Either the jock's voice was buried, or it was the other
extreme where you didn't hear the intro until the jock finished talking and
the compression brought up the song at the post.  Again, sounded very
canned to me.  Gotta give John H credit for trying to make it work...I
don't think anyone had ever even attempted to make an automated station
sound live before.

then Mike Thomas wrote:
>Would I
>rather have live jocks on every airshift?  Sure.  Is it economically
feasible and
>would it allow for consistant, higher quality programming over every

Does being live 24/7 even gain you anything?  I don't think so.  Certain
dayparts beg to be live...AM drive, maybe PM drive, certainly nights on an
active-audience format (CHR, AOR, Alternative, etc).  Overnights or
non-prime weekend shifts in any but the largest markets?  No.  Mid-days?
Not really.  Nights on adult-leaning formats like AC or Classic Rock?
Again, not really.  It's been argued (again and again) that being live
gives you the flexibility in an emergency, and there's no disputing that,
but how often does a situation come along that demands it?

>There are some stations that do automate virtually every airshift.  Only
time will
>tell if these stations will be successful.

Where I work we automate every shift except for AM drive and have for over
5 years.  Our numbers are better now than when we were live.  I doubt most
of our listeners can tell the difference.