Mmm that Country Twang

For our final task before we started our major projects, we had to do a series of radio themes and advertisements for a radio station with a chosen genre and demographic. Our group was assigned the “Country Twang” radio station and consisted of Ben McKinnie, Charles Taylor, Callum Ford and Terri Bellem. The hypothetical radio station specialises in country music and is aimed at the 35-70 year old demographic.

Our group had to record and compose three stingers (a 5 second one, a 10 second one and a 20 second one), a news intro, a 10 second and a 30 second commercial for the SAE Institute tailored to the station and a 30 second spooky Halloween themed one. The time lengths had to be exact, no more or less.

For planning, we listened to a few country records and took inspiration from baby boomer radio stations (like 100.1 FM). We also analysed our western demographic (which was useful in the voiceover for our 20 second stinger, namely the Christian reference).

We had to use the Audient room and it took a while for the group to adjust. Eventually with the help of our lecturer and my previous experience in the Audient room, we were able to set up the desk for recording. We used the RE20 for it’s in-your-face effect and the AKG C414 microphones. The tracks were all done in mono to make them fit an AM radio station.

As our station’s trademark sound, Callum brought in a banjo he borrowed from a friend. Doing a silly banjo riff, we incorporated in all of the stingers and our SAE advertisements. Our catchphrase for the station was “Mmm mmm that country twang!” and we came up with it in under a minute.

IMG_4350Callum playing the banjo for our recording session

Charles brought in his electric guitar and played a chilled country melody for our news intro and a brash, distorted metal riff for the beginning of our 20 second stinger. He also used some creepy guitar effects (like moving the pick up and down the guitar) for our Halloween theme.IMG_4362

Charles playing the electric guitar

Ben and I did most of the voiceovers since we could pull off some convincing Southern accents. Charles also did a voiceover for the 30 second SAE ad. In addition, Ben also did a reverbed metal scream for the opening of our 20 second stinger. I did an evil laugh which we processed with time-based effects for the Halloween theme.

imag0189Ben screaming into the microphone

As for scripting the advertisement, Charles and I realised that 35-70 year olds may not be interested in studying at SAE. So we decided to come from the angle of allowing their children to access their dream job. Although we planned the concept, the voiceover was mostly improvised but nonethless worked.

Terri helped with recording, piecing all the different audio files together, as well as setting up the Pro Tools session while Charles helped craft a rough mix for the session. We sidechain compressed all instruments to the vocals to ensure that the voiceovers were not drowned out. Here is the Pro Tools screenshot below:

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 11.53.40 AMA screenshot of our Pro Tools session

I was a bit disappointed that we had to do country themes as it was not my favourite genre (especially as there are no synthesizers in country). However, in the end I did enjoy the process as it was a good opportunity for the group to explore our creative side and work together cohesively.

I liked all of the tracks especially the Halloween one and Callum’s banjo riff was excellent. I felt we should have spent a bit more time on planning the SAE commercial as I may have said my parts a bit too fast especially for an older demographic to hear. The 10 second SAE commercial should have added a bit more than just “come study at SAE” and we should have used a different banjo riff than the one used for the stingers. We also could have added some vinyl distortion but we ran out of time. Nonetheless, I think our group did a fantastic job given our time limit.

Here are all the tracks and sounds we did below:

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