Reigniting my love affair with creating radio commercials

I have the privilege of being a guest speaker at Walt Jaschek‘s radio ad production course that he teaches through the Webster University School of Communications.

During my one-hour presentation, I’ll be sharing some of my all-time favorite radio commercials that I have produced through the years. Sad to say, there are no recent spots that I’ll be sharing. It’s not that I’ve lost my skill-set for creating radio commercials that stand out, get noticed and acted upon. I simply don’t have the client list that does broadcast advertising anymore.

And that’s a shame. Radio has always been one of my favorite modes of advertising. I’ve probably written and produced more than 200 radio commercials throughout my career. I’ve had the opportunity to create memorable spots for a wide variety of clients – here’s a short list …

The Missouri Division of Tourism; St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Baseball Cardinals, Six Flags, AAA Insurance, Charter Communications, The Pasta House Company, Missouri Division of Highways Safety – I could go on and on but I won’t.

No matter what the client, service or product, I always sought to deliver their key message in some attention-getting, memorable way.

I’ve done a jingle or two. I’ve done humor. I’ve done drama. I’ve been hollered at by Peter Graves and Jack Buck – all in the pursuit of creating radio commercials that cut through, are memorable and that get the cash register or the phone to ring.

Creating great radio commercials involves the ultimate theater of the mind. Through words, sound effects, music and the talent you choose you can paint a picture in someone’s head and if you do it right, plant a seed as well that gets that person to act.

Going through the radio reel that exists on my website as well as raiding my archives made me realize just how much I miss both writing and producing radio spots. It’s a talent I have that has gone untapped for too long.

I wish there were some car dealer out there or local retailer who wants to reach a very targeted audience and knows they could be doing better with their radio efforts. Maybe there’s a new product or service that needs launching. Maybe a local golf course is tired of seeing their number of players continue to go down. Whoever, whatever, I could virtually guarantee that I could do a better job than anything they’ve ever done before.

I just need someone to pick up the phone and call me.

This operator is standing by.

It’s ADDY Week in St. Louis

Yesterday morning, while walking around the track at the Des Peres Lodge, I learned that ADDY week begins tomorrow.

If it weren’t for Walt Jaschek, I would have been completely oblivious that ADDY week is even taking place, culminating with the ADDY awards this Thursday evening.¬†Thankfully, Walt was seeking a little exercise as well and he asked if I was going to the big event on Thursday.

“Uh, what?”

So I went to the Ad Club’s website which has gotten a nice makeover since the last time I visited and looked into the upcoming events for ADDY week.¬†

Unfortunately, with most of the activities taking place during the day, I’m probably going to have to pass on the speaker forums – though I’d love to sit in on the developing social media strategies panel and still might try to make that happen.

But I do plan on being at the ADDYs on Thursday evening. I want to see the best work that’s being done in St. Louis.

I’m hoping this year print makes a rebound and that there will actually be some finalists on display. I hope the TV reel makes me jealous. I hope the radio reel does the same. I want to see fully integrated campaigns that work across the board.

I want to see the celebration of St. Louis’ creative community on display. There are a lot of good firms doing all kinds of great work and it’s fun to see that work recognized. It’s also fun to visit with people who I don’t see often enough anymore.

It amazes me how much advertising has changed since I first got into the business – back when writers worked on manual typewriters, art directors did their layouts on drawing boards, audio engineers used razor blades to cut commercials and some editors were still using movieolas, cutting and splicing scenes (that was my favorite room in the basement of Technisonic).

But the celebration is still for the same thing – the big idea. And big ideas should be celebrated.

So thanks, Walt.

I’ll see you on Thursday.






Get more business

As I continue to try and grow my own business, one thing continues to stand out: I need to always be looking to get more business.

When you’re a salaried employee, you kind of take your income for granted. You’re paid every two weeks and though it may never seem like enough, still, you’re paid every two weeks.

I am not a salaried employee anymore. I am, to paraphrase Joe Guerra, a fellow freelancer, a “hired gun”. Joe has done quite well for himself. He consistently delivers quality creative work. The St. Louis market is literally crawling with really good freelance people – writers, art directors, videographers, web designers – I never really thought all that much about all them as they struggled to find work, keep work, get new clients and hold on to existing ones until I joined their ranks.

I salute each and every freelancer who’s out there right now. I could name quite a few – Bob Cox, an excellent art director who I have teamed up with on a recent project. Kit Hieronymus, my long-time friend who’s been going the freelance route for about the past two years. Walt Jaschek who I see up at the Lodge working out and who I enjoy sharing trials and tribulations with. Jon Nail, an art director I almost hired a few years back who I’ve yet to catch up with since I’ve been out on my own. Buz Phelan, a talented art director and designer who I met with earlier in the year and we’re still looking to team up on a project some time soon. I could go on and on … because the list goes on and on.

We’re all out there trying to not just get work, but to do great work whenever and wherever we are called upon. You don’t always know where that next assignment will come from or who might call you as a result of seeing your website ( or reading a blog post and having someone say, “You know what, I’m going to call this guy. I enjoy his blog, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy working with him.”

That’s the hope at least.

Call me.

I need to get more business.