The technology behind voice transmission has always fascinated me, as has the transformational sociology of it. As a kid I was mesmerized by a ham radio demonstration at the Flushing Hall of Science, and I became an avid shortwave and CB radio user. Little wonder, then, that I later became a public address announcer, and still write and produce radio ads. The pieces I recorded now play out like a who’s who of obscure 80s and 90s sports and pop culture – just about perfect for the Web.
I began working in radio at Brown University’s WBRU. There was an AM version of it, which was probably wired by a network of tin cans into the dormitories, and which was heard by no one. One night my friend Mitch and I hosted a sports call-in show, and after an hour of nobody calling in, we just picked up the Student Directory and started randomly calling people and putting them live on the air.
Soon, though, I shifted to the FM side, which was and still is a legitimate commercial station. I attracted some attention there, and was offered a job as a fill-in morning drive sportscaster at WEAN-AM. A few years later, I took a similar position with WEEI-AM in Boston. And in the years since then, I have continued to write, produce and record radio promotions and commercials as part of my marketing career. Here are a few snippets worth preserving as bits and bytes.
WEEI-AM, March 1990, UConn-BU Lead:
WEEI-AM, March 1990, Celtics-Blazers Lead 1:
WEEI-AM, March 1990, Celtics-Blazers Lead 2:
WEEI-AM, March 1990, Bruins-Flyers Lead:
WEEI-AM, April 1990, live Boston Marathon Coverage:
Here are some spots that I wrote and/or produced. In some cases I also provided the voice-over. These were all part of larger media campaigns, intended to give the appearance of a great deal of marketing activity when in fact each of the companies was very small and remained “dark” for most of the year. The White House sent a lawyer after us on the first radio spot, and the accompanying newspaper ads, all of which began running the day after the election in 2004. We of course did not know who would win at the time we finished the ads, so they were written in such a way to cover all bases.
Balducci’s November 2004 White House Spot:
Balducci’s November 2004 Bowling Turkeys Spot:
Balducci’s May 2004 Jacques Torres Spot:
Balducci’s April 2005 House-Roasted Meat Spot:
Balducci’s 2005 Joe-at-the-Dock Spot:
Flexcar May 2007 Traffic Misery Spot:
Sprouts 2009 “Listen 1” Fort Collins Teaser Spot
Sprouts 2009 “Listen 2” Fort Collins Teaser Spot
Sprouts 2009 “Listen 3” Fort Collins Teaser Spot
Sprouts 2009 “Natural Foods History” Fort Collins Spot
Sprouts 2009 “Store Tour” Fort Collins Spot:
Sprouts 2010 “Welcome to Austin” New Store Spot:
Sprouts 2010 “Welcome to Austin” Street Names Spot:
Sprouts 2010 “Welcome to Austin” Accent Spot:
Sprouts 2011 “Austin Letters” Spot:
Sprouts 2011 “Austin Lights” Spot
Sprouts 2011 “Austin Names” Spot:
Sprouts 2011 “Austin Numbers” Spot
Sprouts 2011? “Prairie Dog” Colorado Spot:
Sprouts 2011? “Barnyard” Colorado Spot
Sprouts 2011 “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees” Sacramento Spot:
Sprouts 2011 “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned” Sacramento Spot:
Sprouts 2011 “How to Waste Money” Sacramento Spot:
Sprouts 2011 “Flush Your Money” Sacramento Spot:
Sprouts 2011 “What Does Good Health Sound Like?” Spot 1
Sprouts 2011 “What Does Good Health Sound Like?” Spot 2
Sprouts 2011 “What Does Good Health Sound Like?” Spot 3
Clever, over-the-top, or just outright weird. We all had to get our start somewhere, right? Working for PR agency Cone Communications in Boston, I put together a number of different radio promos. Some were “on spec” and never made air, but were just intended to show the clients how creative we could be. The American Tourister spot was my first and only chance to voice a primate, though the Terry Thomas-like character has made several appearances.
American Tourister 1986 Promo:
Bausch & Lomb 1986 Promo:
Making Mr. Right 1987 Promo:
Stride Right 1987 Promo: