Entries Tagged as 'radio'

peter’s new sports radio imaging demo

SportsRadio Peter K. O'Connell Sports Radio ImagingWHY DID I PRODUCE my new sport radio imaging demo? Well first off, mine needed updating, so there’s that.

But with the traveling I have done recently, listening to so much radio I was reminded how important the sport radio format has become to listeners like me…and you.

LISTEN TO PETER K. O’CONNELL’S SPORTS RADIO IMAGING DEMO:

There are few radio formats where radio imaging is so important. While many cities are fortunate enough to have national AND local sports radio programs in their markets, my travels tell me many more sports radio stations fill up programs only with national programs – with no local, daily sports radio hosts.

So the audio branding that sports radio imaging provides becomes vital to these radio stations because the radio imaging is the ONLY way outside of the radio station web site that listeners know who what they are listening to…the radio imaging IS the brand.

The audio brand needs to sound like knowledgeable but likeable sports-nut driven to bring all the sports news and action to listeners. As an experienced radio imaging voice talent, I am glad to provide that service to sports radio stations. Please listen to the demo and…if you’re hiring, give me a call and let’s talk.

good work(s) do NOT go unnoticed

Catholic540AM StAnn Oct2019 Peter K. O'Connell

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio broadcasting live from St. Ann Catholic Church in Clayton, NC in October 2019 (l-r) Pastor of St. Ann’s Fr. Peter Grace; Catholic 540-AM Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell and Divine Mercy Radio Chief Engineer Keith Flanary

We each have talents to share.

Hopefully, when our talents are good enough, people pay us and we make a living. I’ve been fortunate in that vein with my voiceover work since about 1982.

Maybe you believe, as I do, that when you have good fortune in life that many do not (making money, having a job etc.), we should try to give back to our communities in whatever ways we think can have the most positive impact.

I’m not taking just about our financial contributions…although those are great!

This kind of contribution is about that kind of community work where we are doing the work…whatever that means for each of us…based on the charity or organization we each support.

Wherever we exercise our extra efforts, our good works do not go unnoticed.

Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives Past Presidents 2013

Founded in 1942, the highly respected Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives gathered their active Past Presidents for this 2013 photo. 

Maybe similar to your experience, my community work started after college, as a member or sometimes chairman of a volunteer board. My community work has supported professional, civic, educational and Catholic groups who requested my help. Looking back from today to about 1987, there have been a lot of groups.

Quality not quantity is the main thing, though, and my work helped each of those groups in some way; I certainly felt good doing the work. Yet I admit, as I got older and had a family, I cut back on my charity activities…the two main reasons being time and I was just tired, complete with a kind of “been there, done that” attitude. Decades can to that to a person.

In 2016, when I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina (having lived in Buffalo, NY since birth), I realized that I needed to start over in a number of ways, including my community work.

Catholic 540 AM Divine Mercy Radio On-Air Pledge Drive Spring 2019

Live on the air during the Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Pledge Drive in Spring 2019. (l-r) Divine Mercy Radio’s Volunteer Director of Programming & Production and Pledge Drive Host Peter K. O’Connell with co-host John Dornan, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Raleigh

Having done some volunteer voiceover work for a Catholic radio station in Buffalo, I decided to see if Raleigh had a Catholic radio station. I found Divine Mercy Radio. This was 2016 and Divine Mercy Radio was broadcasting on just a pair of low-powered FM’s at the time (WSHP and WFNE). They were broadcasting programming from two national radio networks: EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Ave Maria Radio. But my new Raleigh Catholic radio friends were on a mission to grow and I was up for the ride.

They needed voiceover and radio help…no one at the station had professional radio experience. But they had heart and a can-do, no-quit spirit. I began overseeing the on-air production work for the two stations. In February of this year, when the secured the AM-540 frequency they asked if I would also volunteer to oversee this 10,000 watt radio station’s programming too. WETC-AM became Catholic 540-AM • Divine Mercy Radio and our team was off to the races!

This radio station is 100% listener supported (by its own choice). Our friends at the Diocese of Raleigh have kindly endorsed us since we started but they do not fund us. We are an independent radio apostolate.

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Raleigh North Carolina

Divine Mercy Radio Chief Engineer Keith Flanary, Board Chair Betty Rogosich and Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell during the Spring 2019 On-Air Pledge Drive

With a very dedicated group of my fellow volunteers (nobody is getting paid) the station has achieved a great deal in only 8 months. This includes successful live on-air pledge drives, on-site remotes at parishes and community events (I got to host both the drives and remotes, which is great fun) and many other events. All this with little more than duct tape and chewing gum (well, maybe a little more…but not much more).

Volunteering at the station selfishly allows me to achieve two things: participate in the greatest parts of radio without the corporate drama that can sometimes accompany such a gig (sans drama, radio is still one of the best gigs ever) and also to use my particular talents to grow a really worthy volunteer enterprise.

And as I said, our good works don’t go unnoticed.

The radio station board (I’m just a volunteer, not a board member) asked that I represent Catholic 540-AM at the 20th Annual EWTN Catholic Radio Conference in Alabama. EWTN Radio has over 375 radio network affiliates, many more established and significantly larger than Divine Mercy Radio.

In addition to insightful education and the sharing of best practices among attendees during the national conference, the EWTN Radio Network also recognizes the best work among their radio affiliates for on-air production. There are only three categories, winners take all.

Peter K. O'Connell, Volunteer, Divine Mercy Radio

Volunteer Director of Programming & Production Peter K. O’Connell accepts the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Crystal Microphone Award for Best Affiliate Top of the Hour ID for Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio

Catholic 540-AM • Divine Mercy Radio took home the Crystal Microphone for Best Affiliate Top of The Hour ID.

Think about that for just a moment.

375 EWTN U.S. Radio affiliates (many long established with very talented radio pros), only 3 possible awards to win and Divine Mercy Radio in Raleigh/Durham takes home the hardware.

We have been on the air for only EIGHT MONTHS and we snagged a very prestigious national award from the largest religious media network in the world.

We don’t do all this volunteer radio work for for awards or accolades.

But this national recognition IS encouraging, as well as humbling, for all of us.

PLAY THE AWARD WINNING TOP OF THE HOUR ID.

 

EWTN Foundress Mother Mary Angelica was famous for saying, “Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous.” I don’t know if this award is miraculous but given what has been accomplished by our team just since this past February, it feels a bit ridiculous in the best possible and most complimentary way for EVERYONE involved.

WETC_logo_Catholic_540AM_DivineMercyRadioEach and every volunteer at Divine Mercy Radio won this award because without their work in so many areas, there can be no Top of The Hour ID and no award to win…because there would be no radio station.

WE ALL won.

OUR good works didn’t go unnoticed.

Neither will yours.

interviewing the Bishop of Raleigh on the radio

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Volunteer Host and Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell and Chief Engineer Keith Flannary July 2019

Volunteer radio host and station voice Peter K. O’Connell with Chief Engineer Keith Flanary broadcasting Diocese of Raleigh Bishop Zarama’s blessing of Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio on July 9, 2019

So here’s another cool thing I got to do on the radio.

As I’ve mentioned, I volunteer at a Catholic radio station (WETC-AM) in Raleigh Durham, NC (the whole station is run by volunteers). I do their production and programming stuff – which isn’t too heavy a lift because the station carries mostly network programming and the Chief Engineer programs all the spots into the computer. I just voice and write stuff and produce it as well as producing voice work from other volunteers.

Catholic Diocese of Raleigh North CarolinaThe Executive Director of Divine Mercy Radio, Cecelia Flanary, invited the Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, the Most Reverend Luis Rafael Zarama, to come to the station and bless the studios, equipment and volunteers. Pretty cool for a Catholic radio station only on-the-air for 5 months to get a visit from the Bishop. Remember, the Catholic 540-AM radio ministry is a lay apostolate, not owned or operated by the Diocese. This was a great kindness for the Bishop to share time from his crazy-busy schedule.

Naturally when I heard about this, I opened my big mouth and said we should broadcast the event live on the radio.

So we did.

Blessing of Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio_Peter K. O'Connell Interviews Bishop Luis R. Zarama of the Diocese of Raleigh July 2019

Radio station volunteer Peter K. O’Connell interviews Bishop Luis R. Zarama of the Diocese of Raleigh as the Bishop offers his blessing on the station and volunteers of Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio, WETC Wendell Zebulon, North Carolina on July 9, 2019.

The reception began at 6:00pm with the Bishop scheduled to do his formal blessing at 6:30pm. I estimated we would be on the air for about 45 minutes if we started at 6:00 and my timing worked out about right. From the many folks attending the reception, I pulled out from the party some of the Board of Directors who have been with the station almost since the beginning…or since the beginning, to talk about the history of the station.

These were among the many folks who deserved to take a bow for their tireless efforts (which are on-going) on behalf of this station.

Then at around 6:25, Bishop Zarama arrived and I asked the station organizers to please bring him over to our broadcast spot so we could have an brief on-air chat. He was great…smart, thoughtful and very kind. Many thanks to the Bishop for sharing some time with us. His comments during the blessing were terrific and it ended up being a great broadcast (not because of me) that was part of a very special evening.

Plus there was free food, which is how most people in radio get paid anyway!

33 years between radio gigs

Before last week, the last time I hosted a live on-air radio show was 1986.

Peter K. O'Connell Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio April 2019

Voice Over Talent Peter K. O’Connell hosting the first live broadcast and first on-air pledge drive for Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio in Raleigh, NC, April 2019

I was thinking about that in 2019 on April 29th at 0 Dark Thirty in the morning as I was driving from my house to WETC-AM in Raleigh, NC to be on the radio for the next 3 days – a shift of about 12 hours each day.

Maybe I should back up a bit in the story.

About 6 years ago, when I lived in Buffalo, NY, there was a Catholic radio station network there that had asked people to help voice some of their promos. So I did that for the Stations of The Cross radio network to help them out…I’m a professional voiceover talent so, I decided, this would not be a heavy lift! 😉 Glad to help.

This was a volunteer effort because Catholic radio stations generally don’t make much money and often barely break even. They are usually completely listener supported. I hadn’t done much community service work at that time (I did all that in the decades before…and those were some heavy lifts!).

Some voice talents like to read for the blind, some like to donate their voices on spots for charities they support and I decided helping a couple of Catholic radio stations would be my volunteer work.

So 3 years ago, when the Mrs. and I were considering moving to Raleigh, NC, we were actually in RDU, looking at schools for the kids. If we found one we liked, we agreed we would move here (we did and…we did). But during that visit, I also checked to see if there was Catholic radio in the Triangle (RTP).

Turns out there was Catholic radio in Raleigh & Durham although it was a pair of low power FMs (LP); the ownership of Divine Mercy Radio, Inc., was trying to buy an area AM station but that sale hadn’t gone through at the time. When I called and volunteered my VO services to them…they were pretty happy that I called.

I have been voicing and producing promos for Divine Mercy Radio since then. Then this past February when the sale of the AM station they bought finally closed (and that closing happened pretty fast) they were suddenly on the air across Eastern and Central North Carolina. LOTS of work lay ahead for everyone volunteering.

WETC-AM RALEIGH, NC CATHOLIC 540-AM DIVINE MERCY RADIORunning a non-commercial, listener supported radio station like WETC-AM is pretty much a non-stop fundraising effort. The station can not operate without money so, without commercials, they need to fundraise. And if you’re a radio station, part of that fundraising means you need to go on-air and ask for money. If you have a 10,000 watt fundraising stick, you better wield it.

Which brings me to last week.

The station didn’t really have anybody else besides me with on-air radio experience. Or radio experience period. So when we talked about what an on-air pledge drive was going to sound like on the radio station, I was nominated…recruited…incarcerated…whatever you call it, I was hosting.

Well, I thought to myself: in for a penny, in for a pound.

That’s where I found myself, that Monday morning, sitting down in front of a microphone, one on-air switch away from broadcasting on a 10,000 watt AM radio station to 3 million people across Eastern and Central North Carolina with nothing more than a binder with some notes in it and my wits.

So really all I had was a binder.

But at 6:55 AM on Monday, April 29, 2019, I got to be the first live voice on Catholic 540-AM since the station went on the air in February (it carries network programming from EWTN, Ave Maria Radio & Relevant Radio). And it felt like only 33 seconds versus 33 years since I last hosted a radio show. Mind you, I had never hosted an on-air pledge drive…ever! My experience was with music radio and live request shows.

Peter K. O'Connell, John Dornan Catholic 540 AM Spring 2019 Pledge Drive

Voice Over Talent Peter K. O’Connell and John Dornan, Director Of Communications for the Diocese of Raleigh co-hosting the first on-air pledge drive for Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio in Raleigh, NC, April 2019

I was anxious as I went on the air that morning…but I wasn’t nervous. That surprised me a little. I wanted everything to go well yet I was in control…my pacing was a bit fast out of the gate, but I adjusted and it just flowed. The format was about 15-20 minutes of the pledge drive every hour. Sometimes I was solo and sometimes I had visitors / co-hosts. The co-hosts really made the breaks sound better than just me alone.

Three days later, it was over.

After barely 3 months on the air, in our first live broadcast ever and our first on-air pledge drive ever, Catholic 540-AM • Divine Mercy Radio raised almost $30,000. Early budget numbers had us only making $10,000.

Divine Mercy Radio Board Members Keith Flanary and Betty Rogosich with Volunteer Peter K. O'Connell during the first on-air pledge drive for Catholic 540 AM Divine Mercy Radio in Raleigh, NC, April 2019

Divine Mercy Radio Board Members Keith Flanary and Betty Rogosich with station volunteer & host Peter K. O’Connell during the first on-air pledge drive for Catholic 540 AM Divine Mercy Radio in Raleigh, NC, April 2019

While I am sharing my perspective on the event, it was in no way at all a one man show. It was, in fact, a TOTAL team effort of dedicated, loyal and kind volunteers. I was only a very small part of it.

It was an honor to get to work with such a fine group of people. I was pleased to be able to donate my services, doing something I have experience with, that helped the team succeed.

And yes, I was a little amazed that after all that time, one doesn’t forget how to radio. 🙂

doing SOMETHING is better than feeling helpless – radio edition

It was interesting to be at a Starbucks yesterday, doing some work on my computer, when word came out about the horrendous fire at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris).

People talking about it were very shaken. Like, amazingly so. Various people noted how tragic it was…then the spire fell. That shook folks. Was it a terrorist attack (seems not, as of this writing) or accident (at this time, it seems so).

It went beyond Catholicism for these folks – who in fact, in my overhearing, didn’t even bring that up – it was about the art and the history…that was more the impact on their spirit than religion. Perfectly valid perspectives on such a religious AND historic place, especially if you practice a different faith or don’t believe in any religion.

Suffice it to say, listening to conversations and reading social media, many people were sucker punched by this terrible incident and felt pretty helpless.

I felt the same way…then I realized there WAS something I could do. It wasn’t much but it WAS something.

Catholic 540-AM Divine Mercy Radio Raleigh Durham NCI have, for some time now, volunteered my voice work for a few Catholic radio stations. Most Catholic radio stations are 501(c)(3) non-profits and most are run completely by volunteers. When I lived in Buffalo, I donated voice work to The Station of The Cross Catholic Radio Network. When I moved to Raleigh, I began helping with production and programming at Catholic 540-AM • Divine Mercy Radio.

Late Monday afternoon, as this was all unfolding in Paris, I was in the parking lot of my son’s school waiting to pick him up.  There, I was struck with an idea. What if Catholic 540-AM put together just a brief prayer for Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, it’s parishioners, staff and friends. No big production, just something simple we could play on air for the next few days so listeners could, if they wanted, offer up their private prayers too while they listened.

This type of community remembrance is something radio (no matter the format) has always done exceptionally well.

OK…but then I had to figure out what we’d do.

Well, Notre Dame is French for Our Lady, referencing Mary, the Mother of God, someone incredibly important to Catholics. So the prayer needed to be the Hail Mary. Then I decided we’d need to do that prayer in French for it to be both respectful and impactful. So I called a Frenchman.

Liz de Nesnera Voiceover Talent

Bilingual female voiceover talent Liz de Nesnera

Well, actually a French Lady…and while she is French through heritage, she hails from New Jorseey. But she’s awesome and Liz de Nesnera did not hesitate when I asked her to voice the Hail Mary in French. She carries the whole piece and it worked out so nicely because of HER. She even offered to share her prayer with all the EWTN affiliates for them to create their own prayer.

LISTEN TO THE PRAYER CATHÉDRALE NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS (Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris)
PLAY HERE

It’s very simple. Heartfelt. Not fancy. But not nothing. And that’s something.

a taste of radio makes you hungry for it again

audioconnell radio production studioIn the past when I traveled, I used to bring my portable rig, build a pillow fort, hook everything up and try and make a good recording in a crap environment. For the most part, it worked out OK.

The best result was that it would sound OK. That’s pretty much it.

Folks who don’t travel alot, like I do, think it’s kinda fun to put all that stuff together. After years of doing all that, you find out it’s monotonous. From the actual fort building and jerry-rigging to getting a shot-gun microphone through airport security without TSA pooping their collective pants (reasonably so as a Sennheiser 416 mic looks very suspicious under the x-ray machine) it gets to be a pain.

Bottom line, if I don’t HAVE to bring a travel rig, I won’t.

Instead, I use recording studios in the cities I visit. You meet new people, make new contacts and generally enjoy much better recording conditions. Except for that recording session outside of Dayton, OH that got postponed because there was a drug-related murder that took place across the street just before I was set to arrive.

And by postponed I mean I cancelled it. Just to avoid the possibility of me getting eternally cancelled.

So recent on one of my trips, I was in need of a studio for a rush audition. It was inside a large radio station and being in the station’s production room was like a joyful time warp for me.

From the board to the desk to the Electro-voice RE-20 microphone (the same type I used in the 80’s when I worked in radio) it was a wonderful place to be.

People who used to work in radio (and there are tens of thousands of us) will rightly complain that we were poorly paid, over worked and undervalued. People of work in radio now may say the same thing.

But pay and some lousy bosses (and/or owners) aside, it brings most of us real broadcasters to our happy place. Playing the music, mixing the stop sets, the radio station jingles, banter, callers, on-location events – it was all so fun and yet professional. There were and are many very good people in radio. We were serious about doing a good job, being creative, working to make sponsors happy….it could be a good business to be in.

This isn’t a gauzy, romanticized remembrance for me…radio had many good parts to it.

But by the time I finished with it, the bad parts outweighed the good parts. That’s just how life goes.

I completely understand why people stay in the radio business (even for less than stellar wages) and why even a few of my VO friends have gone back into it.

Being in that radio studio for my recent recording, it was my brief happy place. And all we all want is to be happy.