Guest speaker Sean Ericson of KICKS 105 FM Lufkin spoke at the National Broadcasting Society meeting on Thursday November 8 on the SFA campus in the Boynton Building. Ericson is the production director, assistant brand manager and mid-day talent for Townsquare Media/KYKS Lufkin. Ericson graduated from SFASU in 1991 and went directly into radio. Ericson has been working for KICKS radio for twenty-one years.
A full days work for Ericson is primarily working in the production room because he is on the air from 6a.m to 2p.m as the morning show and mid day co-host. Thanks to technology, the shifts at the radio station aren’t 100% of a employee’s standing in front of a microphone talking.
“My shift is probably done in twelve minutes,” Ericson said. On his shift, Ericson goes into the production room where he works all day. All breaks and contests are taken care of during this time period. Interaction for the station is now done with email and instant messaging.
The sales department at KICKS radio station turns in the production meaning the radio station doesn’t have copywriters only sales personnel. “The more a student knows about copywriting is very helpful to the personnel working at the radio station,” Ericson said.
KICKS online radio station is a little different than other online stations that viewers can listen to because KICKS radio uses a system called commercial inventory that plays commercials on terrestrial stations and on KICKS online radio station.
Double inventory is a system that allows radio stations to be sold twice. With double inventory radio stations can run two sets of commercials on any radio station at the same amount of time. This is one of the primary ways for a radio station to make money by selling commercials and advertisements, making it the number one way for radio stations to make money.
Radio stations want to entertain and inform their listeners so they use stop sets, which are groups of commercials that are played during a typical broadcast hour. Radio stations scatter stop sets throughout a typical 60-minute period. The length of a stop set depends on the radio station. Having a longer stop sets allows a listeners to enjoy longer sets of music. Delivery is the key aspect of getting a viewer’s attention.
KICKS radio station has direct influence over in house commercials, meaning the station will work on them by rewriting and improving the commercials. Ericson works at a group of five stations where there are a total of four full time employees on the staff. At four radio stations there are only one employee that is stationed at the radio full time. While at the fifth station there aren’t any full time employees only a fully automated system working the controls. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for voice talent for characters.
The station has a deal called Gap-to-Gap Voice Share, which is a form where the employee can post scripts to be viewed at the station. The other employees that work at the company can look at the script and cut a voice over to be played on the radio. It also leads to contracts where employees can voice regularly for clients in other markets. When working on voice over’s KICKS radio works hard to make scripts interesting, get the message across and clean up some of the clutter that’s given to them.
Many commercials that are sent to KICKS radio station are national commercials meaning the station has no control over them. Many of the commercial won’t even get aired.
Students who decide on getting into radio should make sure that its something that they feel will be fun and exiting to them.