Recently, I had a few minutes to catch up with Andrew Jeffries, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeart Radio, on all things programming, including how processing fits into his efforts to make his many stations sound their absolute best. Without further ado, here's what the radio exec had to say.
Denny: As Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeart, you are in charge of programming for several major stations. Do you feel that the processing of each station is an integral part of your programming approach?
Andrew: All facets of our audio are important to me—from source quality through to the reception quality in the market. Quality processing is critical to the best audible experience in all environments for our consumers. Even though they will never know why a station sounds better or clearer, we do. Setting a sound design that fits your format station and target is part of your brand crafting, just like choosing the music you play or the talent you hire.
How important is loudness?
Many programmers go for overall volume. And while that’s important, for me, clarity and quality are a key concern. Utmost level density or loudness while preserving them please—every time. I need both.
You are in charge of iHeart programming in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle. Have you noticed processing differences between the markets you supervise?
Due to city situations, topography, competitive landscape, and formats, markets do vary in approach slightly, but in reality everyone wants the best end result; they just use different approach. One setting moving from market to market is not always the best answer!
"Many programmers go for overall volume. And while that’s important, for me, clarity and quality are a key concern. Utmost level density or loudness while preserving them please—every time. I need both."
What is your feeling about the growth of online streaming and especially the Internet connected car in a market like Los Angeles where listeners may be in traffic for considerable amounts of time or have a long commute?
iHeartRadio is an additional platform for you to consider our brands, just like FM is. How they listen, that’s up to the consumer, as long as they are engaged with our brands and products!
What are your views about the need to process your stream? Do you take a different approach than when processing an FM transmission?
Yes. We process it differently. The devices, quality, etc., are different and therefore deserve a different and dedicated approach. Slap an Omnia ONE (or the OmniaZ/IPStream web stream software) on your stream and smile!