10 Questions: David Huth
David Huth, or Huthie to those who know him, has called MIX and SEA FM on the Sunshine Coast home for a bit. We find out where he got his break in the business, and where his current boss John Williams came into the picture all those years ago. We’ll get a peak at some of Huthie’s handywork and find out about his not so average day, along with a few tips and tricks along the way.
Q1: Huthie… where did it all begin for you?
First job out of school was “gofer” at 4IP in Brisbane. I was asked to drop off a tape to the PD (John Williams) at 4BC across the road and, to cut a long story short, John helped me get my first announcers job at 4ZR Roma.
After spending time at 4GR and 2MW I then, with a new found interest in Production, moved to 4SS as commercial producer (this is when I fell in love with the Sunshine Coast) and then to further that career headed south to 2CC/KIX. After a year in Canberra I took a big leap of faith and accepted the role as the first Music Director for NewFM (talk about a big learning curve) and then moved onto programming X107/NXFM for a few years.
I took a short break only to return with a stint in programming at 4TO/HotFM and 2WG/StarFM, however my desire to be back on the Sunshine Coast was too great so I returned in 2000. Ironically, John Williams is now my boss.
Q2: You’ve called the Sunshine Coast home now for 15 years.. working as Production Manager and Image Producer for SEA and MIX FM.. you must be doing something right?
I’d like to think I’m doing something right. I look after the Imaging/Branding of the 2 stations including 2 premium Breakfast shows and an awesome Drive show. I think an important part of the job is to really understand who your listeners are and with the two different formats, CHR and AC, that spectrum is quite large but I love jumping between the 2. Also building a good rapport with your Content Director helps.
Q3: How does an average day pan out?
No such thing as an average day, however I do put together daily Promo’s and Hooks for each of the shows. I start early to get the previous day’s Mix Drive Show Promo into the tail end of Breakfast.
Every Monday Morning we have a Program/Promotions/Production/Operations meeting to look at what’s coming up for the following week. From this I plan ahead and go searching for audio grabs/sounds/fx etc and this certainly helps get through the volume towards the end of the week. I average 30 individual audio pieces each day, ranging from Promo’s, Sweeps, Openers, Top Of Hours, skits and parodies etc.
Q4: Is it just a one man show or is there someone else working with you?
We have 2 people in Production. I look after the Imaging and Shane Luy handles the commercials. Yes it gets pretty tight when one of us is on leave but we do have a policy of …. “no-one is allowed to get sick”.
Q5: The worst ad you’ve ever produced – where you know it’s just total shite.
I’m sure there’s been plenty but none that I can remember, it’s only the good ones that count. I do remember in the early days being asked quite often to dub audio off cassette …. the hiss was awful. I do have a personal distaste for shouting/hard sell and fake multi-voiced spots, but we all have to do them from time to time.
Q6: EON are now the owners of SEA and MIX FM, they were a couple of SCA owned stations. When it comes to production elements for On-Air, is everything now produced in house?
We’re two extremely pro-active individual local radio stations so the vast majority of production is in house, however if there is a Promotion that runs in conjunction with SCA we’ll take their audio. We’ll also use pre-produced promos for the networked shows.
Q7: Survey just went by – how was it producing all the On-air tactics and elements for that?
We’re pretty stoked about the result and I’d like to think Production played a part in that.
SeaFM ran with a “Million Dollar Dig” promotion and we were very fortunate to have Howard Ritchie as THE voice. That really did lift us to a different level and I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
MixFM ran with a “Cash Vault” promotion and I used this opportunity to actually compose and play the music as well as create the post production.
Q8: Nice work… so tell us, what’s one production plugin you can’t live without?
I’ve been experimenting with subtle distortion under voiceovers, not as an effect but to add warmth, however if there’s one Plug–in I can’t do without it would be the Waves L1+Ultramaximizer. It helps get the punch happening.
Q9: Tips for someone looking to break into producing?
Get in touch with radio production guys from all over the country and stay in touch cause you never know when that opportunity will pop up. Be prepared to open your eyes, broaden your mind, use your patience and have fun. Get to know and understand the industry as a whole and not just what goes on behind the closed doors of the Production Studio.
Q10: We’ve worked out that your love affair with the Sunshine Coast started back in your 4SS days, so do you plan to retire there?
There’s a few years left in me… if the guys here let me stay – never say no to anything.