9 1/2 Questions: James Stodd

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James Stodd, now the Senior Producer at Celador Radio, is an imaging/station sound producer I have respected for some time and he has a shiny and fresh new job to talk about (see earlier in this sentence and lower in the interview)!  He was at the BBC and he loved that (as I assume anyone would), also previously at Capital FM, but we learn about the reasons for the latest change and much, MUCH more in this edition of 9 1/2 Questions.  First, let’s hear some audio!

Hey James!  Great to catch up with you in Textual Interview form!  Congrats on the new job.  Tell us the dirty details on the Company, Title, Job Duties.

The new job is Senior Producer at Celador Radio. Celador are fairly new to radio – but already are expanding quickly – with more than 10 licences across the South of the UK. The main format is The Breeze – an AC station positioned somewhere between Magic and Heart. We also have 3 Jack FM stations. I’m mainly looking after imaging and production for The Breeze network, plus additional local production duties for Jack FM South Coast, along with extra network production as and when needed.

Celador may be new to radio, but’s they have been big in TV and film – they devised the original format for “Who Want’s To be a Millionaire” and also produced the multi – Oscar winning  movie “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Alongside this new job, I’ve also joined the team at Benztown radio Networks as the Imaging Director for their Avalanche Classic Rock library – so that’s another new challenge to add in to the mix..

Your resume is SOLID and has you working for BBC radio just previous to this new job, plus Capital FM and I think the Capital Network?  What are some of your favorite career achievements?

There are so many. The job at the BBC was a step away from radio to a degree – working within BBC Creative Marketing. I was writing and producing radio promos BBC TV shows – trails which ran on various BBC stations from BBC Radio 1 to BBC Radio 4. I also managed promo campaigns for stuff such as the BBC iPlayer and Pan Industry Digital radio campaigns.

Capital FM was a dream job – particularly when I was head of station sound for 95.8 Capital FM. I was there just before Global Radio took over – and worked with some great PDs Keith Pringle (now consults  for Elvis Duran on Z100), Scott Muller (an Aussie PD who previously ran Nova in Sydney) and Paul Jackson (now over at DMG or similar in Australia). I also had the amazing experience of working with Jeff Thomas for a few months when he worked as our production consultant. Capital was a huge station (which Global are helping to get back on track) and it was a great place to work too.

You have a blog!  I read the story on you leaving the BBC.  Now that you have started in the new gig, how do you feel about leaving?  Still happy, excited, scared, filled with regret?

I’m sad to be leaving the BBC – as it’s such a great broadcaster and I was working alongside some fantastic marketeer. In fact, the  marketing manager for BBC2, Kirsty Mullan, is now leaving to go to ITV where she’ll now manage the marketing for all their entertainment brands such as XFactor, so she’ll be working with Simon Cowell amongst others – so a pretty good pedigree! But, what I was really missing  was the ability to get hands on with production. Most of the projects I worked on involved me managing the project and very little actual hands on making – and I was worried I’d start losing my production skills that I’d spent so long developing.

My blog is all about radio production, trends in UK radio plus other interesting areas of promotion. It’swww.jamesstodd.com

This new job is producing imaging on a network and other individual stations, correct me if I am wrong?  How does this compare in size and scope to previous responsibilities?

In some ways, it’s a smaller job than many I’ve had – but it’s really a case of getting back to the coal face of production. I moved out of London with my young family so that we could have a better quality of life and also a better work and life balance. It’s great to be able to be in at the start of all production decisions and to be able to influence the overall development of the sound of the stations that we own. It’s similar in many ways to the job I had managing the production output for the original Capital FM network  – and that was a great challenge.

Talk about the sheer Quantity of Imaging/Station Sound you will be doing.  How many actual elements would you be producing in a day, month?  How many Full Major Campaigns in a month, year?

It’s hard to say at the moment. I’ll be handling individual production requests from the whole Breeze network – that’s 6 or 7 stations, plus anything needed for Jack FM locally. Plus I’ll be in charge of refreshing and updating all the imaging which includes a large amount of network imaging work too. Needless to say, there will probably be too much for one person to manage fairly quickly – but they are a company that is expanding fairly quickly.. For the Avalanche library, I’ll be making around 10-12 elements a week.

Do you have a staff?  If so, how many? Or are YOU the staff?

The staff is me at the moment! There are local producers at a couple of the sixtes who will handle some ad hoc production.And stuff such as show promos and breakfast show updates are handled by the DJs and producers at local sites too

Talk about your facilities.  This is a sort of homecoming for you? Where will you be working out of and what types of toys do you or will you have? (Pro tools, logic, vegas. Mac or PC, other stuff you have to have in your studio)

It’s actually a really simple setup at the moment. I’m Pro Tools through and through, so have Protools 10 on a MacBook Pro along with Waves Gold, Filterbank EQs and the amazing Speakerphone plug in too. I’m actually working out in the office rather than in a studio – though can easily go in to the Jack FM studio to do mixes etc as needed. It is a big step to move out of a studio – but the Capital FM was the last gig where I had a dedicated room. It takes a new way of working, but with the speed of machines these days – it’s actually pretty easy to work this way – and you feel far more part of the station rather than being hidden away all day! I also tend to make some stuff on the train on the commute to and from work – it’s amazing how productive you can be these days with a macbook pro and some headphones.

Will your duties include writing?  Voice work?  Music Production?

Duties will include some writing (including some fun stuff for Jack) and almost all the production. I doubt there will be any music production to start with. And I don’t really like voicing stuff – but maybe that will change. We have a few great voices to work with. Our main FVO is Gina Melotte http://www.ginamellotte.com/ . Jack FM use an old school British Actor called Paul Darrow. And we have a great VO for fun / character stuff called Marc Silk. He does lot’s of cartoon and animation work. He’s the voice of Johnny Bravo for Cartoon Network UK and the voice of Bob The Builder in the US http://www.marcsilk.com/

Thanks and I wish you the best of luck!  BUT I get one more question so tell me…If I were to spend just ONE hour in Chichester (or insert name of city you will be working in) what is the ONE thing I should make sure I do?

I’ll be based in Southampton, but Chichester is home. If you want history – Chichester has loads including a massive Roman Palace which is just down the road from my house. Maybe pop into one of the nice countryside pubs too..!

Contact James:

Twitter: @jamesstodd

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