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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER October 2, 2017 by L. Swift and Jeff McQ


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From Maryland to LA and back: RC grad Scott Wimbrow
takes his production skills back home!

  
Recording Connection graduate Scott A. Wimbrow has worked with the likes of Dej Loaf, Yung Gleesh, Johnny Cinco, PnB Meen, JoseGuapo and Fat Trel and others. He’s also just dropped a mixtape with rap artist Chuck and has got a follow-up project in the works. And then there’s the mixtape with hip hop’s MarqFre$ko, slated for release in coming months. So how did it all start for the busy engineer/producer? In a recent interview, Scott gives us the scoop on what led him into DJing and ultimately, a career in audio engineering and producing. Turns out, it all started back at a school dance in small-town Maryland…   “I was just like, ‘Man, I don’t know about this music. I think I want to try it, though,’” he says. “There was something there that I liked, but I didn’t know what it was, and I remember I didn’t like what the DJ was playing. So I was decided, ‘I’m going to do something with this. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I’m going to do something.’ So the following year, eighth grade, I had sold all my videogames and everything that I could find to sell, and bought some old Numark turntables from a buddy of mine…I got some old records and just started playing around with it.”   Before long, Scott was booking his own gigs as a DJ focused on rap and hip hop, and also began honing in on recording other artists and creating his own material. “I was busy every single weekend all the way through 12th grade…the 10th grade through 12th grade,” he says. “I didn’t go to my high school prom or homecoming because I was DJ’ing for them… I was just recording local artists and stuff. I had Pro Tools and a microphone, a little audio interface and stuff. I wasn’t making too much money off it, but I was paying the bills.”   After high school, he moved to Salisbury, Maryland to tap into the hip-hop scene there, but soon he felt like he had hit a barrier. “I kind of felt like I had done everything I could possibly do in the small area that I was in,” he says. “Ever since I was little I’ve been going to California, and visited LA a couple times, and just fell in love with the place. I just loved LA, and I always wanted to be out there.”   Around that time, Scott also discovered the Recording Connection could train him as an apprentice in a professional studio, which really appealed to him. “I’m not really a school kind of guy,” he says. “I [wanted] something that wasn’t a textbook, sit-in-a-classroom all day kind of thing.”   After moving to Los Angeles, he enrolled in the program and was placed with producer/engineer Doug Boulware at The Abstract Recording Studios. The two hit it off right away.   “Anybody who’s met Doug, everybody knows he’s weird, but he’s real cool,” says Scott, “and I’m weird and cool, too. I mean he’s a hip hop head as well, and I guess he had respect for what I had told him about my musical background and what I had done, and was interested in working and getting me in the studio.”   Doug was able to draw from Scott’s prior experience to help him refine his skills. “My audio experience was pretty extensive going into the Recording Connection, but not on an industry standard level,” says Scott. “Where I come from, there’s no recording studio within 100-200 miles around me, so I didn’t have an outlet for a mentorship or a learning experience that I could go to and say, ‘Hey man, teach me how to do this stuff. I don’t know what I’m doing.’… So meeting up with Doug, he was able to kind of school me on certain audio aspects…I wanted somebody to tell me what I was doing wrong so I could get better.”   Since graduating, rather than stay in Los Angeles, Scott decided to take his newly honed skills back to his old stomping grounds, to the hip-hop scene on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.   With the two projects he’s got currently in the works with Maryland natives Chuck and artist MarqFre$ko, Scott’s got a game plan in place to put the area on the map via his company, SkreamKrew Entertainment.   “The side [of Chesapeake Bay] that I’m on, nobody has made it,” he says. “Nobody even knows who we are, where we are, ‘What is the Eastern Shore of Maryland? We’ve never heard of that. Do you guys even make music out there?’…I would definitely like to change it…There’s a lot of talent here, but it just hasn’t been recognized because the problem is, when people think of Maryland, all they think about is Baltimore. But in all reality, Salisbury is literally a little Baltimore…with the same amount of dope rappers in it and everything. It’s just nobody ever goes across that Chesapeake Bay Bridge to find out what’s on the other side of things. So we’re really trying to make a name for where we are, where we come from, what we stand for, and that’s the main focus now.”   Since attending the Recording Connection, Scott says he sees a broader horizon for his talents. “It’s a lot easier for people to make something happen now than it was a couple years ago, he says. “For that I’m thankful. It’s definitely given me, I guess you could say, new hope for success in this industry…I’m still not where I want to be, and I think that’s what keeps me focused. I know what I want in this life, and I’m going to get it.”   And what does he want? “One of my biggest goals is to get a Grammy, and I’m always trying to figure out how I’m going to get there,” he says. “The main thing I want out of life is wealth, health, happiness, and success, and a Grammy, or two or three.”   Connect @sawimbrow on Instagram
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RRFC INTERVIEW: Radio Connection mentor Meredith Harris talks about learning multiple aspects of radio to
create more opportunities!

  
Hailing from WATB-1420 AM in Atlanta, Georgia, Radio Connection mentor Meredith Harris tells us her broadcasting career was almost accidental—that she found her way to the microphone from the business and marketing side of radio, and learned everything hands-on (which is EXACTLY what we love!). Since that time, Meredith has logged more than 20 years in radio broadcasting, having worked in virtually every department. As such, she’s able to provide her students with a broad perspective of how radio works and to give them exposure to multiple facets of the industry.   In the interview below, Meredith talks about her roundabout way of getting into radio and offers key insider advice for students on how they can create opportunities for themselves in this ever-changing industry. Enjoy!  
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Radio Connection mentor Meredith Harris and student Morgan Davis

Radio Connection mentor Meredith Harris
and student Morgan Davis

RRFC: Can you tell us how you initially got into the radio industry?   Meredith Harris: I got introduced into the radio industry by working with an entertainment company while in college…I was responsible for recruiting radio personalities to do the voiceovers for our commercials, and then I also had to go and do the media buys, which required me to go and do a lot of visits to different radio stations. I think it just actually sparked an interest in me getting to know about the business of radio. I wasn’t just attracted to the on-air part of it. I wanted to know about each department and how it all worked…Honestly, I never saw myself being a radio personality. I was going to college for marketing. So I was always more attracted to the business end of it than the on-air part of it.   RRFC: So what eventually got you behind the microphone?   Meredith:  A friend called me to tell me that there was a new hip hop station in town, and thought that I should just go and apply for a job. I had no idea what type of job I would be qualified for…but I knew how to do those media buys. So I went to apply for a sales job first. I went for the interview, I sat down with the sales manager, and the sales manager told me that he had satisfied all his positions at that time, but that he liked my voice. So he picked the phone up and he called the program director while I was sitting in his office, and recommended that he speak with me immediately. The program director called me within an hour, and the next day I came up for an interview and I was offered an on-air job within a matter of two days. I had never been on the air, I had never done a demo and didn’t have an air-check initially, but worked hard to perfect the craft. It was really divine intervention…He told me I needed to sit in with some full-timers, and I watched them. I watched them work, but I had never worked a board before in my life…I got that literally doing hands-on work as I was learning. I just went to watch her, I took notes, and I’m a very fast learner…And I would take a notebook and I would literally write out every break, everything I wanted to say verbatim. I would write it out, so I wouldn’t freeze up on the air. But that’s how I got it.   RRFC: So are you a real believer in the hands-on approach to teaching people what it takes to work in radio?   Meredith: Absolutely, because I feel like I was birthed from it.   RRFC: How does your own experience inform your approach to mentoring students?   Meredith: I really want to see them win, and I want them to finish this program with as many skills as I can possibly give them. So I give them their own block of time [on the air], and I give them creative control over it. I tell them to look at it as ground zero of their career. I tell them to go home and think about what their on-air name will be. Think about what you want to call your show, what type of music you like to play. Do you want it to be a music-formatted show or talk formatted? And then we use the curriculum, of course, to apply what they’re learning in theory to what they will be learning when they do their own show…Because I have worked in every department, I’m able to give them a little extra…I may say, “Now let me tell you about the sales aspect of this. Let me tell you what they mean when they say stop set,” and then I’ll maybe pull out a media kit and I’ll explain that. What I like to see happen with all of my students is, if I can, give them just a snippet of what promotions does, what sales does, what traffic does, what production does, it gives them more marketable tools to be able to finish the program and enter in through any department that you can get in through…I really do all of this because I want to see them win.   RRFC: Any students you currently have that you’d like to talk about?   Meredith: Well I actually have one that I’m working with presently…he’s amazing…His name is Morgan Davis. We’ve only been working together a short amount of time, but I am so impressed with him because he is such an invested learner. He’s one of those students that, you know, you really don’t have to assign him recording for him to record. And I feel like that is an awesome foundation. He is exceptionally talented, just has a real raw talent for doing impersonations and voices. So what we are working on presently, I already have him setting up profiles on industry sites for voiceover talent…That’s going to be, I feel, a very promising career for him in addition to whatever else he wants to do in radio. So we’re actively working right now on creating his voiceover demo.   RRFC: In your view, what can up-and-coming students do to create opportunities for themselves in radio?   Meredith: One thing I always try to tell me students is, don’t be closed to the idea of coming in through another department. It may be that they already have a healthy background in sales, for instance. Don’t be closed off to the idea of coming in through that department, if need be. I had no less than two titles at every station where I’ve worked. So I’ve worked in every department in radio. I’ve been a promotions director, I’ve been traffic coordinator, research supervisor, radio personality simultaneously while I held these other titles, interim sales director. I’ve done all of that because my ultimate goal is to own my own radio station one day…You want to learn how each department works, because it might be that promotions is hiring or they’re looking for a promotions assistant to go out and set up a tent, for instance, equipment up. But if you get your foot in the door, it’s a lot easier to segue over into programming, if that’s your ultimate goal.   Another thing I tell my students is, don’t be restricted to your present market. You’ve got to be open to applying for opportunities, maybe in another state or another market. Learn other genres of music other than the ones that you listen to, especially if you have a voice that has cross-over appeal and can fit well in different genres and formats. That’s how you stay working in this industry.   
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

  
Kevin Richey and mentor Joey Heier

Kevin Richey and mentor Joey Heier

Recording Connection student Kevin Richey (Philadelphia, PA) who apprentices with Joey Heier at Crystal Clear Recording Studio is getting great feedback on a project with an artist who’s on the rise: “On Tuesday I recorded a new artist that I haven’t recorded before. He goes by RugerStacks and is from Philadelphia. He has 11k followers on Instagram and he has placements with bigger Philadelphia artists such as AR-Ab. I recorded him one song and so far have completed a rough mix of the song. He likes how it is coming together.”   Even though Film Connection mentor Deen Olatunji is keeping his apprentices super busy in production, Jacob Sizemore (Dallas, TX) is still pursuing his personal projects every chance he gets. He says, “While I love working with the crew I have been craving to create my own content again and be in the director’s chair once more. Now that I have adjusted to the system in place, I can go back to making my own films. I’ve recently finished a music video for a country band and I’m now working on a short film that I wrote a while back called “Bad Day.”   The film is written and directed by me and stars Liam McDermott, Eric Zuniga, and Gunter Kinsey. It’s a comedy action film in the vein of “Baby Driver”…I plan to have the whole thing wrapped up shooting in the next three weeks and take the next few to finish up some of the more extravagant parts of the film.   There’s something so special and kinda addicting about making a film, slapping your name on it, and claiming it as your own. It’s the reason I get up in the morning and the most exciting part about my day and I can’t wait to start filming again.” Way to be proactive Jacob! Keep it up!  
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