New York Festivals Grand Jury are some of the best and brightest in the radio industry and the brilliant creative minds who judge the 2019 NYF Radio Awards. These award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, composers, on-air talent, and programming executives are all actively involved in creating today’s innovative radio content.
Open Mic Spotlight spends a few minutes each week with NYF’s respected Grand Jury members and each NYF Spotlight interview shares the insights of these esteemed content creators from the wonderful world of radio.
This week we shine the spotlight on New York Festivals Radio Awards Grand Jury member, Andrew Biggs, Imaging Producer / Director of eyesound New Zealand. Andrew is a five-time New York Festival winning audio producer. In 2018 Andrew earned a NYF Radio Awards Silver trophy for “Coast Imaging 2017.” He has worked in radio for almost 20 years in New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East and currently owns and operates eyesound, working for New Zealand’s largest radio and media organization NZME for Coast, ZM, Hits, Mix and more.
New York Festivals: What qualities are most important in award-winning work?
Andrew Biggs: The great thing about audio is there are no limits! That’s what I’m looking for when judging award-winning work — taking risks. How far are the boundaries being pushed? How unique is the content or how effectively the audio medium being utilized? There is always great sounding audio, always great sounding content… but the reason why it will win is how effectively it challenges the listener, how it works in an on-air setting to stand out and be heard.
Andrew Biggs: Having worked on multi-lingual radio stations is a huge help! The great thing about award-winning audio is language is never a barrier. It’s an opportunity. Especially with radio production, be it commercials or imaging, audio has no limits. With that understanding, it immediately opens up areas to explore when critiquing almost any kind of audio. Being from New Zealand and growing up in the radio environment here, it’s hugely competitive, if you want your station to stand out you have to be creative. That drive to think outside the box and challenge listeners locally is something I look for when judging as well.
New York Festivals: How do you think content creators will change the way they tell stories in the future?
Andrew Biggs: Radio is always evolving, that’s the best thing about the medium. It’s limitless. It’s always changing. There’s always something or someone who can make something reasonably benign sound like the most significant thing ever on radio and get audiences to buy into that. That’s what makes radio great. Not every concept has to be high-end to work; it just has to sound great. As radio continues to evolve, so will the ideas, stories, and content that it creates. It’s the best medium for genuine connections with people and still the most exciting medium for creativity in the imagination.
New York Festivals: What project meant the most to you in your own history?
Andrew Biggs: I don’t dwell too much on the past, especially in sound design and Imaging as you have to keep moving forward and finding new ways to get people excited about the next “big thing” on any station. One of the more personally satisfying projects I have worked on recently was my contemporary re-imaging of a “Classic Hits” style station here in NZ called Coast. It’s primarily 70s and 80s focused with some incredibly talented announcers and support team. It’s a project I’ve been working on for two years now, and I’ve been pushing the envelope of how an “oldies” style station should sound. Film and television are giving a renaissance to this era of music, with modern blockbuster films mining this fantastic era of music more and more. It’s only fitting a station playing this same music should sound contemporary while remaining respectful of the audience.
New York Festivals: What advice do you have for young people just beginning a career in the industry?
Andrew Biggs: If you turn on the radio and want to be the second-most listened to thing behind the music and the best, most creative part of radio, podcasts, short-stories or any other kind of audio feature, then go download ProTools right now! I love audio, especially radio audio as it truly is limitless… and every day is different, exciting and more often than not terrifying! If you’re looking to get into production specifically, I strongly recommend a background in music. Playing an instrument and previously composing music for orchestra, really helps you when you’re working on audio projects. Thinking about each trailer, sweeper, podcast or interview edit as a composition gives you an excellent grounding for how each element within that project can work together. Giving every sound effect, vocal track or music bed space in a promo is no different to a violin, cello or drum beat in a musical piece. It’s trial and error playing around with how all those sounds work together to create something unique… or something award winning!
For more information on New York Festivals Radio Awards, please visit: https://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/