NYF’s weekly Grand Jury Confidential features profiles of New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards award-winning Grand Jury members. Each interview provides a sneak peak into the brilliant careers of prominent radio executives from around the globe who are recruited from all facets of the radio industry to select the World’s Best Radio Programs℠. This week, NYF takes a few moments to connect with 2016 Grand Jury member, Andrew Biggs, Imaging Producer / Director of Eyesound New Zealand.
Andrew has worked for over 11 years in radio across many station formats around the world. Best known for his award winning Imaging and Production work in Dubai, Australia and New Zealand, Andrew is a production and Imaging enthusiast, creative writer and fan of all things radio.
NYF caught up with Andrew and asked him to share his insights on the wonderful world of radio. Keep reading to find out more about Andrew, including his early career influences, his evolution in the radio business, his all time favorite radio program and more!
NYF: Who or what were your early influences in your career?
Andrew Biggs: I loved radio from a very early age. Spent far too much time recording myself on cassette tapes for my parents, playing music between voicebreaks on our piano at home and generally wasting hours of time playing “airchecks” to my sister! I loved the audio medium… When I got my first job in radio, I was astounded by the creativity of Imaging and how the talented Imaging Producers used their craft to the sell the station. I spent a lot of time learning from and working with my mentor Grant Brodie, who is still head of Imaging in New Zealand and an incredibly talented producer.
NYF: What’s the most important thing you learned from your first job?
Andrew Biggs: Pick one thing, one promo or commercial each week and really spend time making it sing. Work on it across a few days, come back in the morning with ‘fresh ears’ and tackle it again, often promos and especially sweepers can do with listening to a few times with a break in between… it’s amazing the little details you’ll pick up coming back to some projects after a few hours and you can make them sound so much better,
NYF: What were some early leadership lessons for you?
Andrew Biggs: Working around the world with different cultures and personalities I’ve learned that taking time to listen to different types of radio production is so important, then using what I think sounds good alongside my team to create great sounding production. It’s as much lead by example as it is lead by collaboration. I always find the best sounding audio isn’t just one persons idea but two or three producers working together.
NYF: What qualities are the most important to have?
Andrew Biggs: In Imaging and Production, I think having a strong background in music is so important. Knowing how to compose music and how each instrument works in the overall piece of music is almost exactly the same as how voice works with music and sound effects in a piece of audio. Balancing sounds is what music composition teaches you and each commercial or promo you make is a mini-composition!
NYF: Tell us a bit about your evolution in the radio industry?
Andrew Biggs: I began as an announcer, of all things! Terrible… I got quickly bored by the repetition of on-air work and instead wanted to be the person between the songs that did the creative commercials or promos. From there, I pretty much self-taught myself production for many years, until I was given a huge opportunity to work with an incredibly talented producer and from then on, all I ever wanted to do was create amazing Imaging for radio stations.
NYF: What was a defining moment in your career?
Andrew Biggs: I was offered the opportunity to work with an incredible Programme Director, Steve Pulley. His creative approach to Imaging and Radio Station programming brought me over to the Middle East to head up the Imaging and Creative department and craft Station Imaging for the Dubai 92 brand, amongst others. Working with the team there in a multi-cultural environment was the most fulfilling, creative experience of my life and let to being awarded Gold for my Imaging in the New York Festivals Radio Awards too!
NYF: Will you share how the culture of your company encourages creativity?
Andrew Biggs: I guess it’s much like I said earlier. Collaboration. Whether it’s with other producers or clients themselves. Working together and bouncing ideas and techniques back and forth, sharing experiences and techniques leads to great results and creativity.
NYF: What’s your favorite radio program that created?
Andrew Biggs: Always find it hard to judge or be a fan of my own stuff, but I really like the upbeat, positive and fun style of my last Imaging package I worked on before I left the middle-east along with a recent package I completed for a station in Beijing, two totally different styles, formats and cultures but I enjoy the challenge of working on international stuff.
NYF: What are the hallmarks of award-winning radio programs?
Andrew Biggs: Hearing the passion within the project. Listening to those little details in each bit of audio that separates it from ‘just something else’ on the radio to something really special that someone has spent time on crafting and creating for nothing other than their own personal satisfaction!
For more information on the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards please visit: www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/