Imaging KROQ, getting mentored by David Jay and why to…
I got introduced to Will recently by my partner Dave and got really impressed by his career path. Will worked for many of the biggest radio brands in LA, California and the rest of the country. He has a lot of mutual friends, inspirations and mentors, such as the legendary David Jay at KBIG and of course as everyone, who loves gear: Forrest Martin on speed dial :)..Thanks for taking the time Will. Enjoy!
1. Can you give me a bit of background on yourself, your achievements and different roles during your career?
Started off with being a phone jockey at the age of 18 at WAPE in Jacksonville, got bit by the radio bug. I begged to be put on the air so they gave me a part time slot. I think they just felt sorry for me. Then ended up at crosstown competitor WPLA Planet Radio. Got thrown into the imaging department imaging 5 stations (If we only knew back then). I voiced and produced the alternative station, this was a pivotal time in the Alternative arena, where rock was becoming more mainstream. I moved to Atlanta in hopes of getting a job. I did get one how however, it was doing radio research..I was dying to get on the air . Never got on the air, came back to Jacksonville at WPLA, then it all “just happened”. I started doing imaging and voicing the station. I had no clue what I was doing, but I learned quickly producing and voicing Planet Radio. Then people started talking about me as the next one to look out for, but being humble, I thought nah, me? Say what? So I started sending my resume and demos out. Then BAM!I was getting calls from Q101 in Chicago, offers in Cincinnati, Houston, etc. Something told me to wait and I’m glad I did. I got a call from Kevin Weatherly at The World Famous KROQ. He said, sit tight kid, we have something for you. I was fa-reaking out. They were acquiring alternative LIVE 105 in San Francisco and wanted me to write, voice and produce the station. After 3 years there, they promoted me to one of the most coveted positions on the planet. Legendary KROQ. They said, “We want you for the job, your replacing John Frost.” It was crazy and very exciting and sometimes stressful. Eventually I was working alongside other big names (like my radio GOD since I was 17), Steve Kingston who left Z100 to start up WXRK K-ROCK IN NY! And worked with other people whom I had so much respect for as well. Michael Martin, Brian Bridgman, Howard Stern and other great talents like Kevin & Bean, The Woody Show, Adam Corolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky, and other great producers such as Nick Daley and Eric Chase. The list goes on. My role never changed at any of these positions but working with such talented people helped make me grow not only as a voice over but also as a writer and a producer, and not to mention my mentor when I was young, David Jay, who I worked with at POWER 95. Now producing against him at that time KBIG now MYFM.
2. How is it to work for some of the biggest radio brands in the world? How do the tasks differ between the different stations / brands? What is the stylistic approaches and how difficult is it to change hats?
Working for all of these stations and such big names was a little overwhelming at times. The biggest task I had to deal with most was me MYSELF! I would sometimes get into my head and over think things when sometimes the simplest answer is staring at you in the face. YOURSELF. Don’t get me wrong you do have to be able to adapt to different situations and scenarios because each station was a beast. They had different personalities, different vibes in the market. For example I was doing both imaging for KROQ and WXRK. And they both were totally different stations. NY imaging was more attitude than LA. I remember in New York walking from 36th street all the way to 77th on the upper east side by the NY Met listening to K-Rock to get the feel and vibe of New York and the station. I couldn’t walk for days there after but I got it! Same station name but totally different from one another. To this day I still miss saying “WXRK, K-ROCK……NEEEEEWWW YORK“. The way I said New York made it sound so big and in your face, full of attitude! When I shifted from working from one station to now imaging hundreds of other stations through my old imaging service I did back in the day, it was fun because I was catering to a plethora of stations with all different formats. I gave my clients the option of telling me what THEY want, from music kick off sweeps to winning sound effects for national contests. For me personally, its being able to adapt to different changes. In this industry it’s important and it’s kind of like being an actor playing different roles.
3. How do your days look like? Is there a blueprint? A routine ?
Each day is completely different than the next, depending on what stations needs are.. I always like to “ease” my way into the work day. Reply to e-mails, voice copy for stations and drink lots of coffee. Some once said to me, “The bankers rule the day and the creative ones rule the night!” That’s totally true to me. Since parting ways with Groove Worx who distributed my services with “Groove-Tools”, I still have a handful of stations I do work for and do some consulting on the side. I never thought I would end up doing work on that side of the spectrum in this industry, but it’s been lots of fun! Having to use your knowledge, experience and ideas to help others is a reward within its self. When I was with “Groove-Tool” , we had subscribers in all formats so I had to be able to give all these different options.
4. What is your baby? Most fun project?
It’s really hard to answer that question, because every single project or job I had, was my baby. With each project comes different strategies, when you open up a new project in the studio it’s like an artist starting out with an empty canvas, you have a vision in mind and you start painting away. Same goes in the studio. So, having said that, I’m a father to lots of babies! My current baby/project is being worked on now in a private laboratory.
5. What DAW do you guys use?
I’m a Pro-Tools user/abuser!
6. What are your favorite plugins?
Too many to tell. I started off with the waves Platinum bundle pack and added on from there. My fav plug in? SPEAKERPHONE!! It’s so easy to manipulate. I also like everything by Spectrasonics! I could go on. So many times I get asked, what plug i used. I say I’m using everything waves bundle, with a few extra toys, then they say, NO WAY! It’s amazing what you can produce when layering plug ins.
7. What are new learnings, ideas, you work on inspirations?
We are always learning new things or trying new things! Get on Youtube, Spotify, Rhapsody or any music server and start typing random weird words and start listening to what comes back and you’ll be surprised, you’ll slowly start laughing or being intrigued by what you hear and your brain will get carried away. Ask your fellow producers to send you one of their favorite promos or jingles for inspiration, or listen to imaging demos from voice over artists, then copy their reading and give it your own interpretation. I could go on, you get the idea.
8. Any new tools you discovered lately?
Deep in the bowels of a tiny laboratory in Will Morgan’s house somewhere in Los Angeles, a strange concoction is brewing, were not sure what it is and neither does Will, but we can tell you, it’s sexy! One of the new tools I’ve discovered lately is my voice, it’s probably dropped an octave lower in the past year and Im having fun doing mokerys of my new voice as if I’m going through puberty.
9. Your favorite piece of imaging / production ever?
The loveline promo I did for KROQ. During the height of Sex and the City, i had funny outtakes from Drew and Adam and worked the female VO portraying Carrie Bradshaw and hit a home run. Kevin Weatherly actually gave me a smile and a nod. I love every piece of imaging or branding that I’ve done. Working at KROQ taught me that you always have to be on. I am my own worst critic! I love to leave people saying “WOW” when they hear work that I have produced or voiced.
10. What would be your career advice for a youngster your twenty year old self?
Never stop doing what you love.. follow your dreams, find a mentor or anyone whom you look up to and listen for advice and most importantly believe in yourself and never give up. One time, an old boss of mine told me this industry wasn’t for me and that I wasn’t cut up enough for it and to find something else. I used all of that negativity I was given as a positive. I wanted too, I had to prove them wrong. I think I did.
11. Who have been mentors of yours and how did they support you?
David Jay, Creative Director at MYFM in Los Angeles, he was my mentor when we worked together at WAPE in Jacksonville. He took me under his wing. If you told me when I was 18, that I would be working agains in Los Angeles, I would of said, NO WAY!!!!!
12. The best tech purchase under a hundred dollar?
Nick Daley and Forrest Martin’s phone number.
13. Work environment of your dreams, how would that look like?
Working with a creative group of radio geeks all encouraging ideas and inspration, and playing the game “What if we did it the way”. Creative people need hope and inspirations not to mention nurturing.. We creative types are somewhat oddities. When a bird doesn’t have wings he can’t fly. Give the bird wings and watch it SOAR!
14. Radio in 5 years? What will be different …….
Probably what they said 5 years ago……… ”Radio will be dead in 5 years”. In a perfect world, there will be more radio content, creating more jobs… never mind.On the subject of what inspires you? My inspiration comes from life and all that encumbers. Ask this question when you wake up in the morning. What’s something different I can do today you’ll be surprised!
My mantra in my life to this: Anything is possible, as long as you believe.
An excerpt of Will’s work:
Revised Will Morgan Radio Demo
Demo Sirius XM
Will Morgan Imaging
Will Morgan VO Demo Reel