This week’s guest is someone who I have known for a number of years now, and someone who I’ve always looked up to, particularly when starting out in the industry. Pat Gill is the Imaging Director and Assistant Programme Director at 98FM in Dublin.
Pat is probably the most well respected person in Irish Radio today and that’s down to his positivity, ability to create top class Imaging and his skill at pushing the boundaries with creativity and making Imaging that just stands out! Welcome Pat!
1. How did you get started in the business and how did you get the gig at 98FM?
My first imaging role was probably aged 10 as a kid at home, I’d spend hours recording jingles off the radio onto cassettes and then mixing them into songs. That was a fun gig!
I got some work experience as a teenager at a radio station in the 90s and realised imaging was an actual job and I was instantly hooked. I then moved between community and pirate radio for a few years and was introduced to Cool Edit by Sean Power at Freedom FM where I made a few sweepers for the station. I joined 98FM on a work placement around 2002 working alongside Tony Kiernan. A year later I was offered a full time production role with Andy Matthews at FM104 where I stayed for almost 12 years. I came back to 98FM in 2014 following a few meetings with PD Michael Brett. I really liked where the station was going and wanted to be part of it. From day one it has been a creative and fun place to work and there’s a great team of people here.
2. Where do you think Radio Imaging is at?
Imaging is constantly changing and evolving and that’s really healthy. I regularly listen into different stations around the world and the quality of the audio is incredible.
3. In 2019, what do you think is more important – creativity or technical ability (or both)
They’re both important, but creativity is what sets your station apart from others. You can load your Pro Tools with tons of plugins but unless you have a clear message or a creative script then it counts for nothing.
4. What was the best tip you know now, that’d you wish you knew when starting out?
Getting the EQ right on voiceovers. It can be the difference between your liner or sweeper sparkling on air or falling flat.
As producers we can get distracted by shiny new plugins, but sometimes less is more – always step back and listen to your work outside the station as your listeners hear it. Did that liner cut through? Did that jingle clash with the song? Is that news bed too busy?
Never stop learning new tips. I love discovering new ways of working. Listen to other producers, go to imaging events and share your work with others.
5. Being an Assistant PD and Imaging Director of a big station must be busy – How do you balance the two roles?
It can be busy but it works well. Programming and imaging go hand in hand, so when we’re planning stuff for on-air I can be thinking about the scripts and imaging. I know exactly what 98FM is as a brand and what we’re about. As a result there is consistency on everything from the presenter briefs, to the scripting, to the imaging and that’s always a good thing.