WOW.. So many Iron Imagers in one post… The champs from 2012 till today. The World’s Best Imagers are back in the spot light!!! These guys all have one thing in common: They took on and WON THEIR IRON IMAGER BATTLE!!! Thanks for taking the time to answer all of my questions… Hope to see you at WWRS 2018 where reigning champ Brad is ready to defend his title against Contender Sam from Capital FM London!

Paul Duffy – Iron Imager I 2012, Today FM (Ireland)
Dan Kelly – Iron Imager II, III, IV 2013/14/15, WPLJ (New York)
Sideshow Mike Anderson – Iron Imager V 2016, Triple M (Sydney)
Brad Leask – Iron Imager VI 2017, Nova Entertainment (Melbourne)

 
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT WINNING THE IRON IMAGER CONTEST?

Paul Duffy: 
It was a great feeling – certainly something I want to experience again. Its nice to be acknowledged by your peers and guys that you really admire in the imaging world. 

Soundcloud profile:    

Dan Kelly:
Winning Iron Imager was an awesome experience. All 3 times! Mainly because it lets us guys – who are generally locked away in dark soundproof rooms – get noticed a little and have a bit of fun. Ok,  stressful fun, but fun. To get the chance to a) hang out with the killer Benztown crew and b) meet the challengers and hang out with them on and off for a couple days – was lots of fun and just not something we get to do often. Fun to have something for people to talk about with imaging. Everybody knows how important imaging is to radio stations, but there’s never been an event quite like this to spotlight the craft, so I think it’s great!                                 

Mike Anderson:
It was awesome. Such a great opportunity to get over to LA and meet loads of creative imaging people. Made so many contacts and go to chat to the legends of the industry.

Soundcloud profile:

Link to website:

http://www.sideshowma.com/

Brad Leask: 
Excited, humbled, such a surreal feeling – it’s a tough one to explain.

Soundcloud profile:

 
WHAT WAS YOUR STRATEGY TO WIN?

Paul Duffy: 
Honestly , I don’t think I had one , I was just so happy to even been in the final in LA. I mean , I rocked up with Adobe Audition 3 on a crappy laptop. Now, I’d only ever be on Pro Tools (Thank You Dan Kelly)                          

Dan Kelly:   
My strategy? HURRY. That’s about it. Just try and take the elements you’re given, quickly come up with some kind of creative thoughts about the production and what you might include, how you might do it – and just hurry the hell up. The last thing I wanted to do was be half done and see the clock had 2 minutes left. Yikes. Usually we’re not working on a deadline like that at our jobs, so it’s not the way we want to work usually of course, but hey – desperate times call for desperate measures. Not much time for experimenting. And hey, at least we didn’t have to look for elements. Having a pretty small batch of stuff to choose from kept it a little simpler. So just hurry and hope for a little dumb luck with things like drops hitting beats or just magically fitting perfectly… that kind of thing.

Mike Anderson:
Just do my own thing. Forget about what everyone else does. Just battle myself.

Brad Leask:
No strategy – Just have fun. My strategy this year though? Go to bed a little earlier the night before hahaha (remember that night Sidey?)

 
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE OVERALL IRON IMAGER EXPERIENCE? WHAT DID YOU LEARN?

Paul Duffy:       
An incredibly fun experience with very friendly guys, lots of lovely food… very good looking people (Yes Benztown, I mean you guys!!!) What I learnt? That I sweat in LA… a lot. Especially in those 60 minutes of the contest.                     

Dan Kelly: 
The overall Iron Imager experience was great! Hanging around the convention a bit, seeing some people I haven’t seen in a while, spending more time with the Benztown guys and gals… The luncheon and awards… Everything was a ton of fun. My original thought was that we’d be on stage for the hour, producing while everybody watched… with commentary about what we were doing. Maybe it’s good and bad it’s not that way. Hah. That would’ve been even more stressful… and harder to concentrate. It’s great to meet some of the radio legends hanging around the convention and other imaging brethren. Like the KILLER Jeff Thomas, Jake Kaplan, Jeff Schmidt and a bunch of other guys I can’t think of at the moment! Just really fun to see imaging guys in the spotlight and getting to have a little fun is/was really awesome. I’d say I learned that all the people at the convention know the importance of imaging, appreciate it and us, and were pumped to see the competition. I wasn’t surprised at all to see that Paul Duffy, Brady Goodman and Sidey were all great dudes… who go through all the same stuff I do. Also that more people use Audition than I think… and of course can do great work with it.                                

Mike Anderson:
It was excellent. Highly recommend it for anyone. I learnt that I can do more than I thought under pressure in 60 minutes.

Brad Leask:
Fun! And I learnt how to build a promo in an hour haha.

 
WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING?

Paul Duffy:       
Definitely the 60 minutes of the contest… Juggling all the elements of creating a piece that’s of winning standard and PRAYING that my laptop won’t crash!!                   

Dan Kelly:
Most challenging – Not knowing the format. It would be nice to have an idea in your head about what you’re going to do and how it should sound. But both challengers face the same thing and you just have to deal with it. Thankfully, I’ve produced for many different formats over the years, so it wasn’t that big a deal to produce a different style than I’m used to. If anything, that makes it more interesting. Doing something outside the constraints of what you do every day is a lot of fun.                 

Mike Anderson:
Most challenging part was hanging out with Brad Leask and watching him pull so many chicks. He’s a machine.

Brad Leask:
The ticking clock, people watching… being streamed live around the world – a little different to my usual studio surrounds.

 

WHAT PART OF THE IRON IMAGER CONTEST AND WWRS DO YOU REMEMBER BEST? WHAT WAS YOUR PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT?

Dan Kelly:
The best? Hard to choose, but the playing of our audio and announcing of the winners at the luncheon was great. It’s stressful too, but to have your audio played for all those radio people… and to see their reactions is pretty rewarding. They know what the contest is, even if they weren’t there to see you do it, they appreciate the work involved, know the challenge… and then to hear your name announced… is really special. It’s just a fun contest… and I’m well aware it doesn’t make the winner “the best in the world” at all…. But hey after 20+ years in the business, getting recognition like that is a great feeling. Before long, you’re back in your own studio, producing sweepers late at night, while you’re falling asleep at the computer… But to have those moments to look back on… pretty special stuff. And fun, win or lose really. One great time was a dinner we all had a Japanese place (I think) before everybody left the next day. Really had a great time hanging out with everybody and it just reminded me what a great group of people the Benztown crew are!

Mike Anderson:
Chilling out by the pool at the Roosevelt hotel with Jeff Schmidt and the Benztown crew having beers.

Brad Leask:
WWRS was amazing – Definitely the best part would have been meeting so many of my idols & other passionate radio people. After talking radio & imaging for 3 days, I left WWRS feeling so inspired to make great imaging.

 

WHAT TO DEFINITELY NOT MISS ON THE LA TRIP?

Paul Duffy: 
The changeover in Atlanta…. Awh man… Killer!!!                          

Dan Kelly: 
Not to miss – Well if you’ve never been to LA before, there’s so much to do. But of course you need to experience sitting in 2 hours of traffic to go what would normally be 20 minutes. Good times! Ok besides that, I’d do a studio tour like Warner Brothers or Sony… Maybe get to the Griffith Observatory… amazing things to see, both on and off this planet! Also must get to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Somehow my family wasn’t a big fan, which is really upsetting, but who cares what they think? It’s legendary! Of course, get to the Santa Monica pier. I could probably go on all day.

Mike Anderson:
Don’t miss the chance to get out there and introduce yourself to everyone. Shake hands, kiss babies, meet everyone. They’re all cool. Also have a drink at the bar at Sunset Marquis. I randomly met Kings of Leon one night.

Brad Leask:
So much to do, so little time. Burgers, sports, beaches, bars…..but most importantly, WWRS. So much passion & experience in one place. Soak it up!

 

WHAT FORMAT WOULD YOU HAVE CHOSEN PERSONALLY?

Paul Duffy: 
Oh definitely CHR, Oh hell yeah – wizz.. bang.. zap… stop (echo)… Boom!                           

Dan Kelly: 
I definitely wouldn’t choose my 2 usual formats, which are Hot AC and Country. Anything outside of those, just to make it exciting. News/Talk or Alternative probably. News/Talk to be able to tell a story and use drops… do some fun stuff with the beds… and making the drops fit nicely in there in creative ways… and Alternative just because in theory it would be a more attitude filled version of my normal stuff, with songs I’m less familiar with. And conveniently, these were 2 of the 4 formats I got to do in the contest. We also did Classic Hip Hop and I think Country. Lots of fun!                     

Mike Anderson:
Der… Rock. Either that or Christian folk music.

Brad Leask:
Does ‘A Nova Promo’ count as a format? Haha. Any format, it’s the challenge & being in the deep-end that makes the Iron Imager experience so fun.



WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO SEE PARTICIPATE IN THE IRON IMAGER CONTEST?

Paul Duffy: 
Would love to see my two boys, Nick K from Spin Dublin and Jonathan Young from Capital FM London. The two boys are insane with production and I love that I’m able to call them mates.                          

Dan Kelly: 
Wow. Y’know for me, personally, growing up in NYC, I would’ve loved to see Dave Foxx vs Gene Wooten. Z100 vs PLJ. Gene was the Creative Services Dir before me, from 1985 to 2002 – and his work was incredible. His work and Foxx’s were my inspiration. I loved listening to their work. And I’ve gotten to know Foxx from a long time back now… He’d be great. Sadly, Gene passed away recently from an illness, but I need to shout out to him for his incredible talents and work over the years. What an amazingly talented guy. And of course, Foxx… So, so good. For me, that would’ve been a dream matchup. They’ve taught me so much. I can’t begin to imagine what they would’ve done in the contest, but I’m sure it would’ve been mind-blowing.                                

Mike Anderson:
I’d like to see John Frost take on Jeff Thomas in a battle to the death. the ultimate 90s grudge match.

Brad Leask:
Whoever deserves it! Can’t wait to see who makes it through.

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