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....and The Contender is......

LOS ANGELES, APRIL 12, 2018 —Benztown, a global leader in radio imaging, voiceover services, production libraries, programming and jingles, announced that UK audio imaging professional Sam Wickens has been selected as the finalist in the  7th Annual Iron Imager Contest, the international radio imaging contest where audio production professionals compete for the title of World’s Best Imager. Current Iron Imager Champion Brad Leask, Network Imaging Producer, NOVA Entertainment, Sydney, Australia, will face off against Wickens in a head-to-head live competition on Thursday, May 3, 2018, at the Worldwide Radio Summit at the W Hollywood Hotel. Iron Imager is the first and only competition of its kind.

Benztown also recognized Iron Imager semi-finalists who captured Honorable Mention status in this year’s competition. Those high-performing semi-finalists are: Jonathan Young, Audio Producer, Global, London; Brendan Tacey, National Head of Production, Southern Cross Austereo, Melbourne; Jordana Klein, Imaging Producer and Voice Talent, Toronto; Chris Longman, Imaging Producer, Global, London; Ryan Drean, Worldwide Voiceovers and Audio Production, Dallas; and Sergey Zelentsov, Head of Production, Europa Plus, Moscow.

Leask and Wickens will demonstrate their world-class imaging skills by producing an original imaging piece for a format unannounced until the day of the competition.

Contestants will use elements from one of Benztown’s 23 production libraries, voiceover talent roster, paired with a script from the Benztown team.

Iron Imager 2018 Challenger Sam Wickens, 26, from Hornchurch, Essex (Greater London) is Audio Production Assistant for Capital FM. Wickens’ career started with a letter and a teabag – a way to get his foot in the door, where he landed a job in 2017 with Capital FM, the UK’s #1 Hit Music station, after earning a degree in audio production and working as an intern. Wickens works from Capital’s Leicester Square office in London, creating world-class audio content and imaging for over eight million listeners every day. He also handles major production projects for the Capital Network, including Capital’s Summertime Ball and Jingle Bell Ball concerts at Wembley Stadium and the O2, creating audio backstage at these events and at other outside broadcasts. To hear some of Wickens’ work, visit: https://soundcloud.com/spwickens.

Iron Imager 2017 Champion Brad Leask took home his first Iron Imager title last year. Leask has been NOVA Entertainment’s Network Imaging Producer for the past four years. While undertaking an advanced Diploma of Sound Production at RMIT, Brad became part of NOVA Entertainment’s Internship Program. In February 2014, Brad joined that company as an Imaging Producer and within 12 months had developed his skills to take on his current role crafting the imagery for NOVA Entertainment’s Nova and smoothfm networks, Star 104.5 and FIVEaa. To hear some of Leask’s work, visit: https://soundcloud.com/brad_leask.

Dave “Chachi” Denes, Benztown President, said: "This UK-Aussie audio challenge has all the makings of an epic event – Two of the world’s cutting edge imaging professionals battling it out live in Hollywood for the coveted Iron Imager belt! Brad and Sam are instrumental to the winning sounds of their respective brands. We are honored to bring them to the U.S. to showcase and celebrate their talent and the power of the world’s best audio imaging. We also thank all the incredible imagers who threw their hats in the ring this year and are pleased to honor the other top contenders who raise the quality bar for this competition every year.”

Andreas Sannemann, Benztown Chief Executive Officer, said: “It is fantastic to have two so highly talented Imaging Producers from two of the leading CHR brands in the world fighting for the title of World’s Best Imager. It will be a massive battle - I am excited and you should be, too!”

Iron Imager 2018 finalist Sam Wickens said: “I can’t wait for the battle with Brad! Hopefully, I’ll be bringing the Iron Imager belt back to where it belongs: Britain!”

Brad Leask, 2017 Iron Imager, said: “I’m a huge fan of Sam’s work. He’s a massive talent and an awesome guy. This will be fun - Bring it on, mate!”

The 2018 Iron Imager will be declared and presented at 10:30am Pacific on Friday, May 4, in the General Session Room of the W Hollywood Hotel.

To hear the submissions of the top Iron Imager 2018 competitors, please visit: https://soundcloud.com/benztownradio/sets/iron-imager.