Hit West Imaging Gets A Makeover | benztown.com

Hit West Imaging Gets A Makeover

This Monday, February 1st, the team at Hit West aired a brand new jingle package. A small revolution on the grid since it’s a custom package produced entirely and exclusively for HIT WEST, one that that took almost a year to complete.  

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Benztown, whose studios are historically based in Stuttgart, Germany is actively pursuing the French market and it was selected by Hit West to develop and produce the station’s new jingle package: ( read HERE); “ I already knew about Benztown thanks to Jean-Michel Meschin who I met at the Salon de la Radio in Paris. I really liked his work. Our call for tenders allowed us to gage the productions of three studios. While Benztown had less marketing behind it than the other two studios, what stood out for us was the particular attention that Benztown pays to the details. Personally, I am very attentive to details.  This package is solid, well made and we are proud of the result achieved through our collective effort.”

The new package launches on Monday with a very precise objective: “ I want our listeners to know where they are when they are listening to Hit West without even having to hear us announce it on air. For me, imaging is tool for creating loyalty and immediate recognition and memorization of our brand. That’s especially true when the production is unique.”

How much does it cost? “Listen…If you look at the global price over 3 seasons, it’s not anymore burdensome than the cost of a package”.

THREE QUESTIONS FOR….JEAN-MICHEL MESCHIN

LLP-  How would you describe HitWest’s new imaging? What characterizes it?

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JMM- I would say that it’s modern, rich, exalting and addictive. Modern in that we drew inspiration from the most creative, polished productions of the moment.  It’s got a pop sound with real instruments such as pianos and guitars backed by beats and deep bases.

The package is rich in terms of the variety of styles it contains and in terms of the quality of the production by Benztown, which rises to the level of quality that we hear in the production of today’s hits.  It’s exalting because it’s positive and engaging, deeply ingrained into what constitutes the DNA of Hit West’s sound. Finally, it’s addictive because the vocal melodies are insanely catchy and get stuck in your head. We approached the production of each jingle the way we would approach the production of a hit song- constant hook driven melodies and other production tricks.

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LLP- What was your process from start to finish? 

JMM- It all began when I met Yann Oger at le Salon de la Radio, 2014.  So, credit goes to le Salon for bringing us together. Yann knew my work and from the start, he had a very precise idea of where he wanted take the station’s sound. Ideas on sound can be difficult to put into words. You have to flesh them out over the course of many conversations in order to transform your discussions into a brief that can be understood and executed by composers and producers. That’s where I come in. We initiated this process by putting out a call for tenders with a very precise brief. The most creative studios answered our call and submitted, but in the end, Benztown won us over. Once you make a choice and the process begins, the rest boils down to trust and pleasure in working together. We continued to collaborate and exchange ideas with Yann and Dominique Lemonier (Program Director) who is maniacal about the details, which is partly where the enjoyment of working together came from, because we are all, to varying degrees, maniacal about the details. We obsessed over the definition of a sound, the feeling the music evoked and on how to get things done in the most efficient manner. Benztown understood how to interpret our intentions with precision. The production process was the same for the creation of each customized, sung jingle. In this case, we had an initial phase of composition of the music for the foundation of the package in Stuttgart, another phase for the composition of the vocal melodies at my studio in Le Perche, a vocal recording session of singers in Paris and we recorded additional guitars in Los Angeles. The package underwent a final completion phase at HitWest’s studios in Nantes led by their incredibly talented in-house producer, Raphael Dauce. You could say that this is a package that has traveled.. Thanks again to Yann Oger for his trust and his vision, the result is great.

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LLP- Does this package evolve over time?

JMM- The abundance of new productions is such that listeners have become accustomed to an increasingly rapid update of the imaging they hear. The idea of evolutionary imaging is now a necessity. A brand doesn’t have to change it’s basic sound but the versions and variations of that sound should be in perpetual motion. Together with the studios, we build a solid sonic structure. It’s up to the producers at the stations to use that structure and the component elements included in their package to produce imaging that breaths new life into their station on a daily basis.

Working with teams when there is mutual trust is advantageous because it allows for flexibility. Over the course of many collaborations with Benztown, we developed a delivery system for jingle packages. Not only do we deliver the stereo Masters but also the stems of the ProTools sessions.

LLP- What are session stems?

JMM- A stem session is a simplified multi track allowing producers at stations to have access to separate tracks for each jingle, which they can then remix endlessly. Both fun and creative, this dream tool doesn’t alter the station’s core sound but actually amplifies it to the highest level.

LLP- Are you currently working on new productions? 
JMM- On my end, I’ll be returning to Russia to start the production of new jingles for Europa Plus, specifically for their morning show and general music jingles for the station.

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This is an aspect of station imaging that, in my opinion, is underdeveloped in France and everywhere else for that matter. Morning Shows are too important to be accompanied by jingles that aren’t thoroughly produced. We have managed to empower Morning Shows at Europa Plus with jingles that distinguish them from the rest of the station’s programming, but also sound like they are perfectly integrated in the station’s sonic brand.  I am going on my 6th year of being a consultant for Europa Plus, a station of unparalleled calibre.

It’s a unique feeling.. Knowing that you are maintaining an invisible link, from a distance, with 11 million loyal, daily listeners. The station also has a wonderful team that I am quite attached to.