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Monday, October 19, 2015

Houston morning show hosts embark on new careers after radio

The career for after and during radio

 photo crockett-studio_zps96pcplci.jpg
Dave Crockett, CEO of the Dave Crockett Production Group LLC (DCPG)
In a nondescript office building in west Houston, former Houston morning radio show host, Dave Crockett, is voicing a ton of car commercial ad copy that will air on stations across the US. The niche was a happy accident.

"When I started out, I was marketing myself to everyone and anyone, really trying to land anything - I started to get call-backs from agencies who asked if I would do automotive spots for their clients," Crockett, who is the CEO of the Dave Crockett Production Group LLC (DCPG), told "I just voiced a regional Honda TV commercial this morning that will air in 10 western states starting next month."

The first time I ever wrote about Crockett was way back in 2005! Houston radio listeners will know his voice from 93Q KKBQ's morning show and 95.7 KIKK's afternoon drive. Crockett, who has been on the cutting edge for a while, was one of the first I know of to dive into the Internet radio thing. Alas, he was waaayyyy ahead of his time, but with a little career pivot, now he has a voice over career with a brand spanking new recording studio and a quickly developing niche.

"I have always been comfortable in the studio, which explains why I currently spend nine plus hours a day in my studio at DCPG as a voiceover actor and audio producer," admitted Crockett. "The reality was unless I won the lottery or married rich, I would be using my voice and production skills to earn a living. So, really I knew what I was going to be doing with my life from the time I was 14."

But lest any current radio DJs out there think starting a voice over career is as easy as hooking a microphone up to your home computer. Crockett says gone are the days where you hang out your shingle and become an overnight success.

"After my radio career ended in 2006, I really started to focus on the more competitive (and better paying) national voice over market," Crockett told me. "I hired some really great coaches and worked hard at my craft. In fact I still use Marla Kirban out of New York to keep me sounding my best!"

Outside of his heavy auto work, Crockett has lent his voice to companies ranging from Kay Jewelers, the NFL Hall Of Fame ring campaign, to Moen Faucets and Halliburton. With his phone ringing off the hook (or maybe better said today, his email box filling up) Crockett is even hiring outside voices to help out.

Usually voice over folks brag about working from home, but the growth in clients has pushed Crockett out of his spare bedroom into a new office with two studios.

"Working from home is fine, but I found myself working seven days a week," Crockett admitted to me. "It was driving my wife nuts!"

The competitive nature of the industry also led to this two-man shop (Travis Nevill handles managerial duties) branching out in other areas such as custom jingles and custom 3D animation.

Wearing many hats has also become Randy Hames' life too.

In Sugar Land, Hames, who played Irv Harrington for nearly 30 years on 100.3 KILT's Hudson and Harrigan show, presides over Edgewater Recording Studios. Along with his son and daughter (Derek and Schuyler), Hames is involved with recording voices and bands, plus a whole lot more. In fact, read about his new book Houston's Morning Show: The True Story of Hudson & Harrigan.

"We are well-qualified and equipped to provide the highest quality audio, video, photography and graphic design projects for everyone from large corporations to small companies," Hames told "We've already produced several label-ready music projects for artists in genres ranging from hard rock to country to inspirational to urban."

Last summer, I voiced the narration for my 101 KLOL documentary at Edgewater. I recorded in the smaller studio which was extremely quiet thanks to the double layered door and two pane glass window. When not in front of the microphone, I marveled at the larger studio where bands record albums. You feel pretty humbled looking at the massive recording console which faces a soundproofed room full of instruments.

Hames says he has never been busier. Building the studio and the business are more than full-time jobs, and since it's a legacy to his children and grandson, it's a labor of love, but he emphasizes the labor part.

"I love working with my kids, but it is also very humbling," Hames told me. "For years, I was the expert, and now they are the mentors, and I am the student - learning new techniques under their guidance. I was always the one who could make money and provide, and now it's their time to shine. I still provide oversight, but I'm decidedly less capable when it comes to new technologies. I've learned to do things I never did in broadcasting, such as Social Media Management, and both my children have taught me a great deal about 'New Media.'"

Speaking of new media, one current morning radio guy is leading the cutting edge over at City Center. Sam Malone is still on the radio every weekday morning on AM 1070 The Answer KNTH, but you can also watch the former 104.1 KRBE host do his current show live on Facebook.

He broadcasts the show at his new 512 New Media studios, which looks more TV than radio since Malone is live streaming video. In fact, Malone uses a virtual desk and set just like some television stations.

"At 10am, the radio set, which is on wheels, moves off to the side, and the commercial video production begins," Malone told

It was at Phonoscope Cable where Malone was President of New Media that he started entering the world of video production after broadcasting each morning. A year ago, Malone left the Houston-based cable company, raised investor capital and opened up his own company and studio.

"You'd be surprised how many radio people have quietly visited," Malone admitted.

Not to be left out of the video world, Crockett has started dabbling in the world of TV commercials as a talent.

"Last January I got a phone call from Cindi at Pastorini & Bosby about a national spot for DishNet," Crockett said. "They were casting Texas talent for the project. I had some free time so I went on the audition for the casting director."

Crockett didn't think the audition went well, but got a call back. Next thing he knew, he was in Austin shooting the commercial with his pretend wife and kids. You'll also be able to catch him in a series of KHOU 11 promos where he plays a sports caster.

"Since then I have been approached to do other things on-camera but have not had time," Crockett added. "I guess I have one of those faces? Somebody told me the other day I look like the governor on The Walking Dead series. [But] audio production and voice over is our bread and butter."

For the techie gear heads

Dave Crockett Production Group LLC (DCPG) tech specs:
Pro Tools 12
Avalon 737-SP Preamps
Avid C|24 Control Surfaces
10 Terabytes of storage and server space
Two studios, Conference room, kitchen, lobby and two offices

Edgewater Recording Studios tech specs:
Full Equipment List


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