Interview: Luke McPeake – Head of Production for UKRD

Interview: Luke McPeake – Head of Production for UKRD

April 30, 2018

We are very excited this month because we had the chance to speak to UKRDs Head of Production – Mr Luke McPeake.

A lot of you already know Luke and would have worked with him, so it comes as no surprise that he is a top guy and really knows his stuff.

In fact Luke was a producer that several voiceovers wanted to hear from as they felt he would have some great things to share.

So, without any further ado, here is The Voice Finder interview.

1. Hey Luke, tell us about you & why you chose to become a producer?

Having played in bands and made music for most of my teenage years, I decided that studying Music Technology at University was probably my best chance of avoiding a ‘normal’ job.  After graduating, I was unsure on what to do and had never really given a career in radio production any serious thought. 
It just wasn’t offered as a potential career during my studies and so it was only after some work experience (arranged by a voiceover friend) that I realised that I had the necessary skill-set.  I spent a few months doing voluntary work at Signal back in Stoke and generally mining Rich and Steve for all the info that I could.  When a job came up, I put in an application in hope more than expectation but thankfully Chris decided to take a chance on me and I’ve been working in the industry ever since. I left UTV in late 2013 and moved to Bristol to work at UKRD.

 2. What is the UKRD mission & your role within the company?

From my earliest conversations with UKRD, it was clear how much importance was being placed on creative.  With Mike Bersin in the position of Creative Director and Colin McGinness leading the production team, it was a really exciting opportunity.  The team has changed a fair bit during my time here and after working as the Head of Commercial Production for a couple of years, I was chosen to replace Colin as the Head of Production in October last year.  My role involves the day to day running of the Commercial Production and Station Sound departments, managing a small team of seriously talented producers. 

3. What changes have you seen within the commercial production industry that have surprised you?

I think the biggest surprise is the sheer number of new voiceovers coming into the industry.  I’d say that I receive at least a couple of showreels per week.  As a producer it’s great to have such a wide variety of options and am always happy to receive demos.  I do eventually get round to listening to them all and have a shortlist of new voices to try. 

4. Why is radio still relevant?

Ultimately, I believe that people’s reasons for listening to the radio are still as relevant today as they’ve ever been and providing that the industry continues to develop and explore ever changing delivery platforms, I see no reason why it will change.  The emotional response that radio can evoke remains totally unique.

5. Explain your process in choosing the right voiceover?

When choosing a voiceover for a project, there are a number of things that I’ll give consideration to. The most obvious being the direction of the copywriter (or even client). I will always read the script a couple of times to get a feel for it and then start to create a list of a few suitable voiceovers. In trying to narrow down this list there’s a few other things that I’ll consider such as speed (some voiceovers are much better at reading overwritten scripts), any geographical considerations and also whether they are already voicing on that particular station. In the interest of variety, we try to minimise the risk of commercials voiced by the same person playing back to back (I actually once heard the same voiceover on 3 ads in a row!) With experience, you’re quickly able to come to a suitable decision, although I’m wary that if you start to associate voices with a certain type of read, you can quickly fall into the trap of making the same ad over and over again. I’m increasingly seeking to choose a voiceover that I feel responds well to direction and try to push them out of their comfort zone. Hopefully that way, you end up with uniques sounding commercials that will really stand out on air. A voiceover willing to try new things is always desirable for a producer.

6. What puts you off using a voiceover?

 I’d say the main thing would have to be poor availability. On numerous occasions I’ve been contacted by new voices and when I’ve tried to book them, they haven’t been available for a couple of days. Unfortunately radio is still sold on the basis of being an instant medium, and therefore same day turnaround remains common. Its not going to be feasible to give somebody like that regular work. Another thing worth mentioning is the dreaded ‘enhanced showreel’. I guess its the same as using a model’s picture on your online dating profile. You’re gonna get found out pretty quickly in the real world. You need to be able to reproduce those performances under session conditions, otherwise its pointless. 

UKRD Group is a multi media company operating throughout the United Kingdom.  UKRD owns and operates 12 local commercial radio stations with a further 5 services delivered via DAB and, in conjunction with other investors, three local DAB multiplexes and jointly owns a national radio advertising sales house.

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