Paul & Walt Worldwide Converting Ears to Eyes: Article by Southern California Broadcasters Association

CBS, News, Paul Fey, Walt Jaschek

This article first appeared in Call Letters, the member newsletter of the Southern California Broadcaster Association, in Fall, 1995.

murphy-brown-candice-bergman-1994

Paul & Walt Worldwide just completed a Fall Sweeps radio campaign promoting CBS-TV, including hit show “Murphy Brown.” Candice Bergen and cast, above.

Paul & Walt Worldwide Converting Ears to Eyes

A Southern California ad agency with the unlikely name of Paul & Walt Worldwide created a “huge radio extravaganza” recently, included appearances by the Temptations, Candice Bergen, Connie Chung and the stars of Designing Women to help client CBS-TV score a major upset, winning its first Fall Sweeps ratings victory in Southern California in six years.

The radio “theatre of the mind” – which recently won a SUNNY for best television promotion – featured a cast of thousands and two CBS-TV sportscasters describing the action with Connie Chung playing the saxophone and the Temptations executing simultaneous backflips. The spots also featured the stars of Designing Women in a dazzling exhibition of synchronized swimming.

“This was a perfect opportunity,” says partner Paul Fey, “to make a major effort on radio and use the medium for what it does so well: utilize the listeners’ imaginations.

CBS-TV made a major commitment to win the Fall premiere week and sweeps battle with new programming and promotion after finishing poorly for several years. The company made the biggest radio campaign in history as part of the massive, multi-media drive.

To tie in with the television campaign, CBS-Tv saturated Southern California radio over Labor Day weekend. Paul & Walt produced eight related radio spots built around a fictional event: the “CBS Get Ready Weekend.”

The agency’s two principals, Paul Fey and Walt Jaschek, had separate, successful ad careers prior to joining forces as Paul & Walt Worldwide. Fey began his career at CBS-owned KMOX-TV, St, Louis, creating radio for the station’s audience promotion efforts. Jaschek was simultaneously working as Creative Director for a Colorado ad agency. By 1982 they were each winning national awards. Since then, they’ve won more than 300.

“Walt and I met in 1974 in college when we were both journalism majors and worked on the college newspaper together,: says Walt Jaschek. “Paul used to collect Dick Orkin and Alan Barzman radio spots, and I would ask him, ‘When are we going to great stuff like that?'”

When Paul Fey was writing and producing alone, he was getting job offers from CBS stations who were aware of his work for KMOX. “I didn’t really want to do the same thing in L.A. or New York,” he says. “I really wanted to hold out just enough, to go into business for myself and work for all them. I did that in 1985, and within a few months I was a one-man shop, writing and producing and doing most of my work in Los Angeles. The business was growing fast and needed some help.”

Fey’s school chum Walt, having moved back to St. Louis to become an advertising manager for Southwestern Bell, eventually realized his goal of free-lancing.

The two joined forces fives years ago when Paul got a huge assignment. Since that time Walt has become the full-time writer and Paul participates in concept work and takes care of the business and production end. 

In addition to CBS-TV, the agency does creative work for King Word (distributors of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy”,) Warner Bros. and Anheuser-Busch.

“We love working in radio,” says partner Jaschek. “It lets us supply endless visuals and the listener completes the pictures we create.”

“The only downside to doing radio,” adds Fey, “is that you can’t convince the client that the radio spot has to be done on location in Hawaii like you can with a TV spot.”

2019 update: Paul Fey now runs World Wide Wadio in Hollywood, California. Walt Jaschek now runs Walt Now Creative  in St. Louis. The two continue to collaborate on… radio. In the 2018, Paul & Walt were inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame.

 

Advertisements

Walt Jaschek: Bio for Paul & Walt Worldwide

Bio, Walt Jaschek

waltjaschek-listens-to-radio-02

Two prophetic things happened to Walt Jaschek at the University of Missouri – St. Lous in the early 1970s. First, he met and became friends with Paul Fey, who, like Jaschek, served as editor the college newspaper, The Current. (See a story about that.) “We shared passions for media and marketing, and daydreamed about someday going into business together,” Jaschek says.

Second, he received a degree in Speech Communications. “At the time, I was set on becoming writer for print, and didn’t really think my career would have anything to do with my degree in a literal sense.”

After stint in corporate PR for Southwestern Bell Telecom, Walt realized his love of comedy and broadcast media was better suited for the world of advertising, which treasured humorous commercials that could stand out and sell products. He became creative director for advertising agencies in Colorado and his native St. Louis.

In 1988, Jaschek launched his own full-time freelance writing business, which led, through frequent collaborations with producer Paul Fey, to the formation of Paul & Walt three years later.

In 1991, after separate successful career tracks, Jaschek and Fey teamed up as Paul & Walt Worldwide, a company specializing in funny radio commercials. “Amazing!,” says Jaschek. “Paul and I get to work together on a daily basis — and I have actually have a job that involves speech communications.”

Jaschek is partner and head writer of the firm, scripting many of its campaigns and participating in its marketing and development. As the company’s awards stack up, Walt is most proud of a CLIO Award for “Best Radio Copywriting.” It went to the agency’s spot “Missing Persons” for WCIX-TV.

Though he lives in St. Louis, Jaschek “commutes” to the company’s Los Angeles headquarters via phone, email, and sometimes plane. His scripts are now included in advertising copywriting textbooks, and he is an adjunct professor of advertising at Webster University in St. Louis.

Regarding the mission of Paul & Walt Worldwide, Jaschek says:

“We position ourselves as the next generation of radio specialists, picking up the mantle from those creators who inspired us in our college days,” Jaschek says. “We are trying to keep the tradition of great radio alive and take it places it’s never been before.”

In his spare time, Walt writes copy, content and comics at WaltNow.com, where he declares himself “Director of Fun.” Fun: it’s a running theme for Paul and Walt. Since those college days and beyond.

Walt’s latest project: Attorneys in Space!™

Paul & Walt Worldwide home | About | News | Contact

 

“Behind Radio’s Zany Commercials”: Article on Paul & Walt Worldwide From Radio World

News, Paul Fey, Walt Jaschek

RW_logo_1108

This article by Dee McVicker appeared in Radio World®, Vol. 17, No. 23, December 8, 1993.

watermarked-paulfey-waltjaschek-logopose-1991

Behind Radio’s Zany Commercials

by Dee McVicker

LOS ANGELES  

It has been said that a radio station is only as good as its commercials. That axiom has served Paul Fey and Walt Jaschek well.

Widely acclaimed for their sharp sense of humor, the team is nationally recognized as the creative genius behind a number of radio spots promoting the seasonal lineup of shows for TV networks.

Their client list includes King World, Warner Brothers Television, 20th Century Television and CBS Television Network. 

“If a commercial is boring and doesn’t hold their attention, we can’t blame them if they reach up and hit the button on the car radio,” said Paul Fey, founding partner of Paul & Walt Worldwide. “We want to stop them in their tracks.”

Fey and Jaschek have been on the laugh track since high school, winning some 400 awards for excellence in commercial production, including three Clios and two regional Emmys. The team walked award with the five Ollies in one evening, setting a record for the most awards won by one company in the Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s annual presentation.

One Ollie was presented for a Paul & Walt commercial, “Auditions,” in which Patrick Stewart is among the voices trying out for the part of Jean Luc Picard in “Star Trek.”

Of all the awards (which stream in at a rate of 50 a year), Fey is most partial to the team’s first Clio. Fey aspired to win a Clio since his high school years, and recalls vividly the magic feeling of creating the spot.

It was a radio ad featuring a “catalog” of types of laughter. “The whole spot was kind of invented on Walt’s front porch. It just sort of came out… It wrote itself,” he said.

What keeps this team on the leading edge? “We never want to get satisfied with doing the same thing,” Fey said, pointing out that too many comedy teams rely on formulaic humor.

“Once upon a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, funny dialogue radio spots were what broke through the clutter. Now, I feel that funny dialogue spots are becoming the clutter, because there is so much of it out there,” Fey said.

Radio in particular lends itself to production-oriented spots, where a hybrid of audio effects, humor and dialogue work together. “It’s much easier to do a gigantic-scale production on radio because a lot of it is letting people’s minds fill it in,” he said.

A recent Paul & Walt commercial for a cellular telephone carrier, for example, camped up the Beach Boys’ “I Get Around” with a polka beat accompanied by amusing dialogue, delivered in a deadpan voice:

“I get around, so I signed up for voice mail. I used to leery about sending voice mail. I wasn’t sure if I was putting enough stamps on it.”

As the music cut in and out abruptly, the deadpan voice again speaks up:

“Voice mail is easy. Think of it as rolling up a yellow sticky-note, jamming it into your cellular phone, and having it pop out somewhere else.”

Life begins for a Paul & Walt spot with an idea, either dreamed up by Fey, the production genius of the team, or Jaschek, the primary writer. Fey works from the Paul & Walt Worldwide office in Los Angeles, while Jaschek works from his office in St. Louis, the city where they both grew up.

They communicate through faxes and computer modems to tighten ideas, copy and production of radio ads.

The spot takes life in the imagination long before it is committed to tape. “It’s no exaggeration for me to say that I know exactly what a spot sounds like before it’s recorded,” Fey said. “The key is trying to put on tape what’s in my head.”

Paul & Walt fleshes out the characters, relying on a pool of creative talent from an audio studio in the same building as its Los Angeles office.

“People get accustomed to thinking of radio in a certain way,” said Fey, who claims the company owes its success to breaking those conventions. The plan for the future is to continue carving out new niches in radio commercials.

Paul & Walt Worldwide is now working on a project that Fey hopes will set a new milestone in how people perceive radio. He was mum about who the client is and the product, saying only that he is not bound to the conventions of 30 or 60 seconds for the spots.

“We’ve barely scratched the surface of what we can do with radio,” he said.

Update, 2019: Paul currently runs World Wide Wadio in Hollywood. Walt runs Walt Now Entertainment in St. Louis. They both continue to collaborate on… radio.