LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 2009: Christopher Springmann put a lucrative and satisfying career as a spokesperson for high-end photography equipment manufacturer Hasselblad and professional photographer for publications like Time, Fortune, Business Week, National Geographic, on the back burner to pursue a higher calling. In 2003, Springmann launched “Life Love & Health,” an engaging radio and new media program that has quickly become the most listened-to, daily health and lifestyle program in the world, reaching 6.4 million people daily via outlets such as Sirius XM Satellite Radio, CNN, FOX, ESPN, Bloomberg, Wal-Mart Radio, HealthRadio.net, Voice of America, and American Forces Network.
In the most important respects, Springmann was well-equipped for his new work. He possesses the voice, the spontaneity, the passion to effect positive change, the creative wit, and the critical instinct for the good interview. But there was one significant challenge. Springmann knew every nuance of professional photography, from techniques to gear, but a knowledge of even some of the most basic high-end professional broadcasting techniques and gear eluded him. “Most people in broadcast first started when they were teenagers,” he observed. “In college, they took classes on every aspect of the profession, and by the time they were my age they had decades of experience. I knew that my program had to have a professional sound to compete in the crowded radio market, and it took a lot of help to make it happen.”
That said, Springmann did have a critical ear to help guide him. He knew when things sounded good and when they didn’t. And he was no stranger to the concept of high-end equipment, as any photographer familiar will Hasselblad will attest. “With the help of the engineers I hired and the friends I made in the industry, I naturally gravitated toward Sennheiser and Neumann,” he said. “My first mic was a Sennheiser MD 46, and then on to a Neumann BCM 104 a few years later.”
Recently, Springmann contacted Thom Wilkins, freelance voiceover talent with a First Class Radio Telephone License (National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, DHL, FAA) and collector of the highest of the high-end microphones, preamps, signal processors, and converters. He wanted some advice. “Christopher was ready to take his sound to the next level,” recalled Wilkins. “He has such a rich, melodious voice, and although there are many mics in my cabinet that would complement it, I recommended my go-to mic, the Neumann U 87. I felt that its sweet mid-range would work well for Chris.”
Nevertheless, Wilkins also recommended a few other possibilities, and Springmann found a local studio that had them all. “As the magazines would put it, I did my own private mic shootout,” he laughed. “I learned a lot. The engineer, Erik Reimers of San Francisco’s Polarity Post, took the time to improve my mic technique and to really point out the subtle differences between the mics. In the end, we both agreed that the U 87 won the day!”
But Wilkins didn’t stop there. He also recommended a collection of preamps, both tube and solid state, that might complement the Neumann U 87. In the end, Springmann found the Grace m101 to be the most pleasing. “Life, Love & Health” engineer Max Kline commented, “The U 87 has such a warm, full, authoritative tone, and the Grace makes it even better. Together, the Neumann U 87 and the Grace m101 become a force to be reckoned with.”
The rest of the studio consists of an eight by ten-foot VocalBooth.com recording room with a three by six-foot producer’s window facing out toward an L-shaped configuration of multi-tiered IKEA tables. An Apple iMac loaded with Pro Tools and backed up by a Glyph hard drive serves as the system’s “brain,” with a Digi 002 for input. Three Neumann BCM 104s provide high-end pickup for guests with a Rane MH4 headphone console for monitoring. The studio connects with the outside world via a Telos XStream for ISDN and a Radio Systems DI-2000 two-line digital telephone hybrid.
Indeed, with the new sound, Springmann has launched a new one-hour program, an expanded version of the daily show, called “Life Love & Health: Special Edition” on HealthRadio.net, the leading Internet health talk radio network.
ABOUT NEUMANN Neumann’s award-winning line of microphones has set the standard in the industry since 1928. In 1999, Neumann received the prestigious Technical Grammy(r) for its 70 years of innovation in microphone design and contribution to the music industry. A continuing commitment to provide innovative, technically-refined products and engineering solutions of proven quality ensures that Neumann’s stature will remain unassailable.
Neumann is proudly affiliated with the Sennheiser Group, which also encompasses Klein + Hummel (renowned sound reinforcement solutions) and Sennheiser Communications (technologically advanced headsets for PCs, offices and call centers). Neumann products are distributed exclusively in the United States, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean through Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, located in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
PHOTO CAPTION “You’re listening to Life, Love & Health…” These words said by Christopher Springmann through a Neumann BCM 104 are heard by 6.4 million listeners daily on multiple traditional and new media platforms, including Sirius XM Satellite Radio, CNN, FOX, ESPN, Bloomberg, Wal-Mart Radio, HealthRadio.net, Voice of America, and American Forces Network.