Sam Wickens Finalist in 7th Annual Iron Imager Contest

Benztown announces that veteran UK audio imager Sam Wickens has been selected as the finalist in the 7th Annual Iron Imager Contest. Current Iron Imager champion Brad Leask, Network Imaging Producer for NOVA Entertainment in Sydney, Australia, will face off against Wickens in a head-to-head live competition on Thursday, May 3 at the Worldwide Radio Summit at the W Hollywood Hotel.

Benztown also recognized Iron Imager semi-finalists who captured Honorable Mention status in this year's competition. Those semi-finalists are:

  • Jonathan Young, Audio Producer, Global, London
  • Brendan Tacey, National Head of Production, Southern Cross Austereo, Melbourne
  • Jordana Klein, Imaging Producer and Voice Talent, Toronto
  • Chris Longman, Imaging Producer, Global, London
  • Ryan Drean, Worldwide Voiceovers and Audio Production, Dallas
  • Sergey Zelentsov, Head of Production, Europa Plus, Moscow
Leask and Wickens will demonstrate their imaging skills by producing an original imaging piece for a format unannounced until the day of the competition. Contestants will use elements from one of Benztown's 23 production libraries, voiceover talent roster, paired with a script from the Benztown team.

Iron Imager 2018 challenger Sam Wickens, 26, is Audio Production Assistant for Capital FM in Hornchurch, Essex (Greater London). Wickens' career started with a letter and a teabag -- a way to get his foot in the door, where he landed a job in 2016 with Capital FM, the UK's #1 Hit Music station, after earning a degree in audio production and working as an intern. Wickens works from Capital's Leicester Square office, creating audio content and imaging for over eight million listeners every day. He also handles major production projects for the Capital Network, including Capital's Summertime Ball and Jingle Bell Ball concerts at Wembley Stadium and the O2.

Iron Imager 2017 champion Brad Leask took home his first Iron Imager title last year. Leask has been NOVA Entertainment's Network Imaging Producer for the past four years. While undertaking an advanced Diploma of Sound Production at RMIT, Leask became part of NOVA Entertainment's Internship Program. In February, 2014, he joined that company as an Imaging Producer and within 12 months had developed his skills to take on his current role crafting the imagery for NOVA Entertainment's Nova and smoothfm networks, Star 104.5 and FIVEaa.

Benztown President Dave "Chachi" Denes said, "This UK-Aussie audio challenge has all the makings of an epic event - Two of the world's cutting edge imaging professionals battling it out live in Hollywood for the coveted Iron Imager belt. Brad and Sam are instrumental to the winning sounds of their respective brands. We are honored to bring them to the U.S. to showcase and celebrate their talent and the power of the world's best audio imaging. We also thank all the incredible imagers who threw their hats in the ring this year and are pleased to honor the other top contenders who raise the quality bar for this competition every year."

The 2018 Iron Imager will be declared and presented at 10:30am Pacific on Friday, May 4, in the General Session Room of the W Hollywood Hotel.

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