Chris Weeg records a voice-over message in the recording studio of the Maentz Agency Wednesday. - Jamie Lusch

Your Call Is Very Important To Them

It's the bane of existence for anyone hoping for a quick answer over the phone: the hold button.

When calling everything from airlines and hotels to hospitals and newspaper offices, holding the line is an oft-repeated reality. But the idle moments waiting to talk to someone in this time-is-money world don't have to be a total loss. At least Chris Weeg doesn't think so.

The Maentz Agency creative director has compiled a lengthy list of comic on-hold messages to humor clients waiting to talk about dollars and cents at Michael L. Piels Certified Public Accountants in Medford.

"They're silly things that don't necessarily have to do with marketing," says Weeg, who fashions outside-the-box audio for the Medford advertising agency. "We've done some off-the-wall things and even had some people request to be put back on hold after we've wrapped up the situation."

While humor may go a long way in calming callers, most clients want to simply inform their captive audience of services and products, even sales or monthly specials.

"That's a pretty standard fare," Weeg says.

In 1989, years before going to work for Radio Medford, talk show host Garth Harrington formed a company called Inpho to provide on-hold messages. He built a clientele of 250 over a seven-year period before selling to Robert Vigil.

"If people are sitting there on hold and don't know that much about your company, it's a great opportunity," Harrington says. "A person can't buy something from you, it they don't know you have it."

Maentz keeps voice talent — whose voices, if not faces, are familiar to Rogue Valley residents — on retainer.

Brad Douglas, who splits time between Palm Springs and Central Oregon, has a portable audio booth that allows him to quickly turn around a voice-over for the agency, Weeg says. "We can call him in the morning and he can give us what we need in a few hours."

Traci Ann Swensgaard works out of her own in-house studio in Ashland.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.

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