A first: An independent audio studio operates inside Leo Burnett offices

Two business friends have launched an idea whose time has come: An outside-operated in-house production service within a major agency. Chicago Recording veterans Mindy Verson and David Kaplan own-and-operate Audio Producers Group (APG) on the second floor of Leo Burnett’s offices on Wacker Drive. Engineer is Donovan Weyland, another CRC ex-staffer, and his assistant is Jeff Leibovich.

Producers Verson and Kaplan had pitched the idea of an independent in-house facility to Burnett’s production head, Jonathan Davis, who, coincidentally, had wanted to upgrade the agency’s idle in-house audio studio. The agreement was struck in January, the studio upgraded and remodeled, and ARG opened for business March 1.

Under the unique arrangement, APG is a tenant who pays a license fee at market value for the space. Leo Burnett is their client that brings them business and pays competitive prices for the services. “But there are no guarantees for us,” said Kaplan. “We have to win business on our own merits.”

APG offers voicecasting ? Verson’s expertise, voice recording, sound design, sound effects and manipulation, digital sound mixing and duplication.

APG partners Mindy Verson and David Kaplan were long-time CRC staffers.

The partners invested $50,000 of their own money to make “the room sonically one of the best in town,” said Verson. They replaced old analog with new digital equipment, completely rewired the studio and remodeled it.

Verson calls APG “a dream come true.” She and Kaplan are pleased and happy not only to have their own business, but to have it located within the agency. “This is a great place to be. The people here are gracious and nice, and there’s plenty of work to keep us busy,” she said.

While Burnett keeps the new facility humming, as an independent supplier, APG also can work for other agencies.

Verson spent 14 years at CRC, and had her own very successful voicecasting business for four years; Kaplan had been CRC’s sales and marketing director for six years. He left two years ago when CRC’s management changed.

APG is at 35 W. Wacker Dr.; phone, 312/220-5400. See www.audioproducersgroup.com.