Pop Up Radio – Phoebe Hutchings

Production Week 1

In the first production week I thought about the kinda of segments we could do for the OB. Once we had established this we then started to compile a list of places we could go from previous knowledge and from online research, looking at websites like TimeOut. Once the clock had been established by the producers it was agreed that there would be two LIVE OB sections in each show each week. Our tasks for the next week were to find out if we could have two OB locations for each segment from Tim, and to do a recce of the locations we had chosen. I worked on a list of places to check out in the next week for 3 different sections we created, “Hidden Gems”, “The Food Challenge” and “What the Food?” and then allocated people from the OB team to the different locations to check out. I looked an an Ethiopian restaurant, an ice cream restaurant and a a vegan junk food shop. Unfortunately all were unsuitable all due to opening hours, not enough space, or too loud. But then the following week this changed, and it was decided by the producers that there would only be one OB segment for 5 minutes each show.

So this week as a team we looked at for more specific places. We looked and tried to find something with more of a purpose, that had a reason to be interesting for the audience to know about. Then with the help of my OB team we decided which the final places should be for each week. We also thought of some back ups in case they fell through. Me and the team then started to contact the food venues to tell them about what we were doing and asking them whether they would chat with us for the OB.

I’ve now gone through and edited the OB documents to fit what we have decided on and had now got confirmed. So far we have had one half of the pilot show OB destination confirm but not the other but we are going to go and talk to them again to hopefully get full confirmation and then a Vegan Pub for Vegan and Veggie week. I’m going to talk to the people chosen for fish week. I have been devising questions for next weeks pilot. I decided with my team to still do the food challenges but just for online so we are looking to contact them next. I’m also working on a package for the fish week and am also waiting to here back from a vegan football team about an interview with them. So far I feel I am making good progress with my team. 

I have informed Tim of our programme plan, telling him we will need 1 tie line for monday and for the following six weeks (on mondays) that will need 3G so to have enough credit on it.

Over all, I think the decision making process of the team was hard at the beginning but it got easier as everyone got more used to their roles. I think everyone has been working really hard and we have come up with some great ideas. After initial the ideas were decided i felt the work flow really picked up. I’m excited to hear how the shows sound altogether after the pilot next week.

Production Week 2 

This week was harder than the week before. Bombay Burrito didn’t get back to us even after calling again. So when then decided we would like to talk to BoxPark about BoxPark in general instead. BoxPark said they would be happy to talk. Although BoxPark had agreed to talk with us we waited for BoxPark to call but they were quite slow to reply to messages. It was getting closer and closer to the Monday and I was starting to feel worried. We rang over the weekend a few times but no reply. We rang again on Monday morning and the very nice women we had been going back and forth with said she would be too busy now unfortunately because of half term to talk that day. I had written questions for BoxPark, and luckily I had thought this may happen, and after doing some more thorough research on BoxPark, I had pre prepared some answers for the questions I had written that I would hope would be similar and in enough detail to what we where hoping for from our interviewee at BoxPark.

So for this first Pilot after a lot of stressing and trying to find another place last minute, we decided to do a test run with these question and answers on BoxPark for the real thing. Although this isn’t what I would have liked originally, it still gave us a lot of help in determining what works and what doesn’t for the next pilot and the real BoxPark interview. Before the pilot in our group, I wrote down who would be presenting and producing what week, we then got on the case for looking for places for the missing weeks we hadn’t got confirmation for. Harriet is going to find a place for desserts. We there did some run throughs practising our script for the Pilot that day, making sure it was precise and sounded the way it should, making sure it was as close to 5 minutes as possible and that we knew how to use the equipment. We did some practises with the studio making sure the connection all worked and everyone could hear each other before the Pilot too.

The pilot went well, although some of the songs over ran so we had 30 seconds shorter than we should have but we made it fit. We need to work on making it sound more natural though. I think all together as a group, the Pilot sounded really good and I was impressed with the content. I do think the group did get rather over stressed and angry with each other which was perhaps the one down full. Hopefully now the offical week is down this will have relieved some of the pressure and next week everyone will be a bit more relaxed. We then also had a meeting at 3:30pm with BoxPark with the women we had been in contact with to explain more about the project, with has now been confirmed we will be able to talk to them for world week on the 11th March.

From the Pilot I decided to only have one presenter each week, as I think it sounds better and would flow more, so I re wrote the schedule for each week of the new presenter/producer roles. We also made a target to keep contacting lots of places within the week to make sure we had a pilot confirmed as soon as possible so we didn’t have the same problem as this week.

Then later this week we have been told by the producers that we will have two slots again, and the slots have been extended to 7 minutes each. I am unsure about this second slot but we are going to talk about it as a group. We may create some food challenge packages instead of Live OBs for the second segment we have been given. Tonight at 6:30pm I am going to VX a vegan junk food place to do the hot dog challenge with Billy and Harriet and record it for the Vegan week, we will then put this together as a package and show the producers and rest of the class and see whether they think it is interesting and works. We have then arranged to go to Man Vs. Food at 1:30pm next Tuesday 26th which has lots of food challenges to maybe do a dessert one and a world food challenge. 

We also have had a confirmation from the best Fish and Chip shop in London, in Hern Hill – Olley’s. SO now we have Veggie and Vegan, World and fish confirmed and are just now trying to get a place confirmed for Dessert week. I have written questions for all of the weeks confirmed for the interviews. For the Pilot next week we are hoping to do a test run with Hollie from the Vegan Pub. If not a Ethiopian Restaurant in Kentish town or a Ice-cream place in Soho which we are waiting to hear back from.

I have been working on my package for Fish week, about different types of Seafood. So far I have done lots of research of Seafood and I have almost finished writing a script. I am going to record some Voxpops asking people what are their favourite types of Seafood tomorrow. 

Production Week 3

For the second Pilot, I was struggling to find another place for the OB. I had been making lists of places to call and to go and had been calling a few places a day. Unfortunately I was not having much luck as it seemed the timing was an issue for a lot of places. As the slot is at lunch time, this is peak time for a lot of restaurants, and many felt they would be too busy at this time or could not fully promise it would be possible depending on how many customers they had that day. Many said to come 3 or later. I also found for 3 places I talked to, Monday seemed to be the day they had meetings and Admin. Monday also seems to be a day that often is the day they are closed. It was getting rather frustrating that I couldn’t find anywhere, and also I did feel slightly as though I hadn’t been getting much help with finding a venue, but I understood that the others had other departments to work on too. It was hard as I had been having some complications at home so I was trying to juggle those issues with the issues of finding someone to agree to an interview. On Sunday, I was determined to find somewhere.

I went and walk around Islington, around Upper street as it is close to me and is known for its numerous restaurants and cafes. I have just got a new job at a world music venue and Indian restaurant on upper street and it’s such a shame they are closed on Mondays as my boss is so knowledgeable on Indian food it would have made a great interview. I went into 16 cafes/restaurants all based around upper street and essex road that I had found online and thought looked interesting and then some ones I just stumbled across and thought could be interesting. I found 3 places that were possible places. One was a Turkish restaurant called Gallipoli Again (it is the second Gallipoli restaurant on Upper street) which said yes it was fine to come and talk to them. Then I had a place for a back up called Brother Marcus that said to ring up at 9am to double check with the boss but it should be fine, and then for the second slot I had got a yes from a sugar free bakery called Romeos just down the road. I felt very relieved to have found somewhere.

But then at 10:30pm Sunday evening after confirming the food places with the rest of the group and the producers, I had received a message from Mary asking about how I would put a Vegan twist on my questions for the Vegan Pilot. This completely through me off as I had had no idea that this pilot was a Vegan week Pilot I had thought it was world food again. So I did slightly panic as the Turkish Place I had created questions that were based around turkish food and world cuisine. I then spent all evening getting numbers and locations for vegan restaurants that open before 11am so my group could ring places in the morning. I felt very stressed in the morning. We rang up 10 places and unfortunately none of them would do it. So we decided that it was more important to just practice any interview with someone even if it was vegan so we decided to stick with the original places I found and me and Harriet headed to Islington.

When we arrived at Gallipoli we had a complication. The manager that was in, said he had not been told by his colleague about the interview and said that it was not possible as they were preparing for a party. Although I had been told the schedule was free the previous day. So we could not interview them. So we quickly decided to go the bakery down the road to see if they could do the earlier slot. When we arrived, the lady Claudi was currently working on her own and said she could do it she would just need to get her colleague to come up and cover her. We had 20 minutes until being live on air, and we need to set up and go over our questions. We made the decision to not do the interview in the first slot as we felt it was too rushed as it took a while to set up and Claudi had quite a few customers to serve. So for the first OB slot, we talked about Upper street, and the bakery and described what was there and what our food tasted like. Then we ate our food, waiting and prepared ourselves more for the interview for the second slot. We did the interview in the second slot with Claudi and she was brilliant. She was very knowledgable about the bakery and vegan and sugar free food and gave us a great interview. It was a shame to have to stop her talking! So although we had a rocky start, it worked out well in the end which I was relieved about after feeling stressed.

I think over all the show went better than the first pilot and sounded great, I was impressed with what the class had managed to pull together. We also tried to go and do a vegan challenge on Thursday but unfortunately they had ran out of some of the ingredients for the Mega Kebab so we were unable to do it.

Now it is all about the vegan week next week. We have a the first Vegan Pub confirmed but Hollie (one of the managers) has let us know that they are having problems as Fuller’s will not renew their lease and she is super busy but said she would confirm by yesterday whether Monday is ok but she said it should be. We have not heard anything and I am starting to worry slightly. So I have said to the group today that we need to start looking for more places now. Unfortunately a lot of the backups I had wanted to use are the ones we called on Monday, so I will have to re think. I’m slightly worried as I am working two 11 hour shifts over the weekend so I hope I can find some back ups tomorrow after my meeting for my other module.

Over all with this module I am finding it quite difficult as I have found it is taking up a lot of time compared to my other modules and I have found I haven’t had much time to spend on my dissertation. I didn’t think it would be so difficult to find places for each week but I guess from this course I am used to people being unpredictable and delaying and changing their minds about things. I just hope that things run smoothly for Vegan week.

Production Week 4

We waited until Wednesday when Hollie from the (Vegan Pub) said she would get back to us by to see if she had given us an update on whether Monday was possible. We didn’t hear anything so we tried to get in contact with Hollie again but it wasn’t going well. So we started looking for new places. I rang 3 places and no luck but Billy managed to get a restaurant that showed quite a keen interest straight away. This was with Redemption Bar, a sugar free, vegan, gluten free, alcohol free restaurant with high reviews. They said to send an email through with questions and explaining a bit more about what it is about. A women Zoe then agreed to it and said we could meet her on Monday. It has 3 branches across London and they agreed to meet at the covent garden one.

On the Monday, we had some problems with the 3G signal which was a shame which meant we did the first hit of the OB through the phone but it still sounded good. The second hit with the interview was great. The women was very knowledgable and spoke well on the topics. I think the presenting could have maybe sounded a bit more relaxed but I understand the difficulties of trying to fit an interview in a small amount of time, especially as the time was shortened to 3 and a half minutes instead of 7 which I felt was bad as Zoe was expecting much longer and more questions. It was communicated back that it seemed rushed but that is down to this shortening of time. What she said fitted with the show. The levels were apparently were a bit low but that can be made sure to be better next week. Matthew felt the OB still needs more set up, with some more script to explain what the why are you there, and what is coming up later. We will make sure a more thought out script is written next week. Images were also forgotten to be sent directly after the food had been served for socials but there was an issue with the fact the food took over an hour to come for Harriet and Billy, but hopefully the food will come quicker next week.

I think over all the station sounded good this week. The interviews and guests were strong.

We had planned to use BoxPark this week for an interview but we are not sure whether that is possible right now. So we are looking for new places. So far I have rang up 9 businesses with nothing confirmed yet, including South African, Burmese, Portuguese, Iranian, Serbian, Ethiopian, Moroccan and Iranian. I have sent some follow up emails from this but have had no real confirmation yet from anyone. I am determined today to get a confirmation today (Thursday 7th March). I have a new list of places to ask. I think it has been decided by Mary that I am going to present all of the shows the next few weeks. I was worried this was unfair on my team but i’m hoping they are ok with this.

Production Week 5

On Saturday, Minnie managed to secure us in interview with Tony Kitous who is the owner of the highly rated chain of Lebanese restaurants Comptoir Libanais. He also is the owner of the restaurant Levant in Marlybone. This is where we met him and is the restaurant we talked to him about, as it was his first restaurant.  I went with Jason on the Monday, and I had some questions prepared. I was excited about this interview as Tony sounded a very interesting man. I had decided for this week to focus on mainly questions about his interesting journey into cooking and then also about Lebanese food, as I thought the listeners would be interested in learning about what Lebanese food and cooking is. This worked well. Tony was a good speaker and I was happy with the interview. The only issue with this week is that the restaurant was underground, which meant we had a few problems with the the tieline getting signal, the wifi didn’t seem to work, but we managed to resolve the problem with using a ethernet cable which they kindly let us plug in. We also managed to get some photos this week which was good but the restaurant was really low level lighting so it was hard to get a good quality photograph. On thing I need to remember to do if recap where the restaurant is at the start of the interview, in case people missed the first part.

Over all I think it was an interesting show this week, and we made an improvement on our mark from last week which is great.

For fish week, we had Olley’s Fish experience booked. Which was classed as the best fish and chip shop in London. I sent a text to Harry to check this was still ok. He said yes he was still up for the interview, but that they weren’t open until 5pm on Monday. This hadn’t been mentioned before and I hadn’t herd this information from Rhys before (as Rhys had been the one who was in touch with Harry). But after speaking on the phone, he said that it would be ok, and he would open the shop early for us which was very kind. So i already have questions prepared and I’m hoping all will go well again on Monday.

I have also been creating a Seafood Package for Seafood week about what Seafood is and the different types. This originally was supposed to be 5 minutes, then Rhys asked me to edit it to 4, then to 2 minutes. I completed this on Thursday, which i think went well, but I felt I wasn’t completely sure what the producers where after. I found it hard to find an appropriate bed, but I gave a bunch of different versions of the audio with options to Rhys as he wasn’t sure on the first one. I think it was ok.

Production Week 6

Fish week I felt went well. We interviewed Harry, the owner of Ollie’s fish experience. He was an amazing man, who was very kind and his hospitality was incredible. He gave us lots and lots of food to try for free and even asked if we wanted to come in the kitchen to get the sound of the food sizzling in the fryers. The first tease went well, although the question about why these are the best chips threw me off a bit, as I had no idea why they were the best fish and chips, I felt like it was more a question for Harry as I had never been to the restaurant before or tasted the food and there was nothing they did differently from other fish and chip shops except they use sustainable fish and their customer service is great. I was going to ask Harry that in the interview. There was also a question of “Where is Olley’s?” which I found strange as the first thing I had said when opening the tease was “I am here at Olley’s fish experience which is located in Hern Hill right next to Brockfield Park” so it slightly made the presenters sound as though they hadn’t been listening. I shouldn’t have mentioned Billy being there tho but I will remember that for next time.

The interview itself went well I feel, Harry was a good speaker with a good character and humour. He made the restaurant sound fun and friendly and appealing. The timing was all fine and we worked well hack and forth. I felt I kept the energy level up better this week. This week luckily we had no issues with the tie line which was great. Again, I need to remember to do if recap where the restaurant is at the start of the interview as I forgot about that again. One thing from this week and last week I need to try and improve is to cut in a little more with the interviewee, to move the interview along and the discussion onto other issues, such as those raised elsewhere in the programme. I needed to push more to get the answers I want, but I find it hard interrupting people or coming across rude or blunt but I will try and be more confident in doing this for the final show next week. Apparently as well the levels weren’t great and there was some popping, it’s because we were sat very close and he kept leaning in to the mic more as he was videoing this himself he wanted us both in shot. I tried to pull the mic back but when I pulled it further back he leant in more. I also need to remember to mention that you can see some pictures of the food and restaurant on our socials too. But over all I think it went well and people were happy with the sound of it.

Over all the show was great, we had some fantastic guests and are mark has improved again.

The feedback from my package was that it was good but there is a lot of information to take on board. I can here this too now listening back and there should have been longer gaps in between what I was saying and maybe I should have cut some parts out so there was less information. I did find it hard to cover “What is Seafood” in 2 minutes so I was concerned that if i had put less information in I would have been told there enough things said or it wasn’t clear enough. One thing that was said is I could have done it on location but I wasn’t sure were I would have done this that made it sound like I was somewhere that sold fish in particular with out it just sounding like I was in any shop or any outside location. I also should have had more sound effects or different music for the country variations, I did have these in my previous 5 minute package, I had japanese, chinese, jamacian, and British music when I talked about Sushi, Fish cakes, Salt fish and fish and chips but I had cut that out but I should have done it for the odd types of seafood I mentioned.

For the Final week, on Monday while me and Billy were at the OB Minnie got Naked Dough, which is the UK’s first Cookie Dough Cafe which is brilliant. We are going to their branch in Westfields shopping centre. Harriet has written the questions for this week, so we are all set to go. I’m looking forward to the final week and seeing how we can make the last show a big blow out.

Production week 7

For the Final show, we started the day early, with people setting up the “pop up kitchen” we decided to have with a live streaming of the show online. It was very exciting. In the morning, I finalised the questions and got some background information for the OB tease about Naked Dough for the first 3 minutes. Harriet was my producer. We had some issues with the tieline when setting up, as it wouldn’t connected to the wifi of westfeilds, of Naked Dough or me and Harriet’s phones. this was stressful, so we had to do the first OB hit on the phone which went fine. Although, we had just got the tieline to work a few minutes before the hit but we couldn’t get through to the studio to tell them. From feedback from the guest editor, he said that it was only until the second OB hit he could tell that something must have been up with the equipment in the first hit, he said it sounded fine though for the first bit, but I needed to give more purpose of why I was there. I found this difficult as this has been something that has been mentioned each week but I have been unsure to the reason why apart from that it is an interesting place for listeners based in London to check out.  Most of our places have been the “first” or “best” of so that has been one of our main reasons which I have tried to mention. The interview I feel went well, Hannah was a good speaker. I felt maybe I said the word “wow” and “amazing” too much but I was aware of it, I think I felt a bit more nervous this day for some reason then before. Timings all went well, although our first OB hit was a few minutes earlier then usual.

I think over all the pop up kitchen looked great and the guests where fantastic, I think it was an ambitious idea and even with some complications it was pulled off well. I think a tremendous amount of effort was put in by our class this year to come together to create something really special.

One thing I have found is that it was much more difficult than I originally thought it would be to get restaurants/cafes to agree to interviews. The hardest part was the responses. I found many times I would ring places and they would tell me that they would take my number and give it to the manager to call me back. It was very slow to get responses, and after calling a place twice in the week I wouldn’t want to try again as I knew I wouldn’t have a full commitment to the interview. So many places never called or email back even after following up conversations. It was also difficult due to the timing of the show. As the show was at lunch time, many places said it would be too busy. Monday also a lot of places are closed, and a lot of places do admin and meetings on Monday as it is the start of the week. I felt like I spent so much time every week trying to find a place that was exciting, that was open at the right time and that fitted our criteria that I didn’t have much time to work on my other modules, as I HAD to have a place confirmed for every week. This has caused quite a lot of stress on me added with some personal factors. So although it has been fun, I am also glad it has come to an end now..! I did also find that there were quite a few last minute changes every week which sometimes made it harder, but I understand that the changes were made to make improvements so it was ok but sometimes some more warning could have been good or more communication.

This has given me more confidence in phone calls though as I have always found phoning people and companies very very intimidating and nerve racking especially for university projects. It has always helped me to remember to be persistent and keep chasing things up. It has improved my professional communication. It has also improved my team work skills. And it has showed me what it would be like to work in legitimate working environment or radio station, and how each role coincides with each other. How the editors, producers and different departments communicate and with each other and work together.

Food Radio I listened to for inspiration –

Examples of Food Radio and Podcasts

The Food Programme – BBC Radio 4

The Menu – Podcast

Good Food | Food & Cooking Stories | KCRW

The Food Chain – BBC World service

For Starters – Podcast

Desert Island Dips

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