Production week 1:

As a team we have chosen to do a gospel show on a gospel radio station. The station we have chosen is Premier Gospel and we will do our show as if it were to air on it. We had a vote and our show will be called Blessed. The name fits in with the radio station and gives a feeling about what our the style and sound that our show will be. Our show demographic will be from 18-35 with a male and female split and we have decided to focus on young families.

The role I have chosen is to be part of the news team. For our show, I will gather, write and then present the news. Tony, the other half of the news team will be the reporter voice. The news style will differ from other commercial radio news stations because it is a gospel show on a gospel radio station, and this means we will approach the news in a gentle and calm way as opposed to hard hitting and often brutal news telling. Our first thoughts and plan for the news are as follows,

-There will be three news’ at the top of each hour lasting between 2-3 minutes (This time needs to be decided either 2 or 3 when the clock is drawn up)
-The second news will have a two minute found news feature that we have sourced ourselves, taking the news time total up to either 4 or 5 minutes for this (in the style of Newsbeat on radio one)
-Working on this feature we are looking at a young gospel choir or possibly the shoe box appeal or something that is church friendly
-There will be a branded bed under the news
– It will feature local weather
– Tom has suggested it also features travel as it is a big issue in London
-There will be one voice for newsreader and one voice for reporter. The reporter voice breaking up the news. Voiced in the feature and on the day.
-It will feature national news but mainly focus on local to London news

We decided that the live news will be presented from the middle studio and that we will self operate it. The presenters, Curtis and Molly, will be running their own desk and so it makes sense for the news team to do this also.

We had our first play list meeting in which we discussed the music and sound of our show. We came up with The station’s music output includes urban/contemporary and old-school/gold gospel music.

      • A list – contemporary popular

      • B list – established coming down or potential to become A

      • C list – new music new sounds

      • Gold list – Classics

As we are focusing on young families and people between 18-35 we have swayed away from traditional gospel and focusing on new and fresh music. Although some new gospel sounds quite rap-esque, and we wanted it to have more of an upbeat and happy feel still. With of course some gold list classics from the old era mixed up through it.

Today, Tommy, our Social Media Producer took some photos of the presenting and news teams for our online presence and social media. We are planning to start putting content and news content up on the sites before the live show. For this I will start looking around for news stories that will suit our show.

Production week 2:

Today I started off by writing a short paragraph describing what the news will entail. This will help to give us a clear understanding of how to produce the news bulletin. Lucy, our producer, has planned on the show clock that the news bulletin will last for three minutes.

We then had a practice in Burli to refresh ourselves with how it all works. We planned to do a practice news bulletin at 12pm. Tony and I gave ourselves just over an hour to write and put together the news. We each planned to do two stories each lasting thirty seconds with the intro, outro, news and weather making up a minute, totaling the whole bulletin to three minutes.

I had a look through the top news stories of the morning and sifted through which ones were suitable for Premier Gospel. For example there was a story detailing UKIP misspending EU funds, which I decided not to use because it did not fit in with the tone of our show. Instead I opted news that was relevant to our target audience of young people and families aged between 18-35. The stories featured Hilary Clinton, the British Association of Car Insurers culling people making fraudulent claims, and young families not being able to afford heating (which got cut in the final bulletin edit). Tony’s stories focused on Jaguar cars and the travel and weather among other things. I read through the news at 12 O’clock and we only ran over by 12 seconds which was not too bad for a first attempt.

Thinking about and listening back to the bulletin it was quite impersonal and didn’t have anything in it that set it apart from other news stations that made it Premier Gospel worthy. I think in the next practice we need to focus on making more content ourselves. For example I would like to make some wraps using Tony’s voice for the reporter. I would then like to find some Christian or gospel based stories to write. I would also then like to have some stories more local to London and the gospel community. This is what I will focus on and try to do when I have my next practice and run through and I think it will make the end result much better.

I then wrote a news story to be put up on the Premier Gospel website to build up an archive of news stories and make us look like an established radio station news centre. My story is entitled ‘Charities encourage Christian parents to talk to their children about anxiety’. This story fits in with our target audience and demographic. I plan to write at least one story a week leading up to the show.

Production week 3:

We had a meeting and feedback from Matthew, which was very helpful. When talking about the news he said it would be a great idea to source an original news story so this is something I am going to focus on.

I wrote a news production plan as follows:

Intro – 10 seconds

Story 1 – Top national news – 40 seconds of copy and actuality

Story 2 – Top local news – 30 seconds of copy

Story 3 – gospel/Christian angle news – 40 seconds of wrap

Story 4 – gospel/Christian angle news – 30 seconds of copy

Weather – 20 seconds

Outro – 10 seconds

This will help myself and Tony to plan and structure the writing of the news bulletin. And following on from the feedback last week we have included more Gospel/Christian focused news to fit in with Premier Gospel.

We planned to do a pre-pilot pilot today but with all the planning we decided to only do the first half an hour. The presenters and producers took time to practice the links while myself and Tony wrote a news bulletin. I practiced doing a wrap with Tony’s voice as the reporter so that now I am fully comfortable with them and will be able to do them during the live show. I was much more happy with the overall feel and look of the news bulletin this time as it included more interesting use of audio and techniques, for example copy, actuality and wraps. It also included two Christian angled stories so it felt more personal and aimed to a Gospel station and to our demographic.

James and I then listened to beds for the news and weather and chose ones that we thought would fit because they had light upbeat feel to them. We then did a practice bulletin. I practiced reading through the news and weather with the beds underneath for the first time. It sounded good, it sounded like Premier Gospel. I obviously need to practice a little bit more so I don’t stumble over the words. In the live show I will make sure that I take time to read through the script beforehand so I don’t have any nasty surprises! But overall for a first go, I was moderately happy. You can listen to the news bulletin below;

I looked on some Christian news websites to get ideas about stories and styles of writing. I then wrote another story to be uploaded onto the website regarding a Pentecostal Symposium happening in London over the weekend, this in keeping with the style of our show, our demographic and local to London.

Then it was time to focus on sourcing an original new story for our bulletin. I researched the Shoebox appeal and found out it is run by The Samaritans which is a Christian charity, and is great for our station! I found a telephone number and called them and after explaining myself I finally got through to someone called David Taylor in their head office. He seemed extremely interested and happy to help (even after I explained it would not go out live or be heard by an audience). He explained that the collections for the appeal had finished but offered to put me in touch with a Regional Manager who looks after the volunteer shoebox packing centres. I have emailed my details to David to put me in touch with the Regional Manager and am waiting to hear back about going in to conduct an interview. I’ll chase in a few days if I haven’t heard anything. In the meantime I will research some other ideas in case I don’t get an interview with this one.

Production week 4:

I hadn’t heard back from the Shoebox Appeal yet so to be safe I have looked up some homeless charities local to Harrow and London. I telephoned four charities and each one gave me an email address and told me to email them, which I did. I have received a reply from FirmFoundation which is a charity that helps the homeless in Harrow. I am in the process of setting up a time for Tony to go and interview them (Tony being the reporter voice for the news bulletin).

The interview will take place on Tuesday to give us enough time to edit the mini package to be added to news for the show. I wrote a script and some questions for Tony as follows;

Firm Foundation Questions

Presenter: As the days and nights grow colder and we enter the dark winter months, we should be thinking of people less fortunate than ourselves. We sent our reporter Tony Basten to Firm Foundation, a Charity in Harrow, North-West London, to see what good work they are doing to help the homeless this December.

Reporter: I’m joined now by Julian Saunders of Firm Foundation:

  • Hi Julian can you tell me a little bit about what Firm Foundation does?

  • What can the listeners of Premier Gospel do to help?

  • What should people do if they see someone sleeping rough?

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I want to keep the questions and answers quite short as its only about a minute to a minute and half time slot to fill.

PILOT DAY!

It was great to have a chance to practice the news bulletins in a time sensitive way today. I believe the news went okay but we have received some constructive feedback to work on. I realised that when there is a deadline my news writing can become a little sloppy. We were taught to write in short, to the point sentences that sound right when spoken out loud. I sort of forgot this in the rush and some of the news sounded a bit jumbled and confusing, because of the long and jumbled together sentences. I will focus on the writing and vocabulary for the final show. The structure was something else that didn’t quite work. Basically what has come out of today is that I need to really concentrate and think about the way in which I write and the way in which the news is structured and chosen, i.e. top stories, and not get caught up in the time deadline.

Things to think about for the final show and work on this week:

  • levels

  • different voices for reporters

  • Choose top story carefully

  • writing

  • structure and order

  • refresh myself on wraps

  • refresh the stories if using them again

  • be specific on language

  • weather specific to different parts of London

I’m going to practice writing, choosing and structuring news bulletins this week in preparation for the live show. Tony has conducted the interview so now we just have to edit it down to 2 minutes to fit in the second news bulletin.

Live Show Day!

Things I feel went well:

I feel like the content and writing was improved from the pilot. I managed to produce two good wraps, lots of copy and some actuality clips. I managed to structure the bulletins with the most important and top news at the top feeding down to local and Christian news. When I kept a top story in for the three bulletins I changed it each time. So I updated the language or changed the voice clip to keep fresh. I made sure Tony only voiced one wrap so he wasn’t the only reporter voice. I used different locations in the weather each time, for different parts of London and I feel this worked well. The special lunchtime report on homelessness worked well although I think should have been 20 seconds shorter, but it gave a nice personal feel to the news. Also it included our listeners for example, ‘what can our listeners do to help?’. Overall I was happy with my news reading, although I may have been slightly fast in places. I feel the tone of my voice and annunciation was just right for the news on Premier Gospel. I was told the beds worked well and to time in the bulletins too. We kept to the timings on the clock for all three bulletins.

Things I feel I could have done better:

Although improved the writing could always be tighter for the news. I made sure I read through Tony’s content before reading on air to change anything that didn’t sound right for me to read. But as always the writing can be improved. I obviously mispronounced a word… I was sure I had it right and even practiced…. So another time I would check and then double check if I’m not one hundred percent sure of a pronunciation. Use of voices – getting the right balance between Tony’s voice and other reporter voices. Tony felt for the third bulletin that I should use another voice rather than his for a wrap, which I did, but in hindsight I could have used Tony’s voice as he didn’t feature in the last bulletin. I feel we could have got a bit more Christian angled news in bulletin but was hard to get the balance between telling the news truthfully and having enough space for other angled news. And I’ll say it again I could always get better at news style writing.

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