Dan Freeman

Week 3 (06/02 – 12/02)

During the timetabled session with David, we were divided into the groups in which we would be making our final programmes. It’s fair to say the distribution of roles was rather easy, as we all wanted to do roles we haven’t done in the past, which luckily did not lead to any conflicts. Thus, I was appointed editor / executive producer of the programme.

Week 4 (13/02 – 19/02)

This week no group work took place due to a guest speaker from BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. As part of our weekly listening, I decided to additionally listen to the Midnight News on BBC Radio 4. I found the programme interesting to analyse as it is 30 minutes long, isn’t a magazine programme and is scheduled at a time where the previous days news is more or less irrelevant but the current days news hasn’t broken yet.

Week 5 (20/02 – 26/02)

Thursday’s session saw the groups being given their target audiences, our group was given the TA of 30-55 year olds (with a slight male bias). The station is a national rolling news station, with magazine programmes, phone ins and extensive live sport coverage. As a group, we noticed the likeness of TA with BBC Radio 5Live’s, however its important not to become to fixated on this. We also made a 15-minute practice programme in today’s session, however due to the very constricted time the group only managed to produce a 10-minute show. The practice highlighted some very imported issues, we had problems importing a certain clip in to the Newsroom System, which further delay the start time of the programme. Additionally, not all scripts were copy and pasted in to the system, which resulted in a missing cue and back anno for the news bulletins, which led to the incorrect signing-off of the programme. After listening to a variety of speech radio programming, it’s become evident that in longer form news programmes stories have 2-3 clips of audio (predominantly actuality), if this had been done during the practice it would have rectified the issue of the programme being 5 minutes short.

Week 6 (27/02 – 05/03)

Legal Week

Week 7 (06/03 – 12/03)

This week we discussed potential package ideas and what to do for the outside broadcast. We researched events and awareness day around the time of the final show and found that National Gardening Week and Stress Awareness Month coincides with final programme. As a group we decided that an event for National Gardening Week would be a great place to do an OB. Myself and Fay, the studio producer, had a discussion about incorporating sports in to our programming. My suggestion of sending someone to gather audio from Wembley reminded Fay of how pubs are allocated specific sets of fans, which prompted the idea of a package about sport segregation. Over the next week, it’s vital that I listen to a variety of BBC Radio 5Live programming to get an understanding of how they treat stories.

Week 8 (13/03 – 19/03)

During Thursday’s session, I presented to the group several ideas that we could cover in our programme. Prior to our meeting with Matthew, we found potential angles for the ideas and discussed treatments. The group’s meeting with Matthew helped up further refine our ideas and treatments of stories. As editor, I decided to drop a couple of ideas as I felt that a suitable angle for the stories could not be found. We ended the afternoon by allocating stories. Next week I hope to work with the presenters to develop their presenting style to fit with that of BBC Radio 5Live and talkSPORT.

Week 9 (20/03 – 26/03)

Following the Westminster attacks on the day prior (Wednesday 22 March ’17), David set us the task of producing a 15-minute show with an OB team heading out and getting as close to Westminster as possible. As usual, we were the first group to go ‘on air’, this task showed me how quickly we can get scripts together in a reasonably short time frame. Of course there were mistakes that needed to be rectified, one being that the tech op needs have a copy of the script to know when to trigger clips. Not having rehearsed, some copy was shorter than we thought leading to us under running for the majority of the programme. However, this showed me that we can rely on the OB to be shorter or longer than scheduled in order to stick to time. After the programme, we got together as a group (minus the OB team) and brainstormed some new ideas with input from David. He also gave us feedback about the programme where he pointed out that we need to use the talkback system to communicate with the presenters in the booth.

Friday morning, I asked the group to have a think over the weekend about the treatments of the existing and new ideas we came up with, so that on Monday I can drop the weaker topics and then assign topics to those who aren’t already doing things.

Week 10 (27/03 – 02/04)

Myself, Natalie and Iona met on Tuesday to discuss imaging. Our initial idea was GBT (Get Britain Talking) however we felt there wasn’t a reflection of sport in the name. Iona came up with the idea of Radio Active, which reflects the active participation of the audience in debates and the active nature of sport.

During Thursday’s class time we were tasked to produce a 30-minute programme, resembling the final as much as possible. As predicted, it did not go well, the OB failed and a package never got played out, resulting in the programme being 15 minutes short. Although I was listening during the ‘transmission’, I had another listen the following day and detailed the issues with the programme. The handover part way through the first item sounded very patronising, the second item was pre-recorded by Michael, however this technique did not work. The segment was recorded off mic which made the transition from the live presenters to the pre-recorded extremely obvious. Additionally, as this was pre-recorded solely by Michael, it meant that he was speaking for a very long time. With this in mind, the allocation of the script needs to be thoroughly thought-through and double checked. 

Week 11 (03/04 – 09/04)

The majority of the group attended the meeting on Monday to discuss the content for the final programme. Michael expressed his difficulties finding a dietitian for the live interview, I suggested that he should go down the university/professor route. Regarding items, the electric cars discussion got dropped in favour of a male contraception discussion. Following the meeting, everyone was assigned a task to do for Thursday.

Myself, Iona and Natalie met on Tuesday to continue with branding; Iona sent a script to a voice over artist for our top of hour and sweepers. Natalie will write a script for a 20-30 second trail for a podcast produced by Radio Active all about women’s sports. Additionally, as discussed with Curtis previously, he will be producing a 30 second trail for the Europa League coverage on Radio Active.

The pilot came round quicker than I’d imagined, from a production point of view things could have gone a lot better. Unbeknownst to me, the OB team had taken the ethernet only Tieline which I only found out when I saw Group A with it an hour after Tommy and Curtis had left. This left us with no option but to do the OB over the phone, which lead to some issues; the phones had gone down earlier in the afternoon and were still playing up during the broadcast, this lead to items having to be moved around and me having to intervene to help Fay, who at this point was extremely stressed and on edge. Despite all this, the programme ended perfectly on time. The ramp I had made as part of branding was a nice buffer and allowed the presenters to talk as much or as little as they wanted, however it would have been nice if they had managed to talk up to the vocals.

Week 12 (10/04 – 13/04)

Over the weekend, I asked the group whether they’d like to have an extra pilot before the final. The group unanimously agreed that we should do an extra pilot on the Monday. The OB team were unable to make the pilot due to work commitments, but myself, Natalie and Michael came in at 10:30 to work on the pilot. As we were unable to do elements such as the DSC and OB, Michael wrote copy in place of the DSC and the OB was replaced with a clip from the Westminster OB. As Natalie had nothing to do until the scripts were done, she continued working on the Women’s Download trail by starting it from scratch. Once the scripts we done, Natalie read over them and changed them to her presenting style accordingly. Due to Fay and Iona’s late arrival, Michael had to write Iona’s 2W which in the addition of being in Studio 5 instead of Studio 6 (meaning she could see the control room unlike previous occasion), lead to Iona frequently stumbling. During this pilot, I moved a chair and the phone within arm’s reach and suggest that Fay remained on the chair at all times so that we didn’t have a repeat of last week’s pilot. For the live phone interview, we roped in Clare from Group C to be our guest and made her talk about a topic she previously made a package on (Stop Funding Hate). Natalie handled the interview very well, as previously she struggled with this element of the programme. We still ended 5 minutes short due to the copy and 2W being short than anticipated, however this shouldn’t be an issue for the final as it would be replaced by the DSC.

Additionally, on Tuesday I made a schedule for Thursday so that primarily myself and the rest of the group knew what was happening.

TIME DESCRIPTION LOCATION PEOPLE
09:30 Editorial Meeting Sadie Room All
10:00 David’s Speech RP1 All
10:15 Production Begins RP1 All
10:30 OB Team Depart N/A Curtis, Tommy
~11:00 Record DSC Studio 5 or Studio 6 Michael, Natalie, Fay
12:45 OB Connection Check Studio 6 Dan, Fay, Dom

13:00 PACKAGES DEADLINE

13:05 Package Playbacks Studio 4 Dan

13:30 SCRIPT DEADLINE

13:35 Script Adjustments RP1 Michael, Natalie, Iona (2W)
14:00 Myriad Run Through Studio 4 or Studio 5 Dan, Fay, Dom
14:15 Run Through Studio 5 Michael, Natalie, Iona
14:45 Sound Check Studio 6 & 7 All

15:00 TX

Tuesday, Curtis went to speak to Tim and they managed to come up with a solution to sort out the OB logistics mess. Curtis and Tim spent some time testing the new set up, making sure Curtis was happy with it for the day. As Curtis had to leave Harrow at 12, I passed on the information to David when I saw him later that afternoon. Although there was no official meeting on Tuesday, myself and Iona discussed branding as the VO artist had sent us the audio. I asked Iona to make a longer GBT sweeper and she came up with the idea of a montage style sweeper, which I liked very much. I also caught up with Fay about how the live interview and DSC was going. She had previously got a reply from the London North West Healthcare NHS Trust and replied with the information they requested. I was extremely worried due to the frequency of communication and asked Fay to follow up.

Thursday, the group came in at 9:30 so that we could have an editorial meeting before it got very busy. The main point of discussion was the 2W and the cues and in/out words for the OB. Once everyone went off to do their tasks, I stayed with the OB team to double check the equipment was working and they knew what they were doing and when. The Football P2 PKG was extremely long, so before continuing my tasks, I listened through it and made suggestions on what could be taken out as well as minor editing mistakes. I then went about making the branding, which replaced everything that was made last week, this was due to the new VO and dodgy levels. Later than planned, I went in to Studio 6 to test to OB connection, which went extremely well as it connected first time and the quality was fantastic. During the rest of production, I routinely went around checking on everyone’s progress and listening to anything they wanted me to hear. I also spoke to John, who gave me some very helpful advise, when going through the items, he expressed his concern with the gear change between the rest of the programme and the interview about male contraceptive and made the suggestion that it could be part of a regular programme feature to give it some context. About an hour before broadcast, myself, Fay and Dom went in to Studio 4 to create a running order on Myriad and then ran through it to make sure that the order in Myriad matched the script. Meanwhile, the presenters and Iona were practicing their scripts. Before the programme went on air, I phoned Tommy to run me through his script to make sure there was enough so-called ‘colour’.

The Live Show sounded good on-air however did not go so well behind the scenes, which resulted in the phone-in element having to be cut. I noticed during the live interview that neither Dom or Fay were keeping an eye on the time, so I made the decision to have an eye on the running order which made me realise something had gone wrong. When the second part of the OB came on air and Fay asked what time this needed to finish, myself and Iona (who jumped in to help at this point) realised that it needed to end more or less immediately, with the addition of cutting the phone-in, in order for the programme to end on time. Ideally, it would have been better to cut the discussion down in favour of the OB, as that the main focus of the programme. The only thing that went wrong on-air was that the pre-recorded discussion was faded down 10 seconds before the end, when it could have comfortably played out over the ramp. This lead to a lot of the ramp being played when the presenters could have said more.

Despite having updated and checked the running order several times, I managed to miss the fact that the duration of second part of the football package was inserted in to the running order incorrectly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

University of Westminster
309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW
General enquiries: +44 (0)20 7911 5000
Course enquiries: +44 (0)20 7915 5511