Matt Toulson

Week 1 (20th October)

This week we were put into two groups. I wasn’t here when roles were chosen but I was happy to be picked to be as the outside broadcast producer. I was a bit apprehensive because I didn’t know what responsibilities the role involved but when I chatted to others in my group, I felt more confident in the role. We then had to pick genres, and our group thought it would be interesting if we chose gospel as our genre, because it had never been done before.

 

Week 2 (27th October) 

We had our first group meeting this week where James, the editor of our group, gave everyone their jobs. I was asked to find gospel group who would take part in the outside broadcast. We were decided on a gospel choir that are local to London because choirs in and around London would be more accessible. Then, James set us up accounts on Trello where we could keep track on every aspect of the production.

Fay and I managed to find several gospel acts that we thought would be perfect for our live outside broadcast. We e-mailed them and got a few replies the same day. Fay and I decided on the details of the broadcast with James (the editor) and Lucy (the show’s producer), such as what time our segment would be broadcast during the two hour show, how we will be introduced (we decided on a 30 sec ‘countdown’ ident, similar to Radio 1’s Live Lounge intro), how many songs should the artist(s) play and when Fay, the presenter, would speak and interview them.

 

Week 3 (3rd November) 

We did a practice of how the outside broadcast would go this week, with a musician coming in and preforming live in RP2. I had to be in the studio making sure all the levels were correct, as well as making sure Fay, the musician, and Curtis and Molly in studio 5 knew what they were doing during the OB. I was a bit nervous about this to begin with but as I was shown how to do it and which faders was for who, so when it came to doing the practice I was a lot more confident.

The set-up of the OB took a long time and when we started we were running behind schedule. However, everything went well during the practice, which made me feel more confident about doing it for real in a few weeks time.

Also during our meeting, we were asked to pick a name for our show, but we were indecisive about that.

 

Week 4 (10th November)

This week we had a playlist meeting where we had to decide which category (A,B,C, Gold) the songs should go in. We were agreed with most of the songs, but others took a bit more debating. In the playlist there were too many slow songs, but we thought the playlist would have sounded better with a more upbeat style of music, so we had to research for more songs. It should have taken about an hour and a half but it took over two hours, but I’m glad it took longer because now we are happy with our choices for songs. It has been decided though that the playlist will be updated every week to keep it current and with the theme of our show.

It was decided, as well, that we should consider using spoken-word artists for our outside broadcast, because they are as relevant to our show as choirs. This led to Fay and I e-mailing people we had researched on the internet. I also e-mailed the Westminster Uni choir to ask if they would be interested in coming to perform for our pilot show on 1st December.

James asked us to vote in a poll to decide which name our show should be. The choices were ‘Fresh Feeling’ and ‘Blessed’, and Blessed was what was chosen.

 

Week 5 (17th November)

This week I was back to e-mailing people because unfortunately the spoken word artist that we wanted for our outside broadcast was unavailable, so it was back to the drawing board. I had to research for most of the afternoon to try and find someone.

Also, James asked me to fill in some production plans for the outside broadcast. With the risk assessment, I had to take into consideration what hazards there were that could happen during the live broadcast, such as stray wires, fire dangers, and risk of injury. I had to figure out the action that should be taken to prevent them. Also, there was a floor plan to be created to illustrate where people were going to be stood while carrying out their jobs on the day. There was also a running order of the outside broadcast, which had to start at 15 minutes past the second hour. The OB was only planned to be 20 mins in length but there is always a possibility that the artist could go over this time, so although the OB was scheduled to finish at around :35, there was still 25 mins of schedule time to play with. Finally there was also a diagram showing who could hear who during the live OB that I had to create.

This all gave me a good idea of what was going to happen on the day, which made me feel more confident about the broadcast.

 

Week 6 (24th November)

The good news was that I finally got a guest confirmed for the pilot show on 1st December. The uni’s gospel choir kindly agreed to come in on the day and perform for us which was a great relief for me. All I needed to bother with then was to find an artist for the real show the following week, so I set about e-mailing as many gospel artists that could be easily accessible. Lucy converted the show’s clock to an online version

In the meantime, I’ve been finishing off the documents that come with an outside broadcast. The floor plan and running order were completed, and now I just have to complete a more detailed risk assessment, so everyone knows what to do on the day if there was an emergency.

Lucy converted the clock to an online version of the clock so it gave me a better idea of what was happening when and so I could see when the Outside broadcast would fit in to the running order of the show. Everything seems to be coming together quite nicely now, and I have more confidence in what I am doing than when I first started the preparation.

 

Week 7 (1st December) 

The week didn’t start off the greatest because the Outside broadcast artists (the choir) that I managed to book cancelled on us 3 days before our broadcast. The next day was spent frantically trying to find someone that would fill in for them. We got so desperate for a performer that we decided that whoever it was didn’t have to necessarily be a gospel performer. Fay, James and I decided that we could get an artist to sing a Capella and make them sound as close to the genre of gospel as possible.

There was also a lot of paper work to do before the pilot on Thursday, which included updating all the admin documents, like the risk assessment, running orders, floor plan to make sure it was up-to-date. The show clock that Lucy produced was also updated to change the length of the outside broadcast. James and I decided that a twenty minute slot for the live performance was too long which made us agree that we should shorten to feature down from 20 to 14 mins and have the artist perform only three songs rather than four like originally planned. We took this action because we thought it would improve the feature and make it sound tighter on air.

At the start of the day, my first job was to decorate the room in which the artist was performing. The fairy lights were hung up through cable ties that were put on top of a black curtain. This gave the room more atmosphere that added to the whole performance. I also had to make sure the team in the studio were aware of what would be happening, “IN” and “OUT” words that Fay would say, and, finally, to make sure I gathered an audience together to watch the show.

In the end, our pilot outside broadcast performer was chosen to be Sofia who sang us three songs while playing the guitar. My main job on the day of the broadcast was to make sure everything was sounded alright. This went smoothly, even if there were a few incidents. The feature, which should have started at 12:25pm, started 75 seconds early. I had to make sure Fay knew that she had to pad the feature with talk which she did successfully. The camera that was recording the performance also ran out of storage, so the whole performance wasn’t recorded. However, as producer, I was happy with the way the feature went. I think the whole OB team pulled off our feature effectively.

 

Week 8 (8th December)

This week, after being given feedback, James and I agreed that the Outside broadcast was still too long at 14 mins, so we narrowed it down even further to 9.5 mins, and the artist was to perform two songs, give an interview and we would have a interval in between where Curtis and Molly would talk and play a song.

The week started off well, because we finally found an artist who specialised in the genre of gospel music who was happy to perform for us. I had to meet her on Monday to brief her on what would happen on the day. I was a bit worried because she gave me a full list of things she needed and it seemed like we wouldn’t be able to fit it all in the small OB room. However, I gave her all the details about the day and made sure she knew the plan for when her and her band arrived.

I was told that I wouldn’t be able to fit everything she needed in the room, so I had to e-mail her and tell her.

On the day, I arrived at 7:30am to get everything sorted. I started by re-decorating the room with the lights and black curtain. I then made sure all the admin documents were up-to-date and everyone knew what they were doing for the performance.

A this point, the artist hadn’t got back to me with the issue about spacing until later that morning when she replied, where she said she wouldn’t be able to perform without her whole band there, which meant she had to cancel. I only received the e-mail an hour before she was meant to go on which meant I had to run down to the music department, and get the first person that I could find.

Thankfully, an artist who we found said that she would be happy to perform. So, within the hour on the day we briefed her on her role in the show, what song she had to perform and update everyone in the studio about what was going on. Fay was great as a presenter and managed to pad out the slot so we didn’t run under time by too much. We had a much smaller audience this time around as well, because Fay said it put her off, but I think it was for the best because she presented well.

The outside broadcast ran as smoothly as possible with that much of a disruption an hour before it went live. It ran shorter than expected by about three minutes, but the team in the other studio managed to pad out their show to make sure we ran to time and finished punctually. Overall, I’m pleased with the outcome. It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, but with the incidents that occurred, and the pressure we were all put under, the OB team worked effectively as a group and individually to make a successful feature.

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