PRODUCTION WEEK ONE  – 27/10/19

I feel I’ve been fulfilling my role/responsibilities to a good standard. I’ve been very busy the last few weeks within my personal life, work responsibilities as well as uni, but I think i’m balancing it all well and making sure I save time for myself so I don’t burn out. I am overall enjoying all the responsibilities of being Editor, I’m really proud of everyone as well as myself with the direction we are taking our 80’s show. I was worried last week about the actual content we were producing as I felt like it was a lot of theories and talk but since we discussed the clocks and assigned everyone tasks, group and individual, I feel relaxed and like the ball is rolling. I’m relieved we recorded the jingles and idents so that Simone and I can edit them and create a sound profile and laying down our audio imaging. At this point, my main concerns go to the O.B. as we need to find a suitable one very soon so we can fit them in to the script and be sure that part of the show is in place. I will have to go with Thuong to the commercial music department and maybe phone up some pubs to get a suitable O.B.

I like that we have now established an overview of the music policy. Overall I feel like the foundations are being laid for a good show. I’ve been listening to a lot of 80’s Spotify playlists when I’m thinking about the show, for inspiration on whats still popular as the viewer stats are up. I’ve also been listening to Absolute and Absolute 80s in brief intervals for inspiration on their style, especially when thinking about my AD (Aldi) and the structure of the show itself. Any problems I have had up to now I’ve spoken about either to the group or in private with Matthew, and this has settled any issues i’ve had thus far. Since reviewing the clock and digitalising it, the show makes a lot more sense to me, structurally and it has helped me get a good grasp on how it is all going to run – but the practice will reveal any problems. Overall, I’m feeling positive about it all and i’m enjoying supporting everyone where I can and getting on with the logistical side of things.

PRODUCTION WEEK TWO – 11/11/19

Referencing my last post, my stresses of the O.B were sorted pretty quickly as I was put in touch with Josh, our O.B and our O.B session went well. I would like to work with Thoung more so she feels more comfortable talking and interviewing. It was a shame Lauren wasn’t there but at least Marlyse was able to fill in. The ads having been coming along nicely, I’m Impressed with Simones’ script I thought it was a good ad concept especially for our demographic. The feature of ‘oh, that takes me back’, needs some work. I’m trying to look for an older voice to make a jingle for it as I think that would fit to have an older voice. The overall production needs tightening and I think I need to be more aware of timings and thinking forward to ensure we are bang on the hour. I missed fridays lesson as I was in all honesty really burned out as the night before I was filming for my digital story until 2am and wasn’t home until 3.30. I regret this but I also am glad that Poala took the minutes so I was up to date, plus communication in the group is well a lot of the time so I was able to find out what happened. I like the song selections we have for the As Bs and Cs and I also agree with the spice track, I think it fits the idea of a spice well. I think the pre-pilot will be very telling of a lot of our strengths and weaknesses and overall I still feel positive but keeping an open mind for change and still trying to constantly improve all aspects as we go.

I listened to a lot of supermarket ads and wrote my own AD too and In all honesty I didn’t feel it was very good and spent about an hour redoing bits of it until I thought to myself ‘okay I’m okay with people seeing this’, I asked for feedback and everyone seemed to like it and said it was good, I asked for critiques and I was met with logistical questions more than anything such as “how will you get the till noise” and I managed to find wavs of the tesco check out announcement which I will edit in (please see script for how I will be using this). I also spent 2 and a half painful hours writing the running order. I can admit my strengths and weakness but let me say, maths is a weakness. It took me 5 years to get a maths GCSE and I only got a C, so, safe to say I’m not brilliant at it –  but I tried. I would have used one of those time apps but in all honesty thats a lot of time looking at screens and I like to challenge myself. This meant I wrote the schedule, wrote the timings and then would double check, realize I made a mistake and went over and over and over and when I thought it was good, I phoned a friend to come over and check it all for me and was proud of the finished product. It of course needs more updates as we go on but for now, pretty content.

PRODUCTION WEEK THREE – 18/11/19

The pre-pilot went well, much to be improved on in all aspects but for a first run through with Lauren present it was well. I found myself running around A LOT. I think Aasiya must have thought I was mad constantly running from Studio 4 to studio 5 to studio 6 to RP2. I was able to wear a lot of hats which was nice as I enjoy all aspects of radio to the same degree, I was able to sit in with Lauren and Paola in studio 4 and go over cue points for presenting and the social media with both of them and develop our digital branding. I was then in studio 5 with Andrea and Hannah working on Jingles and ADs, tweaking the finished ones such as the Tesco and drink driving one. We also edited together some jingles for the spice track and the ‘oh, that takes me back’ feature. Then in studio 6 helping Simone and Marlyse, who were on track anyway, but I would go in for support and remind them of timings. Then I went between studio 5 and rp2 with Hannah to edit more jingles and Thoung to go over the running order. We all moved around a lot and got a lot done. When it hit 2:25, one of the jingles wasn’t done and the ads were not exported in the right format so they wouldn’t play out in myriad (they had been put in hours before but not checked). This sent me and Lauren in to a bit of a “oh my god get it all done now and smash the keyboard” type situation and meant once everything was correctly exported and imported, it was 2:40 – we had missed our slot by 10 minutes. There were of course a lot of things we could have done, went on without the jingle and fixed it while on air, played songs in the meantime etc. But in all honesty none of us wanted to import to Myriad without Lauren as when we had tried before, it messed up the main wall for Smoke, so just on this occasion I said we should just postpone because Lauren also couldn’t have gone on air stressed on top of being unwell. I made the decision to go from 3-4 instead of 2:30-3:30. In all honesty this made a lot more sense as at least we could be on the hour. It also gave everyone 15 minutes to prepare, get familiar with the running order and relax and watch it all come together. A nice sentiment, not great for commercial radio as the show must always go on but to be honest it felt right to do.

The show itself went okay. I’ve put most of this info in to an embarrassingly long email to Matthew (sorry for that wall of text on a Friday). I’m just going to copy it in here:

“The hour show went well, there was a delay on the first link but the rest of the show went pretty smoothly in terms of links. The show was an hour and 11 seconds so if we get it tighter im feeling good that it will be bang on an hour. You can listen to the show in the drive ‘music radio > pilots > practice pilot > lunch with Lauren run through’.

After the show I called a mini meeting (the minutes will be put on drive). I just went through what I noticed needs to be improved on so Lauren and Simone need to be smoother with the desk and Lauren needs to say more things relatable to our audience so instead of saying “Marlyse is listening from uni” I suggested “grace is listening in from the office”. Also more confident on the mic.
We also went over our existing jingles and have decided to improve most of them. Simone and I stayed until 7 working on these and we have 3 finished files in the drive (labelled finished idents) one is a showreel of songs, a sweeper and the spice track ident.
We’ve also named the O.B. studio “the ballroom” we have also decided on the set. It’s going to be dressed like an 80s prom with satin streamers, a balloon arch and a glitter ball. Josh will be smartly dressed and Thoung will wear a satin top. Thoung is going to the art department for the materials / structure for the balloon arch and Lauren is going to get art supplies if the art department doesn’t have them. We will all be DIYing next Monday and the props for the set will stay with me on campus.”
For doing the jingles Simone and I sat and watched a few YouTube tutorials and audio production demos to help us use more professional tools in audition. I read this: https://www.dukemorgan.com/60s-70s-80s-radio-imaging/
and watched this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub3oqHPUJy8&t=1s as well as other miscellaneous videos all about jingle editing and digital audio production for radio.
I’ve spent a lot of time on pinterest looking at 80s proms and like the idea of making CD streamers out of 80s CDs we can find in thrift shops :
10 Artesanatos com CDs Velhos – Ideias Incríveis para Copiar | Revista Artesanato
I have also found some tutorials on DIYing a disco ball out of CDs here: https://www.skiptomylou.org/diy-disco-ball-by-girl-with-a-glue-gun/ – It was my mum who suggested using CDs as decor as they were popularized in the 1980s and it ties with music radio . As she does crafting she is letting us use her glue gun and donating some materials for us to use such as CDs to cut up and a Styrofoam ball to use as the base for the disco ball. I have suggested to everyone to have a look in thrift stores and Cash converters for 80s CDs. The steamers are so easy to make: CDs, clear wire and a rod.
I am in the midst of writing a to do list for the first pilot per Matthews email. This will be done before the pilot of course. I have also got the audio back from my ad. This was done by a woman called Tanya. I felt we needed a different accent on the station and shes very good at accents so I asked her to make one of the female voices with a northern accent (I played it to my friend from Birmingham and she laughed when I told her the woman isn’t northern so hopefully thats a good sign). Please listen here:

Overall, things are on track, my main concerns are jingles and presenting for the O.B and live as well as really tightening it all together.

PRODUCTION WEEK FOUR – 25/11/19

I’m so stressed about making the show perfect it’s got to the point that when I sleep I can hear tell it to my heart on loop. Pre-show I always get a bit stressy and I’m calm on the outside but everything is zooming around in my head and as it’s the week of the final assessment… every day feels like how I feel at pre-show. No amount of having it in order is going to fix that.

This week I made the glitter ball which looks super glittery and fun. I ordered all the decorations which came to £40, which we all split (£5 each). I ordered stuff for the balloon arch, streamers and bought balloon pumps and ribbon. We decided to ditch the CD streamers because they would have looked a bit messy with the rest of the set.

I also updated the schedule with the necessary edits, switching the feature and competition round as well as adding page numbers and the title etc making sure the format is better. I also found a voice for our competition read and edited it – you can listen here:

I’ve also been working on jingles, idents and a new ad sweeper with a male voice which I don’t have on hand to insert right now – but the voice is much more appropriate for our audience and will help balance the show a bit more with a male voice and also help fill some space for the intros in case lauren doesnt talk up to time or we have multiple songs in a row.

We went to practice the desk today (Lauren and Simone and I) at around 5pm and couldn’t because the Smoke Radio people were in there. I was really angry because I don’t understand why we don’t have priority at all times to use the studio as we need them for our degree not a student hobby. I ended up just leaving cause there was nothing else I could do. I really don’t understand why we’re paying 9k a year to not be able to use our facilities when we want I think that system of who uses the studio after 5pm needs to be revised as it really interfered with us trying to improve the show. Instead Simone and Lauren will be meeting before class on Thursday to practice but I will have to be doing other things for the show, such as final preps, transporting the balloon arch and other tasks to ensure the show is in order.

I think the show is going to go well I am fairly confident in all aspects of the show, and am glad we now have older voices more present on the station as they fit our demographic a lot more.

PRODUCTION WEEK FIVE – 02/12/19

The 2nd pilot:

In the morning, I set up the ballroom with Naiara and went over the schedule with Simone as well as other odd bits and bobs that needed to be done such as importing all the finished idents.

It went okay. I say okay as there was obviously some presenting issues due to Laurens’ personal issues, and everyone has those days so I just tried to support her through it as best as I could but tried to also give her space so she could collect herself. There was also the issue with the that takes me back feature which caused a bit of a panic but I think we overcame that pretty well. I’m proud that she finished the show and managed to push through.

I think the format of the competition went well and was a vast improvement from the first pilot. I also think bar the technical issues with the O.B, it went really well.

Simone and I had noticed a lot of logistical things which needed doing such as colour coding myriad to ensure everything was laid out and finalizing the schedule so they were ready for when everyone came in.

Simone and I ended up staying in the studios and then the library until 11pm. We were originally going to stay just to record Lauren’s’ first two links and the TOH but understandably she wasn’t up to it and it was best for her to rest and do it in the morning. This kind of lit this notion in me and Simone that every single thing had to be finished by the next day so that all our efforts could be placed on making a relaxed environment for everyone and supporting Lauren. During the 7 extra hours we were there, we colour coded Myriad by songs in the first hour, songs in the second hour, features, adverts, jingles, special jingles as well as the competition. we also left about 6 songs grey as our back up songs in case we needed to switch a song. We went through the adverts a final time and mastered the ones which needed extra production such as the money supermarket one. We also re-edited the Argos one and Boots one as the levels were peaking in the system. We tested some new songs and the segways of songs as well as edited some of the music to have a hard end rather than a fade which made it easier to transition using idents. We also edited the schedules together and colour coded them and printed them out. We then made some signs for the studio such as ‘Is the mic down?’ and ‘Don’t say: coming up next or welcome back – instead say: just around the corner, in a minute’ etc. We also thought it would help Lauren if she had a fact sheet about every song we were playing so if we were running under she had something planned to say or if she was feeling flustered she could just read off the sheet. Each fact was written to fit the length of time the into was or if a song had no intro, it was half the length of time of the nearest link. We put these facts in chronological order of how they appear on the schedule so it was easy to find. Each fact was also written out as if you would say it so we knew it would always make sense and translate well from paper to speech. We also double checked the schedule with myriad ensure times were exactly correct and everything on the schedule was in myriad ready to go and at its highest quality. We printed everything out and had it ready for the next day to ensure everything was finished.

Final Show:

In the morning, when I came in I felt super prepared. All that was on my mind was getting everyone in their places and pre-recording Laurens’ first link, the show menu and the TOH. When we came in I called a meeting and asked if anyone had any problems and told everyone what Simone and I had done and I think everyone was a lot less stressed after knowing everything was in order. We then recorded Laurens’ links and I think they went super well. Lauren was in the chair ready to go around quarter to and it was less stress cause she knew she could have 10 minutes to get over her nerves while the show was going on. I think the final show went great and was a vast improvement to all previous pilots. The signs helped and the fact sheets were a massive help for filling up links and giving some more background to the 80s.

I had to go in to the O.B room during the ad breaks to ask the audience to clap which I found quite funny as I thought they would have clapped for the first song. In hindsight, I probably should have made signs for Niara to hold up when it was time to clap or something like that. I liked the O.B segment a lot and I appreciate that Thoung kept it more 80s based on all the questions it helped us sell it. I also loved the whole ‘my prom date’ thing we had going on as it sold the ballroom a lot more audio wise, especially after Lauren had already described the prom set up in the live studio.

I was so happy with Lauren and her presenting, she seemed much more calm. We had worked out a system that Lauren would tell me her exact link once or twice and I would time it in my head and tell simone the exact word I picked so that when Lauren was speaking if he heard the buzz word, it was time to press the song to start. This helped talking up to time a lot more as we made it so time fit around Lauren rather than Lauren fitting to the song because I found that it made her a bit flustered knowing she had to fill 6 more seconds. That usually caused the random shout outs of things so I think that was nipped well in this show.

Overall I think the show went amazingly. There are a few things I would have liked to improved upon if we were doing it again such as:

Tightening up the timings a bit more so it was perfect to time.

Gradually fading songs in when we played them rather than they just started and got higher. I think we could have  just slowly integrated intros to songs rather than them just appearing in most examples.

It would have been nice for the second caller to have got at least 1 question right.

The final link was stopped and started due to our error so it would have been nice if that didn’t happen.

Tesco going in to myriad 4 was stressful but that’s a myriad issue not an us issue.

I think there was one incident where the hooking of the sweeper to ad was out by half a second so the sweeper over lapped so slightly. I prefer it to be clean cut sweeper. ad. ad. sweeper. rather than it hooking together.

In hindsight, I think we needed to mention socials more, we revisited socials once or twice each hour I think it should have been more than that.

I was super impressed with the timings and was dancing when the TOH played at exactly 13:00:00 it was the most satisfying thing I’ve ever seen. I think the timings were bang on. we were 3 seconds under and added a wet ‘You’re listening to absolute 80s’ which lasts 7 seconds. We did this as we felt it’s better to be 4 seconds over than 3 seconds under and in most stations there is a station ident between shows anyway so it added to the whole illusion that there was another show on afterwards I think. The signs seemed to work really well and the fact sheet was used a lot. A lot of prep for the final show really went a long way I think.

In terms of the module, I’m actually super sad it’s over as I enjoyed consuming myself in it and trying my very best. I only missed 1 class and I sent my apologies in and everyone understood. I think I did need a day break it helped me a lot but I tried to make up for any progress I had missed.

It’s shown me so much about music radio and I found myself talking about the module at work and teaching my manager some things about full production shows. I think I grew a lot over the past few months academically and as a person. Not to mention it was a great way to settle in to a new university/course and get to know my coursemates who I consider friends now.  It’s also confirmed to me that being in Management and editorial roles in music radio is where I want to take my career because I really loved the whole process and watching it come together. During this module I found myself having a lot of ‘this is why I came here’ moments which was great as it really validated my move and being on this course, along with a lot of other factors, has vastly improved my mental state.

Now it’s time to focus on digital story telling and my essays for Music Radio and Media Theories.

Thank you Matthew for all your support and the radio course it’s been a great first semester on Radio and Digital Production at Westminster (:

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