Blog One: Module Introduction, Brief and Group Assignment.
weeks one and two, after outlining the module brief, our groups were formed and station picked and station roles defined. There was a lot of group discussion on how to pick the station we wanted to choose, as most of them we had no idea of the style of many of the other stations and music genres, but me and another in our group both listen to 50s and 60s Rock and Roll (one of the genre choices) and I listen to Gold regularly. The discussion came down to do we use the knowledge that a couple of us have to our advantage, or all start on a level playing field. I think we maybe forgot at his point that this is a group effort, so we should use any and all strengths to our advantage, so chose the 50s and 60s rock and roll show on Gold.
We decided our group roles as well, with many of the roles being split to share the work load between us all, as we thought this will help with production. My roles were OB producer, with Alex offering a hand if and when needed, and joint music with Charity. As a group we agreed on our roles and decided it would be smart to spend the weekend listening to Gold to get a feel for the station, its pacing, playlists, the style of their station ID, as well as looking into the demographics of the station for things like advertising.
Blog Two: Music Scheduling, Myriad.
We looked at how commercial stations and the BBC curate a playlist for a show and a station as a whole, as well as the importance of balance of voices eg, male to female, and pacing of music to drive a show. Once we had learnt a bit more about how to form the playlists, and breaking them down into A, B and C lists, me and Charity got to work creating playlists for the show, checking the release year of songs to ensure they fit the show criteria. once we had a master playlist together, Charity made an A list and I broke the rest down into a B and C playlist.
This week we also started thinking about how we want to shape the show, what its theme would be, how we wanted to sound, and we decided to design a show around the theme of an American Diner, as we felt The Diner is an iconic part of 50s and 60s Americana and of the Rock ‘n’ Roll genre. this helped Charity and myself in making song choices that would showcase the theme.
Simon LeVans came in to give us a Myriad walk through, how to utilise it for our show, how to create clocks to input our show into, how to import music correctly, ensuring the card and cart information was correct, as well as add time intros, outros and hooks to songs. having this information put me at ease with the challenge of creating a live show, as it was like the little behind the scenes tips to make things sound more professional.
Blog Three: Ads and Branding, comps and features
Ads and Branding is a huge task to take on, it wasn’t until we had these weeks that i appreciated how much work has to go into creating adverts, that are engaging, good sound quality, meet the ASA standards, and clearly sell the product, and as for Branding and Station sound, having to almost create an audio logo for a show, Ozzy, Alex and Callum had the task of creating ads and Station ID, with the rest of the group pitching in to help create and edit ads, as we needed so many. I was asked to help by making one advert, I chose a British Gas advert, and decided to make an advert that is in line with the current advertising campaigns, using the same back music and similar phrases and the same tag lines they use.
Social media was also spoken about in this time, with Prof and Chloe setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Competitions and Features was fun and I felt really brought our group together, as we got to have a bit of fun with it, planning ideas together, starting out quite farfetched then narrowing them down into real competitions or features of the show. Tom also spoke about the correlation between low skill – big prize, high skill- small prize when creating a comp, as well as the legal aspects involved in running a competition.
Creating features was also a real team boost for the same reason of getting to bring ideas together, it was really nice to see someone come up with an idea and everyone come together to find a way to make it work. We decided on a Drive-In quiz, again, themed to our Diner 50s/60s Americana style, where we played songs from the genre that have been in films, and if someone got in contact with the right films they won a prize, as well as an Aretha Franklin 3 in a row feature, which we had to change, as she is more a soul artist than a rock and roll artist, albeit one of the best. It was a good way to learn that sometimes things just don’t work as you had thought, or maybe it was being shoehorned in because you are really proud of an idea. The Aretha feature was a great idea we all loved, but the more we thought about it, it felt like we were trying to make it work because we are all fans of her music, when actually a full feature wouldn’t suit our show, unless our show was airing very close to when she passed away.
In these weeks more focused on areas for other members of the group, i used that time to speak with Chloe about how we would want the OB to sit in the show, and then also spoke with the rest of the group to make sure we all agreed, and we decided on a 5-10 min interview about 20 mins into hour 2 with a 15 min live performance about 40 mins into hour 2. I had to find a musician that would fit the station sound and style, so got in touch with a friend who is a Pianist and singer, whose main repertoire is 50s and 60s Rock and Roll, got him confirmed once i was able to give him an explanation of our show and what we would need from him. He confirmed quickly which was a weight lifted. I showed the group his music and they all seemed happy that I pursued our musician, Marky Dawson. I requested a tech spec from Marky to give to Tim, and also for myself, so i knew where the instruments are going to be placed in the room, so i can then plan for where Prof could record her Facebook live post and also where i could put any props and room dressing if needed.
Blog Four: OB, production and Pilot week
This was when all the all the separate parts of the show started coming together and it started to feel like an actual radio show. In these weeks I started getting MP3s of our playlist and importing them into myriad, ensuring all the songs had intros and outros, and made a spreadsheet with the corresponding cart numbers to help with finding songs when compiling the clock on myriad. our full playlist was 107 songs, I wasn’t confident in clock building, so Charity offered to do that once i had all the songs in Myriad.
Pilot week showed us where we needed to tighten up our show, as well as establishing how the two studios interact with each other on the day as well as how to produce the live music element of the show, ironing out technical issues that may arise.
I think we were all quite surprised with how well it all came together, it wasn’t without its faults, Tom pointed out some areas to work on, so we spent the week working on those elements, tightening edits and creating better branding and callbacks, as well as more mention of socials and naming the presenters more often. busy busy busy pre-show week
Show morning was busy, last checks and corrections to paperwork and running order, we had to alter the timings of the OB slightly, from advice from Tom and Matthew, so we corrected the clock and running order to reflect that, i informed Marky, our performer of the changes and he was OK with that. The morning of the OB i dressed the room, me and Adam discusses how he wanted to present his interview and what he wanted his cues in and out to the studio to be, and we confirmed them with Callum, Chloe and Claire in the main studio. I asked Marky to arrive roughly an hour and a half before we went on air to give time to set up, run a sound check, a few rehearsals in the studios with support from Tim, we did a couple of passes between studios before we started also.
During the show i felt it went very well, for the most part it was tight and had a flow, we were able to correct any issues quickly without effecting the show, We did have issues during one of our features where the studio couldn’t hear that the bed was louder than their talking, which took a while to resolve. and during the OB, Marky kept moving away from his mic as he was talking so he was very quiet.
Listening back i am very proud of how our group worked together, we all helped each other, no role was beneath anyone else s roles, of course throughout the course of the module we had our upsets and falling outs, what group project doesn’t, but we were able to move past things and make up, as we knew making a good show was more important than bickering, and also in a professional environment you cant bicker, you have to learn to work with others to produce the best content possible.