Alex Jones- Outside Broadcast Producer (Atlas Radio)
We decided upon roles for the station and I was assigned the role of OB Producer which meant that I was in charge of OB locations and interviewees. I researched our chosen topic which is different cultures around London and started to think about possible OB locations for the pilot shows and the graded shows. I put all this in a document then shared this with the rest of the content team to worked out how things worked together.
I also made a document which had different cultural events that are happening in London which I shared with the content team, this included a bus tour in Brixton for example (which is being used in our first graded show I believe…) and some other interesting events happening between February and April.
On this day, me and Sara went to scout out different possible OB locations in London. We looked at Edgware Road which has a rich Arab culture and Little Venice which had a European culture. This gave me a good idea on what to look for in OB locations and helped me think of possible locations for the shows. I could also start to see the technical difficulties with coming from each location and work out how we can work around these.
We started to finalise ideas and I got paired up with Alex Irons as he was given the role of OB Assistant Producer. We thought of different OB locations based on the theme of ‘Coming of Age’ . I got in contact with a vicar from Ealing named Rachel who had a good knowledge on confirmation which ties in nicely with the theme. As I was the one who got in contact with Rachel, I phoned her to confirm the time and date for the first pilot which was on the 17th Feb the week later. At the same time as planning the first pilot, I decided to think about the weeks ahead and produced many documents with outline plans on for us to work on as a group.
Pilot- week 1
We did our first OB for Atlas London! We travelled to Ealing and did a six-minute OB with Rachel who spoke about confirmation, some interesting points were brought up about the topic and made the speech show interesting to listen to and it tied in nicely with the topic. We had some technical difficulties with the Tieline so we had to use Facebook Messenger to call the studio and I was on the phone to the studio producer who kept me in the loop regarding timings.
We decided that the second pilot, which is on the 24th February, will be based on entertainment which is also the theme for our first graded show.
I have contacted Safari Cinema in Harrow, as well as other Bollywood cinemas in London however I have been turned down by them all. This was disheartening but I continued to approach them as well as plan weeks ahead. I also contacted Bollywood dance schools in London however I haven’t heard back from them either. I also have contacted other potential OB locations for the graded weeks, and I have again been turned down by many places including the Sanatan Temple in Wembley which is disappointing. I have learned that getting in contact with different businesses is a lot harder than I originally thought and it is hard to do when by myself. I thankfully have the rest of the content team to approach people on top of me to make sure we approach as many people as possible.
However on a more positive note, we did manage to arrange an OB with Bang Bang Food Hall with the bubble tea stand there. This will work for food week, especially due to the nature of the food hall and the community that comes with it.
We had a content team meeting which meant me, Stephen, Adam, Chloe, Sara and Ginny had an chance to chat through ideas. We plan to do more of these. We discussed how much progress we are making and to plan the show for Monday. We came up with more ideas regarding the OB and I contacted and phoned more places to try and sort out who we could have on the show as a guest. I managed to secure a place with ‘Natasha Patel’, the manager for ‘Absolute Bollywood’ who we were to contact and chat to on Monday.
Pilot- week 2
It’s the second pilot day! I had a panic phone call from Natasha in the morning as she had confused the timings, thinking we went on air at eleven not twelve despite it saying in the emails twelve. Nevertheless, I spoke with Natasha and we worked out a solution to the problem. Kindly she cancelled her teaching for her class so she could chat to us on air. We travelled to Southgate then did a ten-minute OB from her house. This meant we didn’t get the full Bollywood audio in the background, but I am happy we got a good interview out of Natasha herself. Although the location wasn’t perfect, we still got a good interview and she was a great guest for the show. I tried to find some digital content whilst there, but Natasha was not took keen on taking pictures of her which I understand. This will be something to work on in further weeks. That is on top of getting a better location, trying to make the OB sound like it is meant to be there (not from someones house ideally that is) and to trying and get the TieLine working as yet again, it was faulty for this week meaning that we had to resort to using messenger again.
We prepared for next week’s show. We got in contact with Venue 229 as they have lots of European artists and a festival within the next week so fits in perfectly. Alex Irons is going to call the manager (as he used to work there himself) to see if we can come in. The reason why we are looking for guests and locations now is because my original idea and the backup both fell through. The London School Of Bollywood was the main plan and The Globe Theatre as the backup. We also managed to confirm a slot with ‘My Shaadi’, a wedding planner who focuses on different wedding cultures and religions for the ‘love’ themed week for two weeks’ time. It’s been a productive day! 🙂
Another day, another production meeting… today we spoke about steps forward and getting ready for our first graded show this coming Monday. We are preparing for the OB and finalising details with ‘Venue 229’ which Alex Irons is in charge of, he is phoning the manager. In case this falls through I have a document of back up ideas including a phone number for the press manager for ‘The Globe’ theatre which we can contact in case ‘Venue 229’ can’t work alongside us. We are aiming to get this done between now and Friday so we don’t stress out on Monday morning before the show.
We managed to secure an interview with ‘MyShaadi’, a wedding planner who focuses on different types of weddings in the asian cultures. I found the contacts such as address and numbers and Alex Irons visited the shop to confirm the interview. I have an email for the owner which I have emailed just to double confirm as I have learned from previous weeks that this needs to be done.
Whilst on my break at work, I emailed some Bollywood schools and companies and I managed to confirm an interview with ‘Sumeet’s Step2Step’ dance school for Monday. I had to step in and arrange this interview as Alex was too busy to phone and email them and I felt like it was necessary to find another place quickly as our deadline is tomorrow to get everything sorted. I FINALLY FOUND OUR 3RD OB!! 🙂
Graded show- 1
Today was our first graded show, which was themed around entertainment. We did our OB in Hounslow with ‘Sumeet’s Step2Step’ dance school’s studio. This came with its issues including technical difficulties such as a broken line when live on air. This was probably down to a bad internet connection despite being connected to what we thought was a reliable WiFi connection. The interview itself was good however it is a shame that everyone in the studio couldn’t hear it as the background and history of the school was very interesting and relevant to culture in London. We did however manage to get a photo of the interviewees (Sumeet and Monika) which we sent to the social media team and was used for Twitter and Instagram.
Things to improve on for next week.
- Have a better WiFi connection/ signal as a back up
- Have a back up idea such as calling the presenter on the phone
- Using the Tieline instead of messenger call even though this was a limited option due to the Tieline still being unusable. The Tieline should be up and working by the 3rd week so fingers crossed!
We had another team meeting today to focus on what needs to be done for next week’s ‘Love week’ and also what could be done to start preparations for ‘food week’.
We have a wedding planner booked for next week- ‘MyShaadi’ who focus on different weddings in different cultures. We have also planned out food week’s OB which is at ‘Bang Bang Food Hall’ in Edgware.
I have also been in contact with a potential guest for food week, ‘Ada’ who is from the Czech Republic and is willing to chat to us about different Czech foods. She has also agreed to send over some famous Czech snacks for the presenters to try. She has given us a recipe for a traditional Czech dessert and it has given me the idea to make some digital content for the social media pages or even a package of us trying to make the dessert. I am going to work with the content team to try and arrange this.
Graded show- 2
Our original OB plan for ‘My Shaadi’, the wedding planner fell through as the other member of the OB team didn’t confirm the interview when I was under the impression that it was confirmed. This lead to us trying to find another interview over the weekend which unfortunately didn’t happen due to the late timing of it all. We eventually did our OB from ‘Kew Gardens’ at the Orchid exhibition in South London and although we didn’t have an interview, I spoke on air about what was going on at the exhibition and how the location is a good date location which fits in well for love week. I also found out while I was there that orchids are the flower of love so again, it was a really good find for the outside broadcast.
I presented for the first time which was an interesting experience however I stumbled over my words a number of times which lead to the OB being cut short as I was running out of things to say.
After the show, we rang up the OB for next week (food week) at Bang Bang food hall however they are no longer answering emails or phone calls. We had the idea to go to Brick Lane to speak to a curry house owner for example however we have confirmed an interview with “Wing Yip” which is a Chinese supermarket which have multiple shops in the London area. Brick Lane is our back up idea if this one falls through.
Things to improve on:
- Again, confirm the interviews way beforehand and keep communication between team members clear and organised.
- Have the TieLine fixed and ready for the last 2 weeks of graded shows.
- Improve and practise on my presenting skills, this could be by having better notes and prompts when on air.
Graded show 3
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, this was our final week of live shows.
This week was particularly hard, partly due to the fact I had to make an emergency journey home from Paris the night before (after spending 2 days in a hotel room not knowing if I would make it or not) and due to this, I hadn’t have the time or the resources to sort out and communicate efficiently with team members. I had limited internet and no laptop during my stay.
‘Wing Yip’ had cancelled on us Friday evening due to the virus and I hadn’t sorted out a back up as this was our back up after Bang Bang was unavailable.
On the day, we travelled to Brick Lane to do our OB to speak about the curry houses in the area and about the culture of the area. We were told by the producers to find someone to interview however as it was 12pm, there were no restaurants open and nobody to chat to. We made the decision to go to Spitalfields Market and chat to a restaurant owner there. As it was lunch time, these places were busy and the members of the public were not keen to talk to us on air. We ended up doing a 2 way between the presenters and Alex Irons. We did have some technical difficulties but we switched to a phone call as a back up which worked fine.
Show 4, planning
Our plan for week 4, if this was to go ahead would be to visit a place of worship for traditions week. Our ideal interview would be with the Sanatan Temple in Wembley as they have a rich history and is a traditional place of worship. We would interview ‘Denial Murchi’, the pastor of the temple.
Location- Sanatan Temple, Alperton, Wembley
Interviewee- Denial Murchi (temple pastor)
Reason- The location is a traditional Hindu temple and fits in with the theme of traditions and Hindu culture in West London.
In- thanks Makee, today I’m at the Sanatan Temple in West London looking at traditional Hindu values…
- Tell us about the temple’s history?
- How big is the Hindu community in West London and who do you see coming through the temple’s doors?
- Can you tell us about what traditions Hindus follow?
- How did you get involved with the Sanatan Temple?
- How do the community play a part and get involved with the temple?
- Finally, what does the temple do to stick with traditional Hindu guidelines?
Out- thank you Denial Murchi from the Sanatan Temple. Back to you Makee.
Lessons we have learned from the first week include learning how to use the TieLine, even if we didn’t get to use it, it is still a useful skill to have. Another progression is that preparation is a must and we have to plan an OB a few weeks in advance, however due to the virus our plans may not have gone to plan meaning that we have had to do some last minute planning for the OB the following week.
If I have learned anything from this experience, it is that planning is essential and having good communication skills between other students in this project is a must. Without either of those things, the station wouldn’t work and we would be letting other people down. The topic of our station (cultures in London) was new for me as well as other students, so it was an educational experience to say the least. During the last 10 weeks or so, I have been introduced to many cultures in London that I was unaware of. The purpose of the station was to educate and entertain people in London, as well as be inclusive of the cultures we were talking about.
Something that I have really noticed during the last 6 weeks is that team work may mean pulling other people’s weight when they don’t do their jobs. As the OB Producer, the entire OB fell onto me and I was a key link between the studio producers on campus and the OB presenter. I ended up picking up extra jobs from the assistant ob producer which meant that I was doing more work than I originally planned to do, however in doing this I was helping the wider team as a whole and making the station run as smoothly as possible. Some weeks I would find that some jobs had not been done (despite being told they had been done) the morning of the show, so I had to pick up these pieces. This not only put unnecessary stress on myself, but also the studio producers and editors.
Even if some OB’s did not go to plan, the fact we still had an OB each week is something to be proud of considering the circumstances we were faced with. The final 2 live shows had a live 2 way between the presenters in the studio and the OB presenter, which may not have been the most ideal situation however after speaking with the producers and the rest of the team, we felt like it was the right thing to do. This proves that communication is a key part of this project and can be used in any radio work place situation. Another lesson learned is that people don’t always do their jobs and that is something that may be expected for you to take on, even if it is not your original role. The entire time of this project, I always had in the back of my mind that what I was doing was for the rest of the team and that everyone had their own individual part to play in one big station.
If I was to do this again, I certainly would not choose the OB producer as my role, I think I would go for a more studio based role (where people are less likely to cancel on you last minute!). If I was to do the same role again, I would plan out my weeks in advance and have this done before the live shows are being broadcasted. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience and I have learned a lot, not only in a broadcast setting but also about different cultures in London.