As editor of the station, I lead all group meetings at the start and end of the day, making sure everyone is participating and encouraging everyone to have their say. During these group meetings I hear from the head of each team and together with them I set targets, often with time deadlines.
When it comes to piloting and broadcasting, I sit in through the broadcast making notes on positives and negatives on sound quality, timing, and content to offer feedback during the group meeting at the end of the day. During broadcasts different teams also need my help to make certain decisions so occasionally I need to leave the control room to assist with that.
Both in and outside of the time spent at uni working with the whole group, I’m the main point of contact for each team and member of the station. All issues and queries are brought either to me, or to Jasmine as production manager. Discussions outside of uni hours are hosted on the Bite Slack which I check on regularly to make sure progress is being made across the station.
I’m also responsible for making executive decisions (e.g. the time of broadcast, paying for certain services, or assigning tasks) on both the direction of the station and specific features of the output.
Production week 1 – 11th February 2019
During the pre-production stages I had sit down with Stuart and Minnie from the sales team to create an initial list of brands to contact for ads and set out deadlines for producing them. The deadline we set at that time was the 18th of February, planning to have our brands settled on by the 8th of February. We knew this was pretty ambitious but I felt it was good to set tight goals so that the team didn’t end up slipping behind.
In terms of a pricing strategy, we initially thought about offering brands a range packages with ads of different lengths, but quickly scrapped this idea following some research he did and for the sake of ease and simplicity.
Once the pitching strategy was settled, I worked with Stuart on a draft email for sales members to send to each brand when reaching out to offer ads, making sure it was professional and represented us well. At this time I sent an email to Graze offering advertising.
For the rest of the first production week I took a step back while the team tackled brands, kept up to date with the ingoing and outgoing pitch emails, and kept up to date through Stuart on what progress was being made.
In pre-production stages I liaised with the digital content team to figure out what we would want to use as our social media usernames so it was consistent and easy to remember across all platforms. I checked a number of available usernames on instagram such as @bitegrams which I suggested as an alternative, as a number of official accounts use this format like Skepta, J Hus, and E4.
Ultimately the team settled on @biteradioldn across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for consistency.
This week Pulama explained to me that she would be building the website on WordPress and what kind of aesthetic she would go for. I set a target for the website to be completed next week, in time for the first pilot, so that content could start being loaded onto it.
Kate expressed to me that she wanted some involvement in writing for the digital team so I gave her the go ahead to write up some ideas for blog posts for the website such as simple snacks or foods to help you feel better when you’re ill.
Imaging and branding
Gabriel made a good selection of imaging demos for us to give feedback on and I set him some targets to have a selection of dry and wet imaging completed for next week (the first pilot) with an array of sizzling, fizzling, and hob sounds as well as just the bite noise.
I also requested that he source beds for the music show feature “21 questions” where one presenter guesses a food, and 3 different news beds to try. I suggested he change some of the musical beds as it didn’t really suit our target listener or brand identity and leaned quite far into ‘Bake Off’ territory.
Gabriel also proposed changing the branding colours each week to match the theme which I liked so said he should go ahead with doing that.
With Bethany, the head of news, we settled on a length of 3 minutes for top of the hour news, with a mix of hard and soft and at least 2 London stories.
Decided with the news team that the newsreader would also be the one to come on air and talk the presenters through the Food News segment for continuity, this is a decision based on examples from Radio 1.
As a result of presenter auditions, I decided Billy would fit best as an OB presenter and he could co-present with Minnie.
For the first week or so Phoebe was quite absent from group discussions and research on OB locations so I had to take charge of making sure everyone was researching and contacting potential venues in advance.
Phoebe then began to take charge so I was able to step back a bit, set targets for the team, make sure progress was being made rather than more and more venues being proposed without contact being made, and ensure all members of the group were involved as some had made it clear to me that other members may be slipping out of the loop.
Following some good research and contact from the OB team this week I set them the target for deciding on their desired final locations for all 4 weeks and contacting these places. I also asked that they write out their questions for the first pilot OB to figure out how much content there will be. Their final target was to confirm with Boxpark (the first pilot OB location) that they would have permission to record next week.
The main target I set with the magazine team this week is to have all their interview bids confirmed by Wednesday. The first two hours are coming together really well with research from Rhys and Holly.
The targets set today for the final hour of the show are two have the guest musician secured, finalise the specific features (e.g. “guess the food”) and to decide which vegan snacks the presenters will be testing. The features need to be established by Thursday at the latest.
Production week 2 – 18th February 2019
This week we had our first pilot, 2 hours long instead of the full 3 hours. My main targets established from today and the rehearsal:
- Presenters will have pieces of paper with the station name and all social usernames to avoid error.
- All guests need titles that fully explain their job and experience in respective fields.
- All music in Myriad must be clean and with correct intros and outros marked.
- Both studio and OB presenters need to work on their interviewing style so it’s more succinct and professional.
- OBs must be confirmed the week before and confirmed once again over the weekend.
- Ads must be loaded into Myriad the week before broadcast.
- Website headers need to be changed/reworded so they are more intuitive.
Overall the pilot was really helpful and a positive experience for each team to figure out how far they were from professional standard.
Stuart’s been sending me names of potential brands (such as Blue Dragon, the ‘Cook with M&S’ app etc.) that he comes across on instagram or ads elsewhere, asking if I felt they matched with the station’s image and target audience, and I gave the go head on those.
A number of bigger brands were secured at this time for ad production including the Cook with M&S app and Farm to Fork and I liaised with Stuart to ensure these could and would be produced on time and that duties were being shared out evenly between team members.
The website was loading very, very slowly on browsers so I spoke to the digital content team about ways they can make this load quicker due to a statistic on people abandoning websites if a page doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
The website isn’t quite completed yet, though looks professional enough to give the link to brands and professional contacts during email correspondence.
Imaging and branding
The imaging team were proposing that a voice actor be cast to record the imaging which would cost at least £20 so I said we should really steer clear of this as I felt it was unnecessary. I contacted someone who has done voice acting for me in the past to ask if she would be available to record for us, which she was, and played Gabriel some demos of her voice which he liked so we agreed to cast her.
I’ll be in the studio recording with the imaging actor on Sunday, the day before the second pilot, so they may not be done but Gabriel will be working on these throughout the day so we can trial at least a couple.
Following pilot 1, I decided Bethany would come on for the Food News segment and instead Stuart would be the newsreader for every top of the hour. This was after they both had a go doing the reading and I felt Stuart’s tone worked well for the top of the hour news, and Bethany should do food as she had taken responsibility for researching it.
Mariola did not turn up for pilot 1 and Bethany felt a lot of pressure was on her during the researching and thus the news was rushed and only loaded in the studio a few seconds before the top of the hour.
As a result, I got in touch with Mariola to ensure she would be on time for pilot 2, have contacted Riya to ensure she will support the news team in researching when possible, and next week will set a time that the news must be recorded by so there is no rushing in pilot 2.
Boxpark pulled out for the first pilot which was inconvenient but I told the team that for this week they could just do a dummy OB from elsewhere on the uni campus to test the Tieline.
The main feedback for the OB this week was that the presenters needed to relax when speaking on mic and be prepared to go straight in with questions for the interviewee. I advised the OB team at the end of broadcast that in future the OBs must be confirmed the Friday before broadcast, and confirmed again over the weekend to avoid future drop outs.
Pilot week – 25th February 2019
Today’s pilot was much slicker than the last and there are clear strides of improvement across the station! It was another positive learning experience. My targets from today’s pilot:
- The website page headers should be changed to something that looks less “default”.
- Bethany will be the newsreader for both the food news and top of hour news due to pronunciation errors.
- OB team need to stick to a schedule of having their venue confirmed a few days in advance with backups.
- Ben, Veganuary nutritionist, must be featured first as a practical guest introducing the theme.
- Guests should be gently challenged by the presenters to avoid plugging them.
- Presenters must mention website and socials where more info is available after guest slots.
- The food clues/guessing competition needs to be made a little easier for next week.
This week briefs had been received from brands and ads were being produced during the station’s second pilot so I spent some time to listening to them as they were being drafted. I gave feedback on music, scripting, and levels, making sure they were a good fit with the station’s image and target demographic.
I also spent some time helping Stuart think of some more lifestyle brands to target and suggested travel companies Jack’s Flight Club and Trippin.
Now that the website is almost completed I gave Pulama some feedback on things I thought could be altered to make it look better. I thought the header font needed to be changed as it looked like the “standard” font that may come on an empty template and that people may think much time hadn’t been put into design.
I also suggested that the menu headers be renamed and/or rearrange so that the website is easier to navigate and people with no knowledge of radio websites or our station could find exactly what they wanted. I suggested changing it to the “hamburger” drop down menu format that we use on the mobile site so that all pages are available.
As this was our final pilot before we go live I asked Pulama if we’d be posting any content live during the show as promotion practice to be deleted later but she decided this wasn’t necessary and wanted to stick with her initial egg-timer teaser promotion through Instagram.
This week Stuart started the pilot with a live read and struggled with pronunciation so I decided the team should do pre-recorded news for the following hour.
The following hour, Stuart struggled again reading the news and had to spend a large portion of time editing the news down. I advised him that if he made a mistake, to just start a whole new recording as the 2’30” doing a new take was considerably less than what it would take to edit.
The following hour, the pre-recorded news was slow to be completed again and pronunciations were wrong which I didn’t feel was acceptable for pre-recorded audio so I had Bethany do the final news.
Overall I also told the team there were issues in the levels of their voice and the levels of the clips used being completely different, so this will need to be worked on for next week. At the end of the day we decided that Bethany would be doing both the food news and top of hour news, with Kate and Riya doing researching and writing as well.
There was a mix up about the genre of food to be featured for the pilot – and the vegan pub we were meant to be featuring fell through – so there was a last minute scramble securing a venue despite me telling the team they really needed to have everything in order by the Friday before at the latest..
Everything did come together in the end with quite a lot of stress but I’ve told the OB team that each member should have their own backup restaurant ready to contact should something fall through again.
On air week 1 – 4th March 2019
Our first broadcast, Vegan Week, went well and overall the station banded together for a professional and cohesive three hour show. We had some setbacks (dropped phone line, poor tieline connection, audio editing issues) but these are all things to learn from for next week.
I sat in the control room for this broadcast so was less involved in the activities of the sales, news, and OB team than usual but took notes to assign improvement targets for next week
The main feedback for next week:
- The news needs to be fixed in all areas – scripting, reading, and editing.
- Some ads need to be changed – new actors for M&S, Subway, Casbah and Field to Fork.
- Utilise polls on Twitter and Instagram more.
- Photos from the OB need to be posted live.
Despite pre-recording news, there were issues with pronunciation and levels between newsreading and clips again so we held a meeting after the broadcast to decide what to do.
Due to pronunciation mistakes from Kate, I decided Minnie should now be the main newsreader rather than just a correspondent featured in shorter clips. She sent me four demos from work she did last year and her tone and speed of talking sounded good to me.
I’m also going to make sure I can proofread at least the first script of the next show to make sure stories are in the right order and that the whole bulletin is grammatically correct.
Gabriel from the socials team sat in the control room with us through broadcast to make sure that posts across Twitter and Instagram were fired at the right time. I helped him in wording these Tweets as they went out.
The Tieline was either out of credit or had no signal so the first feedback I gave to the OB team was that they needed to check this, and also check that future venues have a WiFi connection they can rely on to connect to us.
I also felt that compared to the pilot, we had a stronger presenter presence with Phoebe so have asked that she present next week with the potential to carry on presenting for the remaining shows.
The first two hours of the show have really come together and the presenters have definitely got a feel for their style working together now. My main feedback for these hours was on the interviews – e.g. Joe had a tendency to make questions a bit wordy and convoluted, getting off script and using up time.
I provided the presenters with a document giving feedback on each area – feature to feature – through Slack for them and the producers to look through.
On air week 2 – 11th March 2019
Our second broadcast was World Food Week and the show was a definite improvement from Vegan Week. We took our setbacks in the OB and News teams and learned from them to create an altogether more cohesive and professional 3 hours.
For the show I prepared a 3 minute package featuring my interview with Indie and West, a Caribbean pop up, for a small item on world food pop ups. For this I cut down my 7 min interview with Keshia, the owner, and arranged the answers in a way that made the most sense for listeners. I also found a fitting Trinidadian throwback song to use as a bed for some texture.
I also did a little research on current pop ups and where to find them to go on air as a correspondent with Kay-Lee and Joe. I think the item went down well and offered a nice break between guests.
The main targets for next week:
- Ads need to be re-recorded with appropriate actors, voices, and scripts.
- On-air social media interaction cues must be more direct/specific.
- Third hour RO must be finished further in advance.
- Music team should prepare notes for new or food-related songs.
- All items should be linked somehow.
- Top 5 recurring feature needs to be adjusted to top 3.
This week I proofread and edited each news bulletin before it was recorded to ensure the stories were succinct, grammatically correct, and ordered properly. Some stories I decided should be omitted and some required phonetic pronunciations to be written out for Minnie as newsreader (who did really well).
This seemed to work well as the news was playing out much better and I think it helped to take a little stress off the team towards the top of the hour. The news got better hour to hour so next week should be a breeze.
For next week the targets will be for no mispronunciations, proper tone for different news (soft and hard), and slight pauses between stories.
This week I made a joint decision with the producers to have Phoebe present as we felt she was the most natural sounding on mic and the OB turned out great. Conversation with the guest flowed and overall the sound quality seemed to improve from last week.
For next week, I’m hoping to get the sound quality perfect with no popping and equal levels between the presenter and the OB guest. The producer going along with Phoebe will have to be on it but it’s definitely achievable for us!
I felt that there was a definite improvement in the Casbah records ad – the script and music were much more appropriate BUT the actor sounded a little bored and unenthused so this one should be re-recorded.
There was also an issue with the Orbital ad where the file had 30 seconds of dead air, so everything loaded into Myriad needs to be double-checked in case Holly doesn’t notice.
Overall, the ads need to be worked on. New voices are needed for pretty much all of them and I think we should steer clear of overusing whispering, and music really needs to match the brand we’re representing on-air. I’ll be checking in with Stuart and checking on the Sales team chat regularly to get updates and make sure there’s progress on these.
On air week 3 – 18th March 2019
Today’s show was Bite’s broadcast for our Seafood Week. We had a really good mix of interviews, features, and textured audio this week but took some setbacks in an interview with a pushy pescatarian guest and ads, which didn’t seem to have made progress. However, strides were made in specific social media interaction cues and cohesive, well-timed social posts.
The main targets for next week:
- Ads still need to be revised – this is urgent now as it’s limiting our sonic quality.
- OB team must make sure to send a photo of the venue, the team, the guest, or their food immediately to the social team.
- The links between each item must be developed more on-air.
- Newsreader should alter tone to match the content of the news story.
This week we had CEO of the pescatarian society as a phone-in guest on the show. Though there was potential for this to be quite an insightful interview, it got a little off-track with ranting and inappropriate topics and analogies brought up. The presenters have been doing really well at finding the ‘push and pull’ balance of challenging and praising guests, but I think at times like this there needs to be more ‘push’ in butting in and taking control of the interview.
As mentioned, the ads didn’t seem to have progressed as much as we needed. Having spoken to the team, it’s clear that the real delay is in casting and recording voice actors, but some ads have remained unchanged completely like the whispering Nordic Bakery ad which really does not sound good on-air at all.
I told individual members of the team that I wanted to have revised ads finished a few days before broadcast so that I could listen through them and allow enough time for music or scripts to be altered in time for the final show.
On air week 4 – 25th March 2019
The final show: Dessert Week! To go out with a bang, we decided to create our very own pop-up dessert kitchen on campus and visualise the whole show. This was a much bigger task than the previous three shows so I made it clear to the group that we would need all hands on deck to get things set-up and running.
On the Friday before the show, a group of us came in to set up our “kitchen” room with all the necessities in visualising, to establish what props and ingredients we needed for the day, and to iron out technical problems we may have in broadcasting from a completely different room.
While other team members took heed in green-screen, streaming, and broadcast tech, I focused on getting all the materials we needed together. Jasmine and I sat down and figured out a list of all the props we needed, both practical and for aesthetic. I really wanted to make sure the set-up looked good on air and didn’t just look like a haphazard student TV assignment. I then figured out the cheapest place to buy the props on such a short time constraint and placed an Amazon Prime order with Stuart to have some of them delivered the next day.
Next, I sat with Rhys and Pulama who had been liaising with guests to establish what ingredients were needed for our cake-based features. I finalised this list with Jasmine and we divvied up the ingredients to buy in time for Monday. The final push was going for a big shop at Asda and picking up a trolley full of all the paper plates, baking implements, and sweet toppings I could have needed.
We all agreed to start our morning meeting half an hour early, at 9:30, to get ahead as this show had so many more potential pitfalls. Despite this, due to technical issues with mic quality, level distortion outside of the control room, and a malfunctioning TieLine, we took our prep right up to the wire getting everything smoothed out.
Despite all these setbacks, the effort put in from certain team members in helping out really made the last show a good one. Guests were great this week, a really strong mix of credible and enjoyable people, and the online visualisation looked really good.
There were some lapses in radio quality where the presenters relied too heavily on the visual aspect of features, but this was reigned back in particularly during phone interviews and the OB feature, and the producers were very tolerant of me shouting to get the presenters to “describe things more”! The presenters also did well at following questions that I added in to the script last minute during interviews.
I still checked the news bulletins and reworded and ordered the stories each hour, and acted as the point of contact for anyone who needed me, but this week everyone seemed confident in their roles and there was overall less stress, across all the teams.
In all, a wonderful last day for Bite!!