Week One

We were introduced to the exciting world of Talk Radio by listening to shows from talkSPORT and BBC Radio 5 Live to name just a couple. As someone who’s a big fan of the genre (I have my own football talk show on Smoke Radio), I quite enjoyed analysing where the shows were good and where they were perhaps falling a bit short. We all quickly picked up on the “mmm”s on 5 Live and the generally poor structure, while we noticed that Adrian Durham on the commercial side was doing his job superbly to provoke people in to calling.

In the afternoon, we worked on two-ways. Following on from the sport theme of (what seemed to be) the favourite show of the class in the morning, Tony and I worked on a story about AFC Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. We appreciated that it probably wouldn’t lead bulletins but decided to work on a story we both had knowledge on to try and make it as conversational as possible. While there were a few pronunciation issues with no time to edit, it seemed to be quite easy to pick up.

Week Two

We were assigned in to groups, with my name cropping up in the draw for Group B. Unlike most times I have an interest in a draw of names in the wider sporting world, I was very happy with the outcome.

We got together in to our groups in the afternoon and worked on a news bulletin while producing individual stories. As no one else wanted to do the role, I offered to present as – although I wanted to challenge myself with another role – I knew I could do it quite well (if I say so myself). Admittedly, my presenting style doesn’t lend itself to reading news, so there were a few issues with tone when recording the bulletin to conclude the day.

Luckily, that won’t be an issue for the actual shows as we won’t be producing news bulletins, and I’m comfortable holding a conversational style for 30 minutes.

Week Three

We had a fascinating talk from Dave McMullan, who had endured the painful commute from Birmingham to London to speak to us. We learnt a lot about the production process behind Today on BBC Radio 4 and how the production team works closely with the presenters. An interesting tidbit for me was that the presenters prepare their own scripts – a technique I’ll probably take forward to our shows to make sure I’m 100% on what I’m going to say and that it’s in my own style.

In the afternoon we compared BFBS’ Sitrep and Nicky Campbell’s It’s Your Call on 5 Live. The overriding thing I took from 5 Live is that the show seemed to consist of people (e.g. Vernon Kay) who had been scouted to be a guest shouting about the topic at hand. I wasn’t a fan and would like to avoid that style for our shows. I also found Sitrep to be quite production heavy but all-in-all, it was an interesting show.

Week Four

Unfortunately I was ill, but listened to The Sports Bar on talkSPORT and The Surgery on BBC Radio 1. These were two shows that tackled different topics but had similar, almost light hearted approaches. Having received our brief of appealling to an audience between the ages of 25 and 55 (with a slight female bias), I don’t feel that either of the styles we analysed would be particularly appropriate.

In my absence, our group got together and worked on trying to emulate the style we were assigned. Listening to the reports proved to me that there’s a lot of potential for us!

Week Five

A very law-heavy week, with some interesting examples of how radio stations and presenters have fallen foul in recent years. This week refreshed my memory of many points, and I now feel confident in making sure we obey broadcast law with our shows.

As well as this, there was a rather enthusiastic debate about Iain Lee’s show on talkRADIO – with myself leaning on the side of thinking it’s brilliant.

We also took feedback on board for the mock show that I was absent for, with James’ package being singled out for praise. The next step for us is to discuss roles and get prepared.

Week Six

My forte. My enemy. Definitely not my calling. The wonderful world of the outside broadcast. Before our refresher session with Max, James and I decided it would probably be for the best if we were in charge of the OB on the day as we have experience, for better or worse, of using it for Smoke Radio and therefore were probably the most reliable, plus it would allow people based in the studio in Harrow to devote themselves to roles they felt they were best at.

Our OB practice consisted of Mark and I discussing the London living wage and UWSU recently bringing up their wage to match it, all went off without a hitch which is hopefully a good omen for the future.

Next up, essay preparation!

Week Seven

In David’s absence we discussed our essay questions – firming up the idea in my mind for which question I’m going to answer when I start writing my piece.

Following on from our slightly more academic start than usual, we got together in our groups to decide on features and content for our shows. As me and James are responsible for the outside broadcast, we decided to mind-map ideas that we could use. We came to the conclusion that as it’s Easter, it would only be right and proper to do an OB from a chocolatiers, finding out how Easter eggs in their wonderfully hollow glory are made, as well as giving a (perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek) look back at how the humble Easter egg came to fruition, with a healthy (well, healthier than chocolate) dose of facts and stats to explain just how the world has come to love them.

I also offered to help out Tony with his package on the interesting world of the juice diet, something that will be quite interesting to get involved with away from the live show. All in all, things are shaping up well for our station and I look forward to seeing what more we come up with.

Week Eight

I was away this week but paid close attention to my group’s outside broadcast from Westminster Bridge following the tragic events of the 22nd of March.

I’m sure that James gleamed plenty of experience from doing an OB alongside much of the world media at arguably the biggest news story in the world at this moment in time.

Week Nine

Here we go!

Our first pilot was on air at 1:30pm, meaning we had a chance to properly put our running order and features in to action. Naturally, this meant that James and I got to go and bask in the glorious sunshine while everybody else stressed in the studio. Erm, I mean, James and myself went out and about with the Tieline to The Chocolate Room in Harrow – eager to learn (genuinely, away from the show) about the business of Easter from someone who’s in the thick of it in the chocolate industry. While this isn’t the person we’re intending to talk to for our main show – mainly as they don’t make Easter eggs on site – Jay was a really engaging subject and we were delighted that he was keen to take part in the OB.

The tieline itself worked perfectly. We were able to listen in to the show and hit our cue right on the mark, minus the delay it takes for the audio to transmit to the studio. I felt like our interview went well and I was happy with my presenting, feedback that David concurred with.

Our main aim now is to secure our final guest for the second pilot and live show with just two weeks remaining of the module. As well as this, I’m helping Tony (fresh from his juicing experience) finish up his package and book a chat with a nutritionist.

Things are looking good!

Week Ten

Round Two.

After a bit of stress trying to find a relevant OB location that would allow us access at such a busy time, we finally found one that sounded perfect: The Chocolate Museum in Brixton. James and I, once again, ventured out in to the sunshine with the Tieline and found the place. With a very prominent chocolate-y smell and workshops where kids and parents, eager for something to do during half-term, learnt how to make their very own Easter eggs, The Chocolate Museum had everything we could possibly need for the OB.

We had a chat with Tomas who runs the museum while the owner, Isabelle, is busy with her own chocolate business – the products of which could be seen on the shelves that surrounded the museum. He was an absolutely brilliant subject. He knew everything in regards to what we wanted to talk about and had a captivating voice that kept us (me and James, at least) gripped to every word.

Admittedly, we still want to find a place that actually produces Easter eggs on a slightly larger scale for our live show – but The Chocolate Museum were brilliant to work with.

Week Eleven

Time for the big one!

This week we headed to Prestat Chocolates, supplier of the Queen no less, in North London to broadcast our final OB as part of our main show. Tense!

We started things off lightly by recording a quick hit for the show open menu so that my presenter role was more clearly defined and to break up the menu from Beth just reading things that were part of the show off of a list.

Off-air beforehand, we had a chat and a cup of tea with our interview subject Bill – the co-owner of the company – who was telling us various fun facts about Prestat that we could tie in to our interview, such as why the boxes are so colourful and eye-catching. His history in journalism before purchasing the company also stood out.

For the actual broadcast, we left the comfort of the office for the factory floor, where we stood next to an all too appealing fountain of white chocolate on the production line. Resisting the urge to ask for a cup, we began our broadcast and all went exceedingly well.

Bill’s answers were clear and concise so I had to deviate from my script a few times to keep the interview going but I felt that his answers were interesting enough and my additional questions had more than enough merit.

All in all, I thought that for our final broadcast the OB was as fantastic as we could want and James & I left the factory very happy (especially after we maybe consumed some free chocolate), especially after hearing how well the rest of the show went.

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