In the first few weeks of the pop-up station, we had to choose the station name, theme and what roles we had. In class we all threw in ideas, from Love to space/unexplained to Culture to musicals. We were then split into groups to further work on these ideas, I was in two groups – culture which was the idea I liked the most and because myself, makee and Chloe had talked about this idea before the module had started. As well as this I was only in the Love group with Stephen and Alex, where we had actually thought of great ideas of what we would do each week, from LGBT, religion and Sex – and it was a close second. Then when it came to choosing our final theme for the station – there was one question that we all had to remember, especially for content, which was can we talk about it for 3 hours for 4 weeks (well 6 weeks for the pilots). In the end it came down to two themes, Love and Culture and we all decided to go with Culture which at the time was called Atlas. We then also decided on our roles, and I got the role of Studio Producer.
So as a studio producer, my role was to help out with content by creating clocks in the beginning, help with running orders, content and leasing with Chloe, the editor, work along with the Music content producer and the speech content producer.
In the beginning weeks, I had written out a physical clock out on the board (see picture below) for both shows (Speech and music) so it had given us a low down of how the shows would go. During this time there were role changes to the content producers, as Stephen was very helpful as assistant producer then became the Speech content producer as he was putting ideas forward and I then further helped him the beginning stages of the content being created. As well as this, Adam was also very helpful and he became the music content producer and then I went into helping him with content. The content team was a nice little team. Then using the clocks myself and Adam went and created the skeleton running order layout and changing items around if needed. The adverts we’re based on a 1’30’’ or 2’ timing, and all of the main short idents such as out of break (oob) or sweepers were based on a 3’’ timing. On the clocks I had to make sure that the news was included, songs, etc. so that I could add up the timings to make the hour right.
We had also set out the themes of each week – Entertainment, Love, Food and Traditions. I had also suggested digital content ideas to the right team and even suggested videos they should watch that have a similar outline for the content. I had been very vocal for ideas for content in both audio and digital
Pilot 1 was the shorter week, and we had based it off entertainment theme. I had done the running orders, and added all the timings ready for the first show. Makee being the presenter for speech and Chloe and Callum being the presenters for the music show.
This week, we ran features that could go ahead for the future weeks such as a feature that Adam came up with for food week, so he created the audio and we then ran the feature, using said audio. The OB, for that week, was short and we had a limitation of having no tieline and therefore we had to cover it over Facebook messenger which we were all happy with. During the live show, I would be on the Phone to Alex.J while the output was coming through. Obviously the show had some bumps, but I think we overcame them quite well.
During this week we also helped plan the next week in a group meeting, we would have on a Wednesday. We all decided to also go with the entertainment theme again to make sure we knew the basics and how to run everything. As well as this week, I had done some recordings with two Americans (see picture) for the idents for Atlas London using the script that Makee had done. I then cut them and sent the raw WAV files over to Makee for her to create the idents. I also in this week interviewed Sir Lenny Henry for some digital content and I asked him what his favourite thing about London was. Ryan came along to help me for recording sound and then I used the editing suites in J block to edit the video down for content.
This week was the week where we had a full hour / 2 hours for the different shows. I did do the running order late when I was still working on timings for the different shows etc. So I asked for help from the editor and the speech producer too. Prior to each show too, myself and Connor who was putting in the log would come in early to make sure the log and the running order would match – and that way the adverts and idents would be timed correctly too (as they were all not the same timing). This week was also on entertainment, and I believe it was quite a stressful one as the content wasn’t strong and there was a lot of ad libbing to fill time by presenters. I would say this was partly my fault as the second hour of the running order was not done, as was being done while they were on air – so I drove the desk for a while. Lesson learned.
Week 1 – Entertainment week
The Speech show content was all done by Stephen as it should, and all I did was put the running order together. I had booked Van Connor the film critique for a pre-rec interview that he did over the phone with Stephen (which originally was going to be a in studio pre-rec interview) I found Van Connor on twitter after someone who I knew suggested him to me and just messaged him on their and he was happy to help.
The Music show went well, we just needed responses for the ‘My family does that too’ feature and I believe we were just making them up in the studio. For both shows, I was going in the studio and talking to them while the songs were on to go through what they were going to talk about next and making sure that they were ok. The OB for this week, didn’t sound too great in terms of audio quality not content so we had to cut it short too.
Week 2 – Love Week
This week was all going okay until the OB fell through very very last minute. During the week before as well, me and Adam met up to complete the running order before time so that all we had to worry about were timings when it came to it and when myself and Connor would go through the log as we did each week. Myself and Adam, checked Eventbrite for the ‘What’s on’ feature and gave about 5-6 events they could talk about. As well as this, I got inspired by the Metro Newspaper ‘tube crushes’ feature to have our own ‘London crushes’ which we named shout out to my next (after the little mix song) where listeners would send in a voice note or a text to shout out their crush – while we were playing the audio it played perfectly on the google drive but the second time you played the audio you had to download it which I didn’t realise until it was too late, so while on air Chloe had to fill while I quickly downloaded the audio.
Now back to the OB which was at Kew gardens as part of the music show rather than the speech show. On Saturday, I got a distressed call from Alex Jones to say that the OB had fallen through, so I suggested that we move the OB to the music show as part of the ‘what’s on’ feature as a place to visit for a date. I had to let Chloe know of the change and explained the logistics behind it all and once Chloe was all happy with it, I let both Stephen and Adam know of the change which they were happy with. Originally the OB was going to be in Little Venice in Paddington but then Makee suggested the Kew where is had more of an cultural theme to it so I went along with it and it was all sent in stone.
There was also a major disagreement that had happened in the group chat, which did bring the morale of the everyone in class for the live show.
Week 3 – Food Week
For this week unfortunately due to coronavirus would be our very Live last week, I did the same jobs I had to do in my role, running order times, helping Adam and Stephen with their content ideas if needed, making sure the log and running order was all correct and set in stone. For this week I also suggested that we have a link with what was happening in Italy with their community coming together and singing along as a kind of pick me up feature. I recorded the audio from viral videos online so that it could be played on air, as a distraction of the seriousness of the news for the listener. This week I also helped film/ direct a video for our online content as there was none, so myself, Chloe, Callum, Alex irons, Stephen and Adam all came together to record a ‘taste challenge’ for our presenters. We asked Simon to use the green room in J block to try out different snacks.
Week 4 – Traditions (If it were to happen)
This week would have been our final and finale. I had been planning for weeks to do a live lounge, I had a small band in to practice how it would all work logistically (video below) and they played a piece of viaitimese funk, but as it was traditions week and we had talked about talking about carnivals, I really wanted a steel pan drummer in for a live sessions.
As Covid-19 was going on, the editor thought it was best that we do a ‘what’s on’ feature while you are at home. Adam found the live streams that you could put together, and I had suggested how you could recreate a 5 start restaurant in your own home and still support your local business.
I also created the responses for ‘my family does that too’ feature which is on a separate document and it was theme centred to ‘traditions’.
What did you set out to achieve and how did this change overtime?
Atlas London was based all about culture and with my own background coming from Morocco I was really excited to work on this project. All I could imagine was the bright, colourful, seasoned content we could produce from all of the different cultures. However as the weeks went on, I realised that it was easier said than done. I wanted the content to be fun and light on both shows, making sure that speech would just go into further detail. The way I was imagining it was a BBC Radio 1Xtra vibe, with a 6 music specialist music and the speech show having an almost ‘podcast vibe’ – to which I listened to Clara Amfo’s ‘This City’ podcast – which is all about the people and city of London. I believe that we did achieve that despite the limitations that we had to challenge. I do generally believe that as the weeks went on, we knew more and more how the show was going to run and felt more confident each week.
To what extent did your contribution meet the needs of the station? What worked and what didn’t work? What would you have done differently?
I set out a lot of ideas for everyone to use not just the audio content team and help out with anything and everything whenever possible. I had also thought of general content ideas What had worked is that we all worked on an idea and went to further develop or explain why something wouldn’t work The truth is that there were people who didn’t do their job on time or something that was missing, so there were certain people like myself who jumped in and completed the job or whatever needed to be done. In the beginning there wasn’t much content being created which was a struggle and then there were role changes which helped massively, so I suggested to Chloe if we could have midweek meetings to make sure that work was being done. What didn’t work, was there was lots of miscommunications between everyone and it did set us back at certain times and therefore brought up confusion and even some tension as some points. What I would have done differently is communicate more, I think everyone should and should not be afraid to ask for help if needed, rather than just staying quiet. I also know that I should have done my work for the station earlier so that no one would be stressed on the day.
What did you learn about your role; what was challenging? What do you take forwards as learning for the workplace?
I learned that my role is very head on and mainly in the studio which is okay, but I felt like it got to a point where my role was just to make sure that the show went smoothly. I trusted my content producers in the end and I thought that they had smashed it. What I found challenging was the content creating itself, especially in the beginning, because I found it hard to get an idea out, plus I didn’t want to be the only one with an idea and I wanted to give other people a chance. I did at one point felt like I was doing nothing and at the same time doing everything so I think going forward I would like to make sure what my role is, stick to it, just so I’m clear and that there is no confusion.
What did you learn about setting up a pop-up station? What would you do differently next time?
Teamwork is very important and that being confident 100% about an idea is essential. I loved that we got to explore different cultural backgrounds and listen and learn about new cultures and music, however at the same time it felt like we were scraping the bottom of the barrel to content and I could see that not everyone was confident with the Idea. I would have probably done a different theme – like Love, and in fact a different role like Digital Content as I found myself giving loads of ideas