Background/Pilot episode

During the weeks before the pilot show I was appointed as the station editor and co presenter, I was  excited to do this as both are big roles in the group and I was keen to showcase my skills as well as learning more about being a presenter as it was a role I knew that I would really enjoy as I have such a love for music radio and is something I’d like to do more of once I have graduated.   I was also looking forward to being the show editor as my course mates all felt I was well suited to the role, and this would give me a good opportunity to test my leadership skills. I had been trying to come up with ideas for this station before the term started as I have been excited for this module. I was pleased that one of my ideas, a travel-based pop-up radio station had been picked.

In the weeks leading up the pilot, I came up with the basic structure of the show, 2 hours spilt into 4 half an hour section. The first section was a consumer advice section to start the show off. The second section was about traveling around the UK.  The third section was about travel around the world and the fourth a section on activities and trying to be more engaging with our audience. We wanted their travel stories and what they enjoyed doing on holiday. From this, we went and through a google doc where we made a table and inserted ideas throughout the weeks.

In the run up to the first week’s show, we all got the questionnaire completed by as many people as possible, having taken a look at the results the overwhelming choice for music indie rock/pop and popular songs from the 60’s70s/80’s.  Then Ewan and I extensively created a list of artists that would fit into this as it would build our stations music policy. We made sure the playlist was inclusive for listeners, including artists from BAME and LGBT+ backgrounds. I then spent a lot of time before the first week with Ewan going through Zeta and G selector to learn as much as I could so I could with the technical side as he was desk driving.

As we headed towards first pilot show I came up with many features that would run throughout the show. Including Jake and Olly our resident consume and travel experts. I tried as hard as possible to get a female voice in there to have as either a consume or travel expert however I could not find anybody available to do it despite extensive attempts and many false starts. I came up with the idea in the second section of the show of visiting a different place around the UK in each of the 4 weeks we were on air. I came up with the twitter vote for a song related to a topic on the show that week e.g Rocket Man or Starman for our spaced themed feature. I also came up with the Band on the run feature which was looking at a successful album record by a well-known artist record in an unusual location as well as my Getaway a section where one of our listeners gets in contact with the show and records a short piece about a song that reminds them of a holiday they’ve been on. During this time I wrote some notes for Jake and Olly to help them answer our questions. I also secured an interview with Laura from the Coventry tourist board to talk all things City of culture and Subash Lukani the chairman of a local Hindu temple to explain how Diwali is celebrated here in the UK and around the world and how and why people travel for it.

First week

After a difficult pilot episode, I took a lot of the feedback onboard and was determined to make sure that the first proper episode was a success, I admitted I thought the pilot episode was going to be a struggle as I’ve never really done any presenting before and the last time I did it was a year ago, and I’ve never presented with my co presenter either so we practiced that as the week went on to make sure by the time of our first show it much better. Every week during this period I arranged a meeting for us as a group to discuss where we were with the upcoming and what I could do to help. For example, I knew more than Milo as a reporter on the history of Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run album, I wrote notes on it gave some context to his life and career at the time and what Nigeria would have been like and what it’s like today, and Milo built on this.

I helped write cues for every item of next week’s show which really helped the show flow. We got better at teasing links for the show reminding the listener what they were listening to and who we were. I also wrote some back-anno for pieces on the show and helped Billy create a plan for socials. We then had a meeting about every week to go through and make sure that he was aware of what to post on what platform and when which helped as it gave the vote for Bond songs for example much more clarity which in turn made it a strong link. I helped Ewan created the running order every week to make sure the content was well placed, and song suited the position they were in.

I re edited my Coventry piece to play a song by the Specials in the middle when the interviewee mentions the band and help to completely re write the Band on the Run section that was too wordy and didn’t flow well. I was also battling with a sinus infection through this period which made communication over the phone difficult so had to resort to emailing to source interviews for a short time.

Second week

There was massive improvement between the Pilot and first weeks show which was very pleasing as we had worked very hard up until this point and it was nice to see the project start to come together. I was conscious I was speaking too fast when presenting so practiced in my spare time I was practising trying to speak slower and trying to make sure I didn’t speak with so much of a thick South London accent! I wrote the notes for both Jake and Olly again this week which was a lot of research probably the most I had to do for any of the 4 weeks as I had to learn loads about the Brexit rules as Jake didn’t really know anything about them and all of Olly’s section as he knows about how to get people to a destination but not really why to go to the area, and defiantly not much on how an area became a tourist destination in the first place. I did a lot of research into the Graceland album and the events and circumstances around it. I presented this to Milo for this week’s Band on the Run as he focused on South Africa then and now. I also sourced a WWF tourism volunteer to explain keyways in which we could all start to be more sustainable as tourists and nearly got her for a live interview but unfortunately had to be pre-recorded as she had work.

 I continued to regularly speak with the group and told them if they were struggling with their items to chat to me and I could see how I could help them with either sourcing people/content for their item or changing it to something else. I helped Milo with this by sending him over many journalists/space agency workers who had either written articles about space tourism or worked for a company in question themselves. I think this gave Milo a confidence boost because he then started sourcing/ contacting many more, however none of them were free before or on the day of our second show. I met up with Billy again during the week to help formulate a plan for socials and the website and what to put up there and when. I spoke to Carrie as well to help her come up with ideas for the show that she could record and as the only female of the group I felt this was important as her piece on women’s travelling could be strong and would sound much better voiced by her than anyone else. Also, being from China we felt her input could help us make the show more diverse by appealing to a wide range of potential listeners, I was also keen to make sure she was/felt included in the show as it’s my role to do so and make sure she wasn’t feeling left out having been in China for a large part of the early decision making.

 Third Week

This week was a different experience for me than from the first 2 weeks. Having had an ankle operation on November 19th. I had been out of the role as editor from the day before till I came to university campus on the day before the show. When I shared role of editor and producer with Ewan who did a great job in place. I still contributed significantly throughout the week though to help make what has been our strongest show to date. At the start of the week, I asked if other group members would be able to take on a bit more of a hands-on role for this week, so Ewan did most of the research for Jakes piece and Billy helped me with Olly’s piece having contributed to it the week before as well. Before my operation I also recorded an interview with Julia Linfoot, a canal boat enthusiast, and helped pick Radiohead as this week’s band on the run, I helped Billy again with this week’s socials we sat down and went through them all and tried to create more a structure for posting on what sites and when throughout the week and for the show.

Energy levels were dipping a bit this week and I was keen to make sure everybody stayed focused and were enjoying It. I had organised, pre operation, an interview from Discover Northern Ireland for the day before our third show, unfortunately they cancelled. However, I used this as a perfect opportunity to show the group what to do if they were struggling to find interviews at short notice. I found 2 different Facebook pages about Northern Ireland travel and posted adverts in there asking if anybody could do the interview for us. After much backwards and forwarding with members of the group I managed to secure an interview with Ali Greame, a Northern Irish tour guide half an hour before the show went out to air. I kept the group updated via Whatsapp for the best part of 12 hours on the cancellation and then subsequent events as I wanted to show them that the process to getting interviews/content is not always easy and can be a bit of a roller-coaster but is worth it in the end as she turned out to be a solid interviewee. Asides with getting Olly live for this week’s episode, I also got Jane Hall a psychologist live on air to discuss the psychology of travel with me. It was great to get two live interviews, I feel it really changed the dynamic of the show, tested our skills, and ticked off one of the assignment briefs.

Discussing with Simon in the Smoke Radio Pod afterward the show it became clear that there was a misunderstanding regarding our music policy, we had based our song choices off what was most popular in our questionnaire. As people had said rock indie and older pop music that’s what the stations music policy was based off. If the answers had been R’nB or Hip Hop then we would have based the music policy around that. When Simon suggested Destiny’s Child as a potential artist, and we explained why we weren’t playing them he then realised where the misunderstanding had been and agreed that our playlist was suited to the audience we had picked. We had/were making efforts to make sure we played Women, LGBT+ and Black and Asian artists throughout the four weeks which I think shows in our song selection. I think this conversation was an important one to have and thinking about this in the real world will serve us well. I had been keen in every week to make sure I took charge of the show as I was the editor, but equally to allow everybody to bring ideas to the table and work on content they wanted to produce as this is a group project and I feel the rest of the team did a good job in contributing more when I was unavailable.

 Fourth week

As discussed in the debrief after the 3rd weeks show. I rested the first couple of days as I was still in quite a lot of pain and recovering from my operation but told the team I was happy to help where I could by trying to call and source people for interviews and doing research where needed. I’d sat with everybody after Mondays show to go through with them what they were doing for final weeks and came up with ideas such as LGBT+ travelling the New York idea and the Christmas theme of the show. Me loving Christmas and Ewan disliking it which tied in nicely to our poll vote on Wham! As I had done in the three weeks previously. I wrote the ‘my getaway’ piece in this time as it was much easier to write it ourselves than it was to find somebody to contribute with an authentic song/story for the show. I recorded/ typed up the research for Olly and again this week with some help from Billy again and also went through the feedback given about socials to try and get them even better for the final week. I think he had worked really hard on them up until this point so was keen for them to as good as possible for the final show. I recorded two interviews that weren’t used with the show. One was with my Girlfriends sister who is a journalism student at the University of Manchester. She also works at winter wonderland in Hyde Park and wrote a piece for her student magazine on Christmas markets. The other was with an Australian Quantas pilot I had got in contact with via a pilots’ forum who was currently quarantining in Singapore, it was a shame neither of these interviews were played out in air especially the pilot one as I had been building on feedback given about interviews over the previous weeks and thought this was the best one I had done.

I had also arranged an interview the Sunday before the show with visit Scotland to talk about Edinburgh and had researched detailed questions about the city from its unique architecture that inspired the Harry Potter Books, through to its famous festivals such as the fringe, unfortunately, the person who agreed to the interview dropped out last minute and was replaced by a Glaswegian so I had to very quickly on the spot change the interview to things to do in Glasgow which was frustrating initially however a good experience as this is bound to happen in the working world and reacting at short notice and still getting a solid interview out of it was a success. I also organised the prize giveaway alongside Carrie which was a book about road trips around the UK which I tied into to the twitter poll song or though subsequently realised I could have done the competition winner and poll at the same time. As always, I worked with Ewan on the shows running order and Billy helped us source songs and choosing which ones to pick with the added element this week of adding a couple of Christmas songs. As the weeks went on particularly the last two weeks, I felt my presenting had vastly improved, I wasn’t expecting it to be great at the start as I have very limited presenting experience however all my friends listening along with other members of the group all said it had improved considerably by week 4.

Overall, I have really enjoyed the Pop-up station, it has been one of the most challenging but rewarding things I have ever done, I’m proud of all of us as a group for working hard and producing 4 shows that got better as they went along and were all rich with content. I have learnt a lot in my role as editor/presenter and hope to continue to build on the skills I’ve picked up here as I build up my career in Radio. I’m also pleased we gave the Pop-Up station a fitting send off!

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