A five minute radio programm, which would be of a documentary nature

The aims of our production was to meet the brief given to us, which was to produce a five minute radio programme, which would be of a documentary nature about any chosen current issue or topic. The format had to include a theme tune, vox pops, formal interview and links, in order to keep the radio programme continuous. It was also important that we included our own ideas, opinions and views, as well as those of others. Therefore, within our group it was decided that the target audience for our programme would be sixteen to eighteen year olds of both gender.

This audience was chosen because: * Interviews and questionnaires could be completed in College * Target audience is of similar age range as our group and we felt we would relate better to their needs As a group it was jointly decided that we all needed to gain more knowledge in the field of radio in order to conduct research on radio. As part of my research I decided to spend time listening to radio documentaries, which included news reports on ‘Radio 1’ and the ‘Breakfast Show, Radio 1’, which targets a younger audience generally, which was vital to our project.

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Also textbook research (‘Radio’ Shingler and Wieringa, 1998) enabled me to gain a better understanding about different types of interviewing and what works best on radio (Appendix 1). Once the target group was ascertained, it was decided by the group to design a questionnaire to find out our target audience preferences regarding listening to the radio, prior to planning our broadcast (Appendix 2). As a group we all had equal input into the design, distribution and collation of the results. The results were evaluated by the group (Appendix 3) and it revealed primarily that ‘Reviews and Entertainment’ (63%) to be the most popular choice.

This was explored further by a second questionnaire (Appendix 4) and by subdividing the topic more specifically results showed that the target audience preferred humour, music and more importantly reality television issues to be included in our radio programme (Appendix 5). Therefore, the group decided to make these aspects the priority in our programme. The resources available to the group were a Tascam (dat) player and microphone, digital editing equipment with the programmes of wave lab and Cubases. We as a group purchased a CD and tape.

The College Library acted as an excellent resource providing books on radio and provision of the Internet, all essential for research of the topic. Planning Accurate schedule and time planning was essential, to ensure our radio programme would be researched, planned, constructed and evaluated with the six week deadline. Initially time was spent designing, distributing the two questionnaires as well as collecting them and collating the results. Good time management was achieved because each member of the group took an equal share in this process to save time.

Using the Foundation Production Tracking Sheet the group decided to complete this by (5/11/02), as a way of ensuring we kept to a strict time schedule, within our allocated lessons (Appendix 6). However, where time was lost we decided to allocate our free time, such as lunch hours to keep to schedule. Within the group we divided into pairs. Jamie and myself primarily were involved with the script writing. My part was writing out the script for the introduction (Appendix 7), (Appendix 8) email research, and the conclusion to the programme (Appendix 9). The group decided to include emails to be read out during the programme.

This would give an individual and modern approach to the programme, meeting our target group needs. Pre planned scripts were written to ensure we delivered the correct content and stayed on track and timing. The style of speaking was to be informal, friendly, lively and clear in order to reach our target audience and keep their interest throughout the programme. The other members focused on vox pops, formal interview and we all contributed to the theme music. Appropriate uses of studio links were planned by the group, which ensured smooth running of the programme.

When planning the vox pops we took the following into consideration. The questions asked were pre designed (George, Kazz and myself) and have both an open and closed nature, to encourage people’s views and opinions. The location was important; a corridor was used to simulate a sensible level of background noise, but enables good quality sound of interview. Six random people were chosen from the target audience and the three best would be used. The formal interview questions were designed by Kaz and were of an open style, allowing more of a discussion.

It was decided to interview someone outside the target audience to give a balance to the programme. A college lecturer was chosen because of his knowledge and voice quality. He was given adequate time to prepare for the programme as he was approached the previous day. The college interview room was booked in advance to ensure no background noise for the recording of the introduction. It was felt that the introduction was a very important aspect of our programme because the introduction is a listener’s first impression of the programme.

The recording equipment was easily accessible without prior booking. On several occasions the classroom was booked for lunch time periods. Selecting the theme music was easy once the nature of our programme was decided and we fitted the music to the reality theme. Construction The programme starts with ten seconds of the theme tune of Elementfour/Big Brother. By using a fade up and fade down technique and the music selected, it was felt would draw the listener’s attention immediately to the programme, as it was a familiar tune that people liked and was instantly recognised.

This was achieved by recording the tune on to Wave lab, it was then edited to the correct amount of time needed and was then copied on to the programme Cubases. Jamie and myself then used our pre made scripts to perform the introduction. . This was achieved by using a microphone and DAT recorder on a stand to achieve a better sound quality. It was decided that we would speak in a lively manner, as our questionnaire revealed that our target audience preferred this style of radio Next followed a link from the end of the introduction to the beginning of the vox pops.

From the six vox pops obtained we selected the three most suitable for our programme. The vox pops required editing to meet the programme time schedule, a total time allocation of sixty seconds. Rough editing reduced the length of each vox pop but fine editing was required to achieve a fluent sound. This was done on the Wave lab programme. The group lost time with the rough editing, we didn’t meet the deadline we wanted to, and the process was rushed. It was decided to run two vox pops back to back and leave the third until later in the programme to avoid repetition and disinterest to the listener.

There were many benefits of the use of digital technology, it allowed the group to select what information was relevant, and we could delete irrelevant information from the production without having to re-record the interview. Jamie and myself performed the emails, careful selection of emails was made to keep to time schedule of sixty seconds. It was hoped that this would be an interesting aspect to the programme and would sustain audience listening. A microphone on a stand was used to maintain good constant sound level.

It was decided to digitally edit and add background music during the emails as on listening to our recording the item lacked excitement and sounded formal and serious. It was felt that music would liven the item up. The music chosen was Faithless/Insomnia, as this track seemed to set the desired tone of the item. Kaz interviewed a college lecturer for the formal interview. As this was a serious aspect of the programme no background music/noise was used and Kaz’s non-emoitional tone of voice created the right atmosphere.

The formal interview required rough editing where two questions were cut out thus losing sixty seconds in keeping in time with the programme time schedule. No link up was made following the interview to the final vox pop to give impact and variation. Jamie and myself perform the last part of the programme, the conclusion. Half way through the conclusion the theme tune fades in slightly as background music and when conversation ends the music volume increases and then fades out to end the programme.

To complete the end of the programme we thought it was very important to play the same theme music as this would wrap up the show and keep the main topic of discussion, reality TY, in the listeners mind. Evaluation We devised and distributed questionnaire 3 (Appendix 10) to our target audience to find out their responses to our programme. As a group we decided not only to look at the responses generally but also to find out both male and female preference to all aspects of our programme. The results (Appendix 11 and 12) were generally favourable.

The theme music chosen scored highly (83%) thought that the music was appropriate to the programme. As a group we thought the choice of music worked well, however, we would have preferred a longer (10 secs) introductory music but due to time restraints this was not possible. Responses to the introduction from our audience group varied between males and females. Males (57%) found it to be the highlight of the programme, whereas females (33%) found it to be equally as enjoyable as other aspects.

My personal view was that the introduction was the best part of the programme because it was well structure, delivered and the sound quality was excellent. The vox pops (public interviews) responses (males 29%, females 33%) scored lower and as a group we felt that these results were justified. However, we felt that the vox pops took too long to produce and edit and perhaps the questions we asked were at fault as the responses we received were at times uninspiring and were not good enough to use, this may have been due to poor interviewing.

The sound quality was quite good but the background noise idea was not as we had hoped – there wasn’t enough and it sounded similar to the formal interview. The email item was very successful and the research I carried out was valuable because it enabled us to obtain appropriate emails without too much difficulty or time wasting. The sound quality was good but background music was too loud. The formal interview from the audience responses scored the lowest (males 14%, females 33%).

The interview went well, in both style and content but on reflection perhaps it did not suite our target audience as the interviewee was of an older generation and also it should have been edited by twenty seconds as it was slightly too long. Sound quality was good throughout. The conclusion needed to be lengthened slightly to allow us more time to summarise the debate in more details. The sound quality and use of music worked very well. As a group we worked well and I achieved many personal learning outcomes including how a radio programme is constructed, interviewing techniques, recording and editing equipment.

In comparing our programme to other professional shows many weaknesses are highlighted but as this was our first production we can build on our experiences. Next time I would comply to time schedules, make deadlines for items and record finds as I proceed. Also not to rely on editing to the same extent as this would save time and create less workload. I also would concentrate on producing better vox pops, our vox pops lacked excitement and good relevant information relating to our issue. Questions of more variety would of allowed us to gain a better vox pop, which would allow the listener to enjoy and gain more knowledge on the subject.

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