Audio Production

The production of the audio for the podcast has been a great process to go through.  After having voice coaching from Cat Hepple, it has helped my projection of my voice, both in this podcast, and the work I do at the radio station.

By using the diaphram correctly, I am able to control my breathing, so that I can sound professional, without straining my vocal chords.

When I’ve listened back to recordings before, and after, there is a very distinct difference between the two, and I will move forward with this new control, to bigger and better things.

Newsgathering Sources for Stories

There are many places where stories for TV, Radio and Print can be sourced from.

This list is not exhaustive, but covers most areas.

  • News wires and agency copy
  • User Generated Content
  • Newspapers – Print and Online, both local and national.
  • Social Media – Twitter and Facebook
  • Contacts – It is vital to build relationships with people from the local area
  • Television
  • Google News
  • Local News
  • Police
  • Government report – Local and Central
  • Previous stories
  • Radio
  • Diary stories
  • Council Agendas
  • Crown Prosecution Service

Radio – More powerful than you think…

Television is great don’t get me wrong, but to turn the box off and put the radio on is a powerful thing.  You can still work, and sing along, as long as you don’t type the lyrics into your blog!!

Seriously though, music can be a very strong motivator, especially is the beat is just at the right tempo.

I’ve sat at my desk, pretty much for the last 13 hours with the tunes on.  In fact the only time I’ve not been here is for bathroom breaks, and to put the washing on the airer!  Oh being a student is just soooo glamourous.

It’s worth doing, get some great tunes on, and work to the beat….thank you Absolute80’s!

Differences between TV and Newspaper interviewing

During the lesson, we discussed different tactics regarding interviews for a visual audience and print journalism.

In print media, it is easier to persuade someone to give an interview.  These can be done over the telephone, and you don’t have the danger of the interviewee being camera shy at the last minute.

Time pressures for on-air interviews are a big factor, whereas print interviews have a longer time factor, unless you are fighting to get a story into the newspaper close to the final deadline.

Shorthand is also a valuable tool within print journalism, whereas in television, the camera is your record.  If shorthand is not an option, then an electronic copy of the conversation is essential, just in case you miss something in your notes, and can be used in defamation defence, if required

The art of a good interview

During my sessions with Emma Massey, we looked at what it takes to do a good interview.  This 12 point plan is for video interviews, but most of them still apply for audio interviews as well.

  1. Do your preparation.  Research the subject if you have the time.  Decide beforehand what the style and purpose of the interview will be.  Will it be a chatty interview, or one that is Paxman-esque?
  2. Always know what you want to get out of the interview before you start.  You don’t always have the luxury of speaking with the interviewee prior to the interview though.
  3. Always listen to what is being said.  Sometimes you might just get a line that leads on to other questions.
  4. Always give the interviewee the opportunity to add anything else on the record.
  5. Be aware of your time pressure, be that doing a live or pre-recorded interview.
  6. Listen!
  7. Plan complicated interviews, especially ones with politicians.  You may need to change your approach, play devils advocate for example.  Start with easy questions, and then hit hard, but ensure balance, and don’t be afraid to interrupt.  Try to ensure your questions are also on the microphone, especially if the interview could be construed as controversial.
  8. Don’t interrupt unless necessary – It irritates the audience, and can leave any audio unusable.
  9. If you are live, don’t forget to keep an ear out for libellous comments, and use a quick distancing apology.
  10. If you are pre-recorded, don’t be afraid to get an interviewee to “stage” a succinct version of their answers.
  11. Be aware of your interviewees restrictions and capabilities.  There is no point asking a question that they cannot or are unable to answer.
  12. Always use open questioning.

Local Television

Heralded as the future of Broadcasting, this was the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt’s big scheme for the nation during his time at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

In 2012, 21 areas were assigned for companies to tender for the right to broadcast, with only 19 successfully awarded for a period of 12 years each. Some areas had multiple bids, some only had one, including the one closest to me, from Grimsby, called Estuary TV. Even though this scheme was new, Estuary had a big advantage as it had been running locally through Cable services as Channel 7 since 1998.

Phase one complete, the Government started phase two, with 28 new areas and the 2 areas that failed to get bids. This tendering process is still ongoing at this time (October 2014), with just a handful of channels actually launched in their respective areas.

One major setback to this process, was the licence given to CityTV, latterly known as City8, in Birmingham. The largest city in the UK outside of London, this demographic was to broadcast to over 2 million people per week. The station never made it to fruition, as it went into administration in August 2014 due to lack of funding.

So far, of the 19 licences awarded in Phase One, only around half a dozen have so far made it to air. To be awarded a licence is one thing, but to make it to air is a whole new ball game.

OFCOM in September 2014, admitted that there is a possibility that not all current licence holders will make it to air, as it is a very competitive market. Other TV and Radio Stations are all competing for the funding that will keep them alive, in these times of austerity.

Hyper local Television services, in my opinion, do have their place in the multiplexes, in this world of Digital television, but the large cost of setting up these companies does make it harder for them to come to air.

As we have seen with Birmingham, this heralded new dawn in Local TV, is not without it’s pitfalls, and it could be that more never see the light of day.

Grimsby, Norwich, Nottingham, Glasgow, Brighton and Hove, and London all have their channels operating, although not without their own teething problems.  London Live launched at the end of March 2014 from premises that are also home to The Independent, and the London Evening Standard.  London Live together with these publications are owned by Lebedev Holdings.  Although only having being in existence for a few months, the management company at London Live approached OFCOM to change their programming structure.  The first proposal was thrown out, but a less radical change was finally accepted by OFCOM at the start of October. Even with large backing behind a company, the cutthroat world of media affects all who come to the table.

The best way to describe the current Local TV process, is that of a small child learning to walk. There has been progress, with the odd fall, and things will improve, but it is likely that there will be more bumps and scrapes along the way.