The role of the producer – workshop
Students were treated to an insight into the role of the producer from Mark Cliffe – Content Controller at Metro/ TFM, Jay Forster – Producer at Radio 1 and Kyle Wilkinson, Freelance Producer. The session looked at what makes a good on air show producer.
Looking at the world differently
Mark gave the scenario of his 14 month old son and how he looks at the world differently. Everyone looks at the world differently. He cites that producers need to work with teams to discus and create the characteristics of the team. Memorise these ideas and consider how every idea can bring them to life. This was how the Kiss Breakfast Show did this when they started 7 seven years ago before they were on the radio.
Topics also form a key part for the role of a radio show producer . Contrast is important, make sure they’re varied. Every talking point should have a presenter buy in. Consider what the presenter may need to bring these to life – eg. SFX, a relatable bed, social media images, callers.
You can use live/recorded – your choice – but vet them. Where do you get your callers in – listeners don’t call in radio stations now. Use social media to get content and that contact people back. The audience are stubborn they won’t call. Call back the texts – they will interact with you when you call back. Get voices on air! Always try to get extra info on the call and build rapport. Not just ‘hello, it’s John on line 4’ – find out what makes the listener tick, what gets them going. This can help you create an image of the caller – are they doing to sound good on air?. The producer needs to filter the callers – they need to sound happy.
Producers need to ask what do they want social media to do. It’s about creating content that people want to share. The most popular post on TFM media was an image of a hairbrush which was also a drinks bottle. Star Radio put time and effort in creating amazing video – but they get more engagement/shares/likes with something daft. You never know what gets traction.
They also advised you to make sure you don’t get on Shit social media in radio Facebook page.
Social media in radio should drive people to listen to the radio. Be an extension of the brand/show and give your show listener reaction.
Jay also talked about how Radio 1 struggled to find the original personality of the brand in social media, it was a lot easier for 1 XTRA.
All stations do them – how do you make it exciting and different for the audience? How do you make a competition engaging?
Competitions can either be big – cash prizes, full station takeovers .etc – or they set-up can be more entertaining than the actual competition. Mark gave an example of a fun Radio 1 feature about chickens called ‘Count the Cocks’ and how the name of the feature was much more fun than the actual activity.
Occasionally you may get something which captures the imagination of the world … Metro Radio’s Steve and Karen’s Punching above your weight. Finding
The Talkability Factor
You need to give your show the talk-ability factor. Get people talking about the show – after the show. Create ongoing themes. Plan spontaneity! Hours of work can go into just a few minutes of air time. One idea per half hour – listeners are busy people, lots going on in their lives. They will dip in and out. Light and shade is important too – don’t be just laugh after laugh. Maybe sure you show some light and shade.
It’s just as important to include a visual element into content ideas now. How will the audience receive it? Does social media work around it? Jay talked about the Sport Relief challenge on the Breakfast Show recently and how it was useful to create short clips of Grimmy for those that couldn’t watch it live – on demand clips were important.
Some find this really easy – some find it really hard. It’s a careful balance between the producer and presenter – especially in regards to ownership of ideas. It’s a working relationship and you need to get that trust. Go out for a beer with your presenter! Try and match their personalities, echo the way they act in the studio – it’ll be easier to manage them in the studio. You need to be forceful at times in making sure you keep to deadlines and schedules. You can discuss in post show meeting if the plan doesn’t work.
And finally…Tips and Tricks
Get the buy in of presenters from the off and they will execute your ideas brilliantly. Communication is key – we’re in the business of communicating. Get the experience and get applying. Finally – don’t be a bitch! Don’t slag people off on social media – because you never know when they will be recruiting you. Radio is a very small world, be nice.