Exposure Radio

Posted on March 30, 2012

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Between 23rd January and 10th February, I was a part of the Exposure Radio project at the University of Glamorgan. I kept a daily blog, which you can see here.

Over the course of the project, I learnt a lot and my work improved.

My tasks were varied, as Masters student, two shows were the responsibility of myself and my peers: Stories Behind the Songs and a twice weekly Discussion Show.

I personally was responsible for three Stories Behind the Songs shows. This show involved finding an interesting individual who was preferably related to the university in some way, and inviting them to share their stories and pick four or five songs, a book and a luxury item to take with them if they were stranded on the 4th floor of the Atrium building. For this, I shortlisted five candidates and sent my list to the senior producers. My list included a retired Glamorgan lecturer, an employee of Real Radio marketing, a Glamorgan graduate who now works with Huw Stephens, a current Glamorgan lecturer and the venue manager at the Atrium’s Student Union.

The senior producers decided that the retired lecturer, current lecturer and graduate were the best options for me to take. So I arranged each show as a pre-record each week across the project. I wanted the shows to be pre-recorded as all of my contributors were unavailable for the time slot.

The first show, with Glamorgan graduate, Adam Whitmore, was recorded ‘as live’. Only a few edits were necessary and switching explicit songs was essential. The show wasn’t the best it could have been, and it was a bit of a rocky start, which is the audio I chose for the compilation you can hear below. I chose that, because I wanted to demonstrate how the shows improved over the three weeks.

The second show featured the retired Glamorgan lecturer, Dennis Hawkes. I decided for this show, to record only the links, and leave it untimed so as to edit out any unnatural parts, or anything that wasn’t so relaxed. However, the presenter and myself had just worked on an exhausting show and were both quite drained, so the show still isn’t what it could have been. I felt that recording this show with the view of extensive editing as opposed to ‘as live’ worked much better though. The audio included on the reel, I think, demonstrates that the process improved a little.

The third show was with current senior lecturer, Jim Barrett. This show is the work I’m most proud of from the project. Jim was the perfect guest and Chris, the presenter, was relaxed and casual which invited a better tone for the show. For this show, I abandoned the ‘as live’ style again and allowed the presenter and guest to chat and allow the conversation to flow. The only problem with this scenario was ending up with an hour’s footage for a 28 minute show, but all the editing made sure that I had the best show possible when it was finished.

The discussion show format was slightly different. It was a 50 minute show, and I worked on one solo, and on a second one with Tom Wakeham. I produced a discussion show during the white network week and it didn’t go well at all. However, I was determined to make the live one better. I listened to shows by Victoria Derbyshire to try to get a better understanding of how a discussion show would work. Instead of using one topic, I decided to use two more serious discussions followed by a somewhat lighter one.

I decided to make the topics very Glamorgan centred and asked two Glamorgan employees to be involved: Catrin Hughes, Welsh Language Development Co-Ordinator and Denise Brereton, Student Money Advisor. The two topics were Welsh Language at the University and student debt. The final lighter topic would then invite both studio guests to chat with the presenter. The lighter topic was ‘Why music matters’. The show went really well and I was pleased to see a massive turn around from the disaster in the white week, in only 7 days. It was a huge relief. The only thing I would have done differently was communicate more with Andy, my presenter and get him involved earlier, but with tight schedules for both of us, it wasn’t practical.

The audio taken from this discussion show in the reel is from the lighter conversation, about why music matters.

The second discussion show was constructed entirely differently. Working with Tom meant we could play ideas off each other and use our collective knowledge and contacts. We worked well together and I’m pleased I got the opportunity to create a programme with Tom, as it was a really positive experience. We decided to focus on one topic, but to divide it into sections. For this show, we chose the broad topic of body image, and looked separately at body art and piercings, eating disorders and the role of the fashion industry.

Initially we had 2 guests confirmed, both Glamorgan students. One was a fashion student and the other, a mature student, who has experience with working with models and has written in detail and has an interest in perceived body image. Unfortunately shortly before the show, the fashion student was unavailable, so we used a student who was involved in Exposure who works at Blue Banana and knows a bit about tattoos and piercings. We were also fortunate to have an experienced presenter take the helm.

The downfall for this show was the use of vinyl. I misunderstood and didn’t realise that Exposure would be playing exclusively from vinyl all day and so I was unprepared and it threw me off slightly. Another downfall was that Meg, our presenter, was involved in a lot of shows around the same time and so had very little time to familiarise herself with the show.

This show is not included in the reel as the Myriad system crashed during the show and no recording was made.

My other roles, outside of making shows, were two-fold: I was to devote one day a week to the news team, and one day a week I was to shadow the acting station manager: our lecturers Julie and James.

On the shadow days, I did not tend to get a lot of shadowing done. For the first part of the day I would be in charge of A&E, a pre-recorded show made by the radio minors which would then be aired as the last show of the day. This show did not require much participation from me, simply checking lyrics in their songs, and sometimes pointing something out to the producer, but generally those shows ran as to be expected.

The rest of the shadow days involved, generally, helping the always short-staffed news team, or working on my shows that needed more editing, or research.

Being a part of the news team was the most rewarding experience. I’ve included several voice pieces I recorded which were broadcast during the news. My first day on the news team was a bit of a disaster, but I found it satisfying to see my work getting better everyday. The news pieces I’ve included in this reel included a news story which developed during the day about climate change. For the first bulletin, I put together a package including some archived audio. For the second bulletin, I had managed to contact Greenpeace and conducted a short telephone interview which evolved the piece during the day, which I was proud of. The reel also includes a package about a campaign which saw leafleters outside Cardiff Central Train Station. I was pushed out of my comfort zone and sent to interview on location. It was a small victory for me, but it was a victory nonetheless when I successfully put together a package for it.

During the last week of Exposure, I was given the opportunity to try something new: I was offered the chance to work on the Brunch show. I was really eager to take up this offer. The first show, however, was a bit of a mess. Producer Jamie was really supportive, but I knew I hadn’t done the best I could. My main role was prepping the newspaper reviews, and it was a bit of a mess. I’ve included audio from this to demonstrate how I learnt from it.

I then had the opportunity to learn from my mistakes. During the de-brief of the show I took lots of notes on what I should have done instead. I knew I was working on the Brunch show again the following day and requested to do the newspaper review job again. This time, I learnt from my mistakes and it went really smoothly. It was only a small part of the show, but it was my responsibility and it was a success. Also during the second Brunch show, I was responsible for making sure the right guests were in the right place at the right time. It was manic, but it was by far my favourite role I played on Exposure, and I wish I’d been doing it the whole time.

The audio I’ve included from the second brunch show is part of the newspaper review to compare the difference between the two shows.

Here is my audio portfolio reel:

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