Preparing a Demo

I have spent the past week preparing a voice demo in the studio. It’s a great way to get comfortable with running the desk as if you were presenting a show. I did a few trial runs without any script prepared and Andrew gave me a few pointers and  listened back to what I had done. He put me on the right track, guiding me on the dos and donts of preparing links, getting the length of the link right for the type of show you are presenting and how to start and end a link. It’s important to know how you’re going to start a link and to always feature the name of the radio station. I became used to loading songs and jingles trying to avoid a time delay when leading into a song from a voice link or vice versa. Remembering to back credit a song is important, more than announcing it at the start. The main thing is trying to sound natural and while being prepared, not to sound like you’re reading it like a script. That’s quite challenging at the beginning as there are so many things running through my head, even trying to remember to have my presenting mic up when delivering a link and then remembering to shut it off when the music is playing. After I had done two practice runs of about half an hour each in the studio, I prepared for a proper run at a demo using pre-prepared links . I included weather and local relevant information that I could read into one of the links and then researched topics that I could use in some of the links. I felt this demo went much better than the other two as I was more relaxed when I had a script to refer to but that was the actual challenge to not sound like I was reading. Andrew cut the demo down for me to about 5-6 minutes and then he and Elaine gave me great feedback on how it sounded and how I could improve on certain areas. They’ve asked me to take the points on board and use them to now prepare a new script for a further demo so hopefully this’ll improve again on the last one!

Business News & Voicers

Any days that I am in Radio Kerry I have been preparing the business news which goes out on air after the one o’clock lunchtime news each day. It is prerecorded and it consists of two business stories each of approximately 30 seconds long and generally either Irish or a local story can also be covered. In sourcing the stories, I go through the news wires, the papers, the RTE Business webpage, Businessworld.ie and Goodbody. Whoever is reading the 1 o’clock news, I check with them which stories they are using so as not to duplicate a story they may be using in the news bulletin. I also prepare the ISEQ and FTSE figures from the markets and include the currency exchange from a sterling and dollar exchange perspective. I save it on the system and transfer it into the Radiomation work station to see how it reads for a work count and a time estimate as the business news should not be longer than 1 minute to 1 minute 5 seconds. Sometime before 1 o’clock I record it in the Newsbooth which is attached to the newsroom, it’s basically where the shorter news bulletins are broadcast from and where items can be prerecorded or a clip taken from a phone call and later edited. This has been great from a technical angle as it has gotten me relaxed with how to prepare, record, edit and save a piece within the system. I now have a better understanding of where to find things on the system, how to edit them and send them onto the on-air news studio for broadcast. Even learning how to save the clip within the system and upload it onto my blog via the Radio Kerry media manager has been an experience, it was something I only learned last week!

 

Much, much more to learn….

Learning the format that the news follows at Radio Kerry consists of the following…..when are the headlines, how many stories in each bulletin, what times are the bulletins broadcast, how many local stories & how many national stories, are there audio clips to be attached or do they need to be pre-recorded and edited in advance, is this bulletin that includes the deaths, the tides or is it just weather, have I prepared my running order correctly, have I sent my clips down to the studio before I arrive to read the news…..phew!

If you are exhausted just reading this, welcome to the world of broadcast journalism where the brainpower actually required to process it all runs at warp speed and yes…you’ve got it – many million brain cells all working at the one time co-ordinating, planning, editing, clock-watching to the second, countdown to the hour (or half-hour depending on what time of the day it is), shedding stories, adding stories, updating stories. It’s all there and I’ve probably only touched on a fraction of what needs to be done. The newsroom works at an amazingly fast speed but I’m guessing that all comes with practice and experience and at the moment I’m at the bottom rung of a news room ladder hoping to climb up at some type of respectable speed!

When the bulletins have been read, that’s not the end! There’s the Radio Kerry webpage to be updated with all the stories that were just broadcast, Twitter must be updated in advance of news and after news along with the Facebook page. Up to now I have been able to use what I learned in the course to script my news stories and mould them into the Radio Kerry house style. Each story must be given a brief title for the story pool on the system and is identified as either copy (script only), clip (an audio clip from the external newswire) or a voicer (which is an audio prepared by another member of the newsroom staff to be used in a story). Lots more to write about later….!

New Life Starts Here….

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Starting the radio production course at Tralee IT has opened up a whole new avenue to my life that I never knew existed. It was not something I had ever thought about or considered. In fact, this has possibly changed the whole path of my life. And all from a seeing an advertisement late one night last July while abroad. How a little thing can change your life….

In December, I was offered 3 days experience in the Radio Kerry Newsroom before Christmas to help cover some days that they needed an extra pair of hands. Although I knew I was starting my placement there in the new year, I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity. I had never given any thought to the newsroom as an option that might open up for me or one I may be interested in or good at…but I was about to find out!

I began by coming in a few days earlier and Mary Mullins gave me a crash full-on guide as to what is entailed in the newsroom. I started as I meant to go on and took plenty of notes hoping that I would be able to follow them as much as possible when I would need them! This was my first real introduction to Radiomation which is the operating system used at Radio Kerry.  I was shown how all story pooling revolves around the Workstation which is where news stories and audios are saved and then called upon to create the news bulletins. The News Talk Network Newswire is one of the main sources for news especially national and international news. Local news is mainly derived from local sources but it can also stem from the wires and the daily newspapers. It is all about tailoring a story to find a local slant which will appeal locally.