Thursday, January 12, 2012

Planning an Episode of TMT

Most people listening to radio programs think that doing a radio program is a very simple thing and that all you have to do is to go into a studio with a few CDs and talk. That might be fine if you are doing a ‘music’ program and only announce the names of the tracks and add a little banter here and there, but even then, time has to be spent planning the music and then sourcing and collecting the CDs. But try doing information based show like TMT and the situation is totally different, especially if you want it to be interesting and informative. A lot of research goes into the preparation of each episode of TMT to keep it topical and Rebecca, who has been thrown in at the deep end as producer for the summer season, is finding out the hard way that producing TMT is not as easy as it first seems. What follows is her diary for the planning that went into the second episode of the Summer Season of TMT (Show 402); this is typical of what is required each week.

Diary of a show
Wednesday 5pm: With show 401 now printed out, sorted into order and highlighted, I'm waiting for Nicole to arrive at the studio (about 6pm), so I start working on show 402. It will be my turn to take the negative view point for our "debate", so I start writing all the negative comments I've heard and read over the years about toilets and change rooms. We have a guest on the show for show 403, so I touch base with them, to make sure they are still available, and to get a bit of back story, to help with the writing of questions.

Nicole arrives at the studio, and we pop down to a little Thai place for a pre show dinner, and to go over the stuff for the show. It's our first chance to be face to face before the show, so we basically do a run through of every thing, and make any changes needed.
7pm and its back to the studio and lots of talk about tampons. A couple of news items have come in, but with not enough time to do full research on them, and because they will fit into the show better next week, I hold them over. It's now 10 minutes before we are on air, so quick check of the sponsors messages, off to the toilet, a couple of vocal exercises, and in to the studio for show 401.

9pm, with 401 now done, I grab a copy of the show from the recording computer, file all the paperwork, discuss some stuff with other people at JOY. As I leave, a phone call from Jayne, to discuss parts of the show, so much for her being on holidays. Eventually I get home about 11pm for some much needed sleep.

Thursday: Up at 5:30am and check the email, twitter and blog of the show, before getting ready for my day job. Work don't know I do the show, as I like to keep my work and personal life separate, so it's a bit annoying to find I have to go interstate in a couple of weeks. I juggle things around so that I can be back in Melbourne by midday Wednesday, in time for show 403.
During my lunch break, get the idea to write this diary, so start it from there. Also the news feed for transgender and transsexual articles comes in, so I have a quick look for any big time news.

Friday: Emails, emails, emails, and most of the about Drag Queens & Tampons. I have a chat with Jayne, and we're trying to arrange an interview with Sandee Crack, but it doesn't look like it can happen due to a lot of reasons. Looks like we will be covering this topic again on the show. Speaking of the show, I get a chance to listen back to it, and make some notes. I'm not saying I'm some mega professional, but I've noted down a few things that Nicole can improve on. Many people think being on radio is easy, you just talk in to a microphone, but there is a lot more to it than just that. What we try to do with Transmission Time is have a fun hour, that's as entertaining as it is informative. Don't worry, I found more than enough errors with my own performance too, so hopefully I improve next week.

I catch up with Nicole and go over some of the stuff from the show, and teach her a couple of exercises to make being on air a bit easier. She has really been thrown in the deep end with the show, but is swimming pretty well I think. This is also a chance for us to work on the debate for this week, by talking about personal experiences, and relating them to the topic. This will also be the last time we get to be face to face before next Wednesday, so from here on in, the show is sorted out via email and phone calls.

Saturday: After I finish my day job, it's time to get the show happening. I start going through the news of the week, which always takes a long time. Usually there is about 30 to 40 articles to go over, and to work out what is newsworthy and gives the show variety. We could easily just have the same stories of death, destruction and misery every week, just the locations would change. Being the summer break, news is a bit light on, but there are some interesting things, I just hope we have time for them all on air.

Sunday: An unusual day off for me from the day job, and I start freaking out about the debate not being ready for this week, so a couple of hours spent working on that. Not much else done for the show today, as my washing is piling up and needs to be done, and there is the little issue of no food in the fridge, oh, and the even smaller issue of moving Nicole to her new place. As it turns out, the day was spent moving Nicole, washing and food not done, but at least we had a chance to talk about the show, so I've made some notes. It finally seems to be coming together.
Monday: My body hates me, I'm so sore from doing the house move. Just make it to the day job on time, and over my lunch break have a chance to review the debate. I'm not happy with it, because while it's important stuff, as it's currently written, it doesn't make for great radio. Do a rewrite and start to put together the "script" (which is more a run sheet actually), together for the show.

Tuesday: My day at work went a lot longer than it should have, got to burn the midnight lamp now to get the show ready for tomorrow. I still haven't sorted out music for the show yet either. Eventually get through the articles, a complete rewrite of the debate points. Nicole has sent me through her version of the debate rewrite and details of all the transgender related Midsumma stuff. We email back and forth changes to the debate, until we are both happy with how it's sounding. I put all this together, and just before midnight, the show is pretty much ready to go, time to sleep.

Wednesday: Wake up bright and early and do yet another reordering of show content, and add more details to the run sheet. Arrange the music for the show, put all the documents, news stories, music list, run sheet into an email and send it out to all concerned. Because of my shift at work today, I won't get to the studios until about half an hour before we go to air, I usually like to get there about three hours before hand. Thankfully Nicole will beat me there this week, so will print out and collate all the show paperwork before we go to air. During the day it will all be emails and phone calls between us and Jayne too, to make sure it's all systems go. When I eventually get to the studio, I'll have just enough time to get the CD's for the music, check the traffic log for live reads or missing content, and get into the driver's seat to panel the show.
Got to the studio with 45 minutes to spare. Nicole has done a wonderful job getting everything together. Do some tech stuff in the second studio, and chat with Dave and Jade (from Different Strokes) about same sex marriage. Our opening track starts playing, so that gives us three minutes to settle in to the studio, adjust mics and chairs, sort out paperwork on the desk so it's all easy at hand, do a read through of the live read, in a live read voice, set up the twitter feed, check emails and SMS's, practice the SMS and email details (note I've put the wrong phone number on the script), 15 seconds to go, mics open, point to Nicole and... “It's Transmission Time on JOY 94.9, life from a transgendered perspective.”

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jayne’s Work horse

Over the last few weeks of TMTs 2011 season, Jayne has been talking a little bit about the trials and tribulations that she has been having with her 50 year old tractor.

First it was a puncture in one of the rear tires, which are filled with water and very heavy. This tire was eventually repaired by an ‘on site’ tyre repair company whose specialisation was tractor tyres.

Later we heard of the problems she had when a fuel leak caused a small fire on the tractor requiring the injector pump to be overhauled and the replacement of one of the radiator hoses damaged by the fire. We followed her experience in dealing with the diesel mechanic who repaired the pump and who seemed a little surprised that she knew something about diesel engines and the pump problems.

We also heard of the trouble she had sourcing a suitable radiator hose, requiring multiple trips to automotive shops and a radiator specialist and receiving very good attention from the guys behind the counter: she thought that the level of service might have had something to do with the low cut tops she was wearing at the time.

We had an email while on air asking what type of tractor Jayne had. We were a little surprised at this given that we are a transgendered based radio program. Jayne’s tractor is a David Brown 990/B Implemetic built circa 1963 and is powered by a 52 bhp diesel engine. She has a number of implements for the tractor including a slasher, a carry all and a post hole digger. The tractor is fitted with a permanently mounted 6' 6" hydraulically operated grader blade at the front.

Note the small sola panel at the rear used to keep the battery charged when not in use for long periods of time

Rebecca's Surprise

During the 400th show, Rebecca surprised both Lauren & Jayne by presenting them each with a mug specially prepared for the occasion.

We were both appreciative of her thought and a little embarrassed.

Thanks Rebecca

Saturday, December 31, 2011

TMT Summer Season 2012

Starting on the 4th of January 2012, Rebecca and Nicole will be taking over TMT for 5 weeks and presenting a “Summer Series” while Lauren and Jayne take a short summer break. Expect a slightly different show with a series of debates between Rebecca and Nicole.

This new series will remain at the same time of 8pm on Wednesday evenings. Happy listening.

TMT Returns for 2011

TMT returned to the airwaves on the 6th July 2011 after a break. Jayne & Lauren will bring you transgender news and happenings from around the world and try to keep you just a little entertained.

400th Show

On the 28th December 2011, Transmission Time celebrated its 400th show on JOY 94.9. TMT is by radio program standards a very long running program having been on air for almost 12 years.

As a team, we know of only two other “free to air” radio based transgender programs and they are both in Australia.

1 'Out of the Pan' with Sally on 3CR

2 'Queer Action' on 2XX in Canberra with rotating hosts but with Stephanie doing a transgender based program every couple of weeks.

On the internet there is
Trans Talk on Falcon Radio in Bowling Green, Ohio with Marlene and Jen since about late 2008. We have known Marlene for many years, but Jen is a relatively new addition. This used to be a low power AM station, but now only streams on the web and via Cable network in their local area. Marlene is well known for her Transgender Timeline project which lists important dates in Transgender History: we have often quoted from her timeline

The longest running web based show that we could find is Gender Talk hosted by Nancy & Gordene which started in 1997 and has a similar number of shows under their belt as TMT.

This makes Transmission Time the second oldest Transgender program in the world and the oldest “free to air” Transgender based radio show in the world.

AUST ABC TV Program - Crownies

TMT 387 28th September 2011

TV – Crownies

Review of last weeks episode of Crownies

Drag Queens at war, was used as a "C" storyline in the episode. It was a self contained story arch, intended only to break up the "A" story (child sociopath) and the "B" story (rape victim). It was used for comic relief as the other two stories were heavy subjects.

Because this was a throw away storyline, the producers appealed to the lowest common denominator of blatant stereotype.

One character is flirty, melodramatic, a bit arrogant, and while dressed conservatively (but understandable for a court room) is still a bit over the top. The other is portrayed as a bitchy femme gay guy, out for revenge, and anything anyone asks of her is just way below her and too much of an ask.

There was no continuity to when the storyline was placed into the show, it was almost like it was used as a filler for where the commercials would go, if Crownies was on a commercial broadcaster.

One character Ben McMahon makes comments about how he loves a good scrag fight", but then questions if you call them by their real name or drag name in court. I can see why this was done, as it was required for people to understand that the two drag characters would be presented under different names later in the show, but it was still an offensive comment to make, as perpetuated the stereotype that the drag characters are just guys in dresses.

When we finally get to the court scene, the two drag characters use bitchy terms towards each other, and the judge is more interested in getting Facebook on an iPad he has been handed as evidence, than the case itself. In fact the judge is just as guilty as the rest of the characters in using inappropriate names and gender markers in the court room.

In last scene the lawyer is shown to have been taken for a ride by the drag queens, all for a publicity stunt, and that the drag queens have no issue at all with doing that, because that's the way things work. It paints drag queens as being untrustworthy, and willing to waste public resources on a frivolous matter. It's not a clean ending to the story, but merely another stab by the show at a minority.

While I can understand the need of the show to have a self contained story, this story arch showed a lack of understanding from the show. They could have used a trans storyline to highlight issues, and still kept it light and self contained, but instead they wasted the time on yet another negative story about trans people in the community.

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