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.”

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