Radio is a crucial tool in introducing and updating consumers on important issues of the day. It helps consumer groups reach a wide variety of people – even those in the most remote areas – and is relatively inexpensive. Producing a good radio programme may seem like a relatively simple task, but in reality it requires a great deal of thought and,effort to provide consumers to listen to and remember.
The Guidelines and audio cassette use the British Broadcasting Service (BBC) is the pre-eminent producer of radio programmes in the world. Much can be learned from its methods – and mistakes! And hopefully, consumer organizations can use these Guidelines to break down traditional barriers and provide ever-more innovative and dynamic programmes for consumers.
Guidelines for radio programme production
Making a radio programme is a voyage of discovery. There is always something new
to learn, some different technique to try,some unexpected turn of events to explore
– and there i
Making a consumer affairs programme is a particularly good example of radio which is actively engaged with its audience. Their concerns become our concerns – and consumer issues which you have discovered, and illuminated – will enhance their awareness..
Cultural norms and expectations will differ from country to country. What constitutes a
consumer issue in one part of the world might be deemed unimportant in another.
But the basic elements in making a good programme are the same, no matter what part
of the world you live in. Good craftsmanship, focus, enthusiasm, attention to detail, using your imagination – these exist beyond cultural boundaries, or issues of regional differences.
Making a radio programme often involves several people. There might be an editor,
producer(s), writer(s) or reporter(s), production assistant, secretary, and technical staff all working on it, plus those who become involved with the programme through being interviewed or consulted. A radio programme can do many things.
For example, it can
It can even do all these things within the same programme. But it should have a primary
focus. For example – a programme featuring a Guidelines for radio programme production
Who is the programme for?
The programmer should know the listeners, whom he programme is for the
Factors to keepnin mind are:
•A broadcaster can attract listeners; it will depend on what time of day your programme is broadcast, and on what day of the week it is broadcast.
• if we broadcast a particular type of item, you will attract a particular type of listener.
If we want to attract a broad general audience we must deal with concerns which will attract a broad audience.
• we want to cover issues which are of interest to listeners with special interests or requirements – for example, disabled listeners.
• convince your listeners that we are on their side, and interested in what concerns them
• encourage them to feel part of the programme
• encourage them to contribute their views and concerns to you
• not patronise them.
The basic options are:
• Magazine programmes
• Single issue programme or programmes
• Series of magazine programmes with single issue specials
These are programmes containing a variety of different items. The programme will have longer and shorter pieces, and might include a regular round-up of consumer news, an interview, a discussion, an in-depth feature, a short ‘filler’item. A regular series covering consumer affairs would most likely be composed of magazine programmes, because they allow for coverage of a wide variety of issues and concerns. Magazine programmes may be broadcast ‘live’or ‘pre-recorded’ , though live programmes
will almost certainly contain a number of pre-recorded elements.
Single Issue programmes
These are programmes which are devoted to one issue, covered in greater depth than could . The issue must be of great enough concern to warrant a full programme; nevertheless it is more difficult to achieve broad audience appeal using this format. Single issue programmes are usually always pre-recorded, although they may allow time for a ‘live’ studio discussion following the recorded section of the show.
Magazine series with Single issue specials
This format provides the best of both worlds:a regular magazine series, with the occasional special allowing for more in-depth coverage of issues deemed to be particularly significant.
What duration is available to you will ultimately be decided by the radio station
or network which is broadcasting your programme, but as a general guideline:
Conventionally, radio magazine programmes broadcast by the BBC have tended to be of thirty minutes duration.
Deciding on your format and approach
It was decided that issues of specific concern to those two groups should be included in “You and Yours”, rather than in separate programmes. “You and Yours” has a large production team and an established history, and is therefore able to sustain an hour long daily programme; it would still be advisable for programme makers setting up a new consumer affairs programme, to aim, at least initially, for a
thirty minute time slot.
Building a programme
Whether your programme is a one-off, or a whole series, whether it is a magazine programme or an in-depth look at a single issue, it will need a presenter – someone to explain what’s happening and guide the listener through the subject (s) being dealt with. This person is crucial to the success of your programme. A presenter must:
• establish his or her authority and confidence. (nothing bothers an audience
more than hearing a presenter who sounds unsure, tense, confused, or diffident)
• sound genuinely interested
• convey goodwill toward the audience and the participants in the programme
(even where a confrontation is necessary). A presenter may need to challenge
someone’s view, but should not do it with vindictiveness or spite.
• be able to represent ‘the ordinary person’ when confronted with experts; the
presenter should be able to clarify or interpret the expert’s answers, if necessary
• never patronise
• speak clearly and have a generally appealing voice and manner.
If you were listening to a piece of music which had the same pace and rhythm all the way through, no change of pace or mood, you would soon be bored! be aware of the importance of changing the mood and pace as you move from one item to another.
The tone of your programme will be set by the presenter’s general manner, and the content. listeners would most appreciate, and experience will help you find a tone which suits your purposes, and your audience.
• consumer affairs publications and press releases
• newspaper items
• special interest groups and societies
• individual consumers who contact you
• events guides
• press releases from government andother organisations
• campaigns by established or ad hoc groups
• novelty or humourous items or events
• new products – effectiveness, safety
• unusual new products
• public services/utilities
• unusual new businesses
• community groups
• alternative lifestyle groups
• medical news or journals, health, diet
• pollution issues/pollution monitoring groups
Whether you are producing a magazine programme, or a single-issue programme, the
basic content will probably be made up of similar elements:
• with ‘ordinary people’
• with experts
• with official spokespersons from government or organisations
• vox pops
• archive material
• news round-ups
• humourous or ‘light’ items
• special effects