Placement completed by Abiey Humphries
The 24th to the 28th of March 2014 saw me complete a weeks placement at Signal 107 Radio Station. Having visited the station for the day a few weeks before, I had an idea of what to expect upon arrival, and was welcomed very warmly by all the staff. I was extremely excited about this opportunity of going to Signal as I have built up a sound knowledge about radio stations during my lessons and couldn’t wait to put what I had learnt into practice.
My days started very early, as observing the breakfast show was primarily why I was there; this resulted in (5:50am) arrivals to the station each morning.
Most of my time at Signal was spent in the Studio for the 4 hours of Toms Breakfast Show. Here I watched and discussed what was going on during his time on air each day, and how I can apply some of the things he does to my own shows. He gave me advice on how to present my shows and also how to prepare for them. As well as this I also completed prep research tasks during the parts of the show, throughout the week, that got busy, as tom doesn’t have a producer and manages himself. The prep tasks included collating useless facts from online to use for the “school of the week” feature on his show and finding about events in the local area.
My first day was meant to end after the breakfast show, as Tom was heading off to go and film some stuff for a charity golf feature that Signal were running. However their cameraman who was meant to be joining them became unavailable, therefore I volunteered to step in. By half past 12 I was in a car driving to Shrewsbury to film Tom and his co-presenter Amy on one of their training sessions with their celebrity guest Joe Whelan.
Tuesday was an “ordinary day” (as far as ordinary goes for radio days). I spent the day gaining advice from Tom and the rest of the on air team and learning about the station and how it operates. I met the sales team and they informed me about how they run their department and then I also sat down with the programming team and leaned how everyone does their little bit to contribute to the on air output. I was talked around the play out system at Signal, which is called ENCO DAD, and was also shown how the ads and weather are localized for the regional areas in which they serve. Their system plays out through 3 screens, one for news and adverts, one for the log, and then one for the quick buttons.
Again I was asked to assist filming on Wednesday at the golf training ahead of the competition on the weekend. I learnt that a lot of time and hard work goes into the features of a radio show and that the job doesn’t end as soon as the show ends. Through out the week I assisted Tom at two golf sessions whereby I filmed and edited the action, and I also went with him to a school in Kidderminster for school of the week where we obtained voxpops of the children saying different phrases and silly facts to play out during the show the following week.
Thursdays experience was slightly different to the rest. After the usual observing of the show Tom sat down with me and did a coaching session over one of my shows. We sat and listened to the links and I then had to say what I thought about the links, what was good and what I could improve on, to which he would say whether he agreed or disagreed and his thoughts.
After our coaching session, I was lucky enough to be offered a place on the Signal 107 street team and also a place to work the stations annual awards as a reward for all of my hard work during the week. This was completely un expected, however very appreciated that they thought so highly of my efforts that week that they would like me to stay with them.
Thursday was also the day that the station had a scholarship day. These days are when the gifted and talented students that are interested in media and/or radio come to the station from their schools to learn what it is like. Therefore I assisted Tom in the activity he was running – how to construct a radio show. I assisted informing the students on what to do in order to create an effective radio show and sat in the studio with them when recording their final products. I particularly enjoyed teaching other people what I had learned during my week at Signal.
To end the week on Friday I went with Tom to record school of the week. On our return I was very kindly allowed to sit in an on-air station meeting between the programming team about the fourth coming week ahead and all the plans they have and also a small de-brief from what was going on that week.
My time at Signal taught me that a lot of time and effort is involved in radio shows and that in order to present and produce quality content you need to be prepared to sacrifice your time. Being in for the breakfast show opened my eyes to how tiring job it is with such long days, but also how rewarding it is to see the whole thing come together so well. My week at Signal has definitely taught me a lot about being in the radio industry and made me want to thrive even more to achieve what I want.
Placement completed by Emma O’Brien
My placement started on the 6th of May and finished on the 10th of May. As I had already completed a work experience placement at the station back in 2010, it was nice to be welcomed back with the same familiar faces (only a few members of the team had changed). However, this time round, I felt that I had returned to Kerrang! with a lot more knowledge on the industry, and a better understating of how stations function.
I carried out a variety of tasks during my placement. I mainly spent my time shadowing the presenters and receiving a lot of useful advice from them. On top of this I helped the charity co-ordinator to ring up schools and get them involved with a competition Kerrang! were running for school music departments. I helped presenters; Simon dale, Henry Evans and Johnny Doom, to prepare for their shows, finding out the names of albums, and facts about the bands they were scheduled to play.
I volunteer at a small community station in Birmingham, so it was a bit of a shock at first to see the difference between commercial and community radio. I noticed at Kerrang! that everything was a lot more scheduled. Advertising is obviously a massive part of the station, as it is what keeps it going. One of the presenters at Kerrang (Simon Dale) helped me to understand that as a presenter in commercial radio, you’re job is to keep hold of the audience and keep them listening for as long as possible. This is extremely difficult when the adverts are about to play, as it is a time that most people will decide to turn the radio off. Therefore, as a presenter, you need to do be able to do a link teasing the audience about what will be coming up after the adverts. It could be something as small as saying ‘We have a classic coming up next, which I bet you know all the words too’. This may not be enough to make some people stay tuned, but a certain percentage may hear that and decide not to turn off, so the presenter has done their job.
The software they used at Kerrang was very advanced, compared to what I have used before. At Kerrang they use Dalet, which uses 3-4 screens. Each screen was jam packed with things that were going on, and at first it did look a bit confusing. The presenters told me snippets about the system, such as the ad play out system. This helped me greatly, as the more softwares I am aware of how to use, the better.
The main thing I learnt during my time at Kerrang is that you HAVE to know your music, especially to become a presenter. If a new band are out which everybody is going mad over, you have to already know who they are, what they’re best songs are and when they’re touring. Everybody at Kerrang were so absorbed into their music. The interaction between Kerrang’s audience and the presenters during their shows was huge! People were constantly requesting songs and asking for shout outs. It was then the presenters job to be able to look through all of the requests and decide which would be most appropriate to play. For example, Kerrang have a slot called ‘The Revive Hour’ which is sponsored by Lucozade. During this hour the station has to play high energy rock music, and mention how the drink revives you when you need a pick me up. As people are requesting songs during this hour, the presenter needs to be able to know which song the listeners are requesting straight away, and decide if they’re energetic enough to play during the slot. This showed me how they put all of their music knowledge into action.
I had an amazing time at the station. Everybody was friendly and helpful, and gave me advice which I will always carry with me. It was such a fun environment, with famous bands constantly walking in and out, and live performances happening during the week. At the end of my placement, I was lucky enough to be offered a place at a Kerrang Radio Roadies recruitment afternoon! The Roadies are Kerrang’s promotional team, that go out in the week to get the station involved with the listeners. They work on events that Kerrang organise, and help out with branding. The recruitment afternoon consists of several exercises to see people’s potential and a one to one interview. The station then make a decision on whether or not you are suitable to become part of the team based on your performance. This will give me the opportunity to show off my skills. The recruitment evening will be sometime in the next couple of months. Fingers crossed my interview goes well and I make it onto the team!