Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Great Projects By First Year CreComm Students

The first year students in Creative Communications have picked up producing on ProTools with next to no problems. I have found in past years that when I meet students for the first time in second year, they are frustrated and confused by the editing software. I know ProTools can be a little intimidating at first, so I devised lesson plans that would introduce the various aspects of the software at a pace that would help everyone process & remember what they were learning. What a pleasure it was to mark those 74 first projects! Normally marking 74 of anything can be daunting, but after listening to a few, I actually looked forward to the job! I'm only posting one of the productions - a 30 second spot & the reason I chose this one is it's uniqueness. Enjoy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Scary Stuff

The Ad Major's radio class had fun this week producing pieces to run for Halloween on 92.9 KICK FM. Here are the end results:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Radio 101 - an intro to some important organizations

This past week, being only the second one in to the semester, I had to introduce students to various organizations that are important to radio broadcasters. I assigned an organization to each small group & had them answer specific questions regarding each one; then each group had to present to the class.I realize that discussions like this can be dry & there's always a strong possibility of losing some student's attention. (OK, I KNOW there are students not paying any attention. I can actually see the thought bubbles above their heads & in some cases read the content.....but I digress.....)My idea is, even if they don't pay attention to each other's presentations, at least they learn about the one they had to work on. And this information is useful & important. So which organizations did I feel the students had to know about?

RTDNA - Radio Television Digital News Association - the Association of Electronic Journalists. They established a code of ethics that is mandatory radio journalists know. The website also has information about monetary awards students, such as those in Creative Communications, can apply for. One former CreCommer realized this a few years ago & ended up being awarded a nice sum of money for a project she sent in.

CRTC - the Canadian Radio Television Telecommunications Commission - they regulate the industry, so we all better be aware of what those regulations entail. Among other things, the CRTC determines who gets radio licenses & the conditions of those licenses.

CBSC - the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council - this organization of private broadcasters exists to set standards, monitor those standards & set penalties for offenders. From talking to members I understand that broadcasters take seriously the codes they vow to follow & when one is violated the act of having to admit & apologize twice, on air, in prime time is a humbling embarrassment.

SOCAN - the Society of Composers, Authors & Music Publishers of Canada - they collect the license fees from radio stations that allows those stations to play music. Then, they distribute that money accordingly. They also fund workshops.

FACTOR - the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings - they have lots of money to give to Canadian musicians to help them get started with demos, funding for tours, workshops, etc. I'm always amazed that no one seems to know about FACTOR. They have about $14 million annually to pass out to applicants.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bell Media Winnipeg looking for Promo Hosts

The Bell Media Stations here in Winnipeg are looking for promo hosts for their stations Bob FM, Sports Radio 1290 & Fab 94.3.

This is casual work, but suitable for students interested in radio promotions. Doing promotions can be fun & obviously give you some experience & a variety of contacts.

The contact is

Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting ready for a remote

I've met twice this past week with Creative Communications student A.J. who is organizing a remote radio broadcast of the college station 92.9 KICK FM on the first day of the semester. It's been a terrific reminder of all the work that goes into broadcasting live on location. There's so much to think about & a fair number of people that have to be depended upon to do their jobs.

As with every radio remote the engineer is key. He/she's the person that makes sure everything is going to work technically. I've hosted many live on location broadcasts in my career & I've learned the importance of the job these techno wizards manage to pull off. They scout out the location ahead of time, make sure there are enough outlets and phone lines & then they get to work. There's always a sound check & one more bit of electrical tape & the reassurance that they are there, should something go wrong.

Hosts of live broadcasts have to make sure they have communicated clearly with the technical operator who's back in the control room. Everyone has to know exactly how to get out of music sets & back into them. There has to be a standard outcue for the op so he/she knows when to get back to the music. The hosts have to be able to think on their feet; there will be air time to fill while waiting for guests to show up & coming prepared with interesting content & sufficient energy makes the broadcast sound smoother than it feels to the people involved.

Organizing interviews ahead of time is a must & asking guests to show up ten minutes before their scheduled time helps prevent some frustration. Having a "runner" is one of the best things I ever learned about during my first remotes. The runner is the person who goes & finds your interviews, copy & anything else while you keep things together on air.

The prep ahead of time also involves making sure you've got everything you need to promote the station, like banners and prizes.

Watching A.J. get ready for the KICK remote Monday makes me a little nostalgic for my radio days & reminds me of the importance of team work.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grand Opening Grand Equipment Grand People

I went to the grand opening of the new digs for CJOB, Power 97 and Groove last night. I was looking forward to the event for a number of reasons: one, I worked in the old building on Portage Avenue for seven years reporting, anchoring, hosting and producing; two, I knew I'd get a chance to see many former colleagues and former students; three, I'm always curious to compare the equipment being used to what we have at the college.

The new space is mostly bright and open and colourful. After talking to a lot of my former colleagues, many are happy about the number of windows and the fact that they can now actually see daylight. In the old building the Power 97 folks were in the basement, and that's never good. The newsroom, however, is in the centre of the building, so the news people don't have a window to double check the weather before they go to air; something I know from experience is a bad thing - just try going to air once telling people it's sunny (because that's the latest forecast from Environment Canada) when it's starting to rain. Holy phone calls.

I appreciate all the chances I get to see my former colleagues. We always do a quick catch up on what's going on in the industry, we talk about how they're changing as the new media (which ain't so new anymore) demands changes. And they always ask if I see any potential radio talent at the college.

The equipment, of course, is all digital. They use iMediaTouch to program all the stations. They use ProTools for production. The news software is Burli, which works on the same principles as KLZ NewsRoom, which is what we have at the college. I've felt for a few years that the equipment we use at the college is better than what students will see when they actually get out there. I'm not feeling that way any more.

All in all the new facility indicates that radio is thriving in Winnipeg. For Corus to spend the kind of money they did to move the stations to Polo Park proves that.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Might as well take advice from Oprah

Went to the church of Oprah Winfrey last night. Unintentionally. I was flipping stations and landed upon OWN, Oprah’s new network. The show that was on was Oprah Presents Master Class, which is essentially head shots of Oprah giving advice and talking about her life and the God she believes in.

It was mesmerizing except for the fact that there seemed to be five minutes of content, six minutes of commercials, five minutes of content. You get the idea.

Oprah says she got her start in radio where they offered her a job after hearing her read some news copy (the disc jockey, she was visiting offered to tape her reading so she could hear how she sounded). The next thing she new there were a number of executives in the room offering her a job.

Well the rest is history as they say. But the message she conveyed over and over was that the reason she has had so many successes is that she stayed true to herself. She told an amusing story about how initially she tried to be Barbara Walters, but then she realized she wasn’t happy and that only Barbara could be Barbara. Once she figured that out, the floodgates opened and it was the beginning of the empire.
She very honestly admits that she was the best she could possibly be at everything she did. And no matter what, no matter how much pressure she got from other people, she stayed true to her core beliefs. One piece of advice she imparted was be the very best at what you do; she said if you’re the person that makes French fries at a diner, make the best French fries and people will notice. Simple huh?