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.