For the last 18 months I have been working at the Cardiff City Phone In. The phone in is a football phone in show where the supporters of Cardiff City FC can talk about the club and the latest developments within it, I started off as an assistant producer and over the last 18 months have been promoted to producer and Senior Producer. As senior producer I am responsible for the overall output of the show, ensuring that every show is recorded and uploaded to Podomatic (http://ccpi.podomatic.com/) , briefing the presenters with the latest developments within the club, setting up and closing down the studio before and after broadcast and gathering callers prior to broadcast. The phone in broadcasts on two stations, GTFM and Bro radio, I liaise with the volunteers at these stations to ensure that the show is being streamed correctly and fix any streaming issues that may arise.
What have I learnt?
As a result of producing the phone in I have learnt what it’s like to produce a professional radio show on a weekly basis and what working in the radio industry could be like after graduation, one of the main things I’ve learnt as a result of producing the phone in is how to manage people in a working environment, for example asking my producer and assistant producer to find information about the club, latest fixtures, keeping the shows social media pages up to date, and interacting with the shows audience via social media. The phone in has taught me that giving productive and constructive feedback to my team allows them to work more effectively, as they know how they can improve for the next show while praising them in the areas that they are stronger and more accomplished in. I can now confidently setup the radio studio ready for broadcast and I can also shut down the studio after the show has finished.
How have I improved?
Over the last 18 months I think that I have become more professional. After being promoted to senior producer I learnt that the way I interact with my team would be different that it was when I was an assistant producer as I now operate at a more senior level, and I have to guide the shows team as a senior producer in the industry would be expected to do. However I think that I have managed to adapt my skillset to better suit the changing dynamic between the team and myself, I think that my producing as a whole as improved because prior to coming to the phone in I hadn’t produced a professional radio show before, and the theory I had learnt on my course hadn’t been put into practice; however phone in has allowed me to refine the skills I have learnt along the way. I also think it has allowed me to become a more effective producer when producing material for university, for example I feel that my prior knowledge of producing the phone in allowed me to become a more effective producer on my major project Exposure Radio, where a group of student ran a professional radio station for two weeks. During my major project I was able to work more effectively as I knew what my senior producers on the project would expect from me having been in that position during the phone in this year.
How is it different to the industry/a more established station?
The main difference between the Cardiff City Phone In and another phone in show on an industry station is that throughout the show I provide the presenters with facts, statistics and information about the club and its players. In the industry the presenters are usually expected to make their own notes about the players and the clubs that are playing prior to broadcast, also the show is a very niche one as it just looks at one club in one sport. In the industry a show may cover a single sport but it will usually look at the different teams and players that compete within it. Sports shows in the industry such as those heard on talkSPORT and the BBC usually have different guests every week to give their opinion about different clubs or players, due to its low listenership and niche target audience there aren’t as many guests on the show however guests from bodies such as show racism the red card have appeared on the show in the past. As a result of the low audience figures the number of callers that appear on the show is significantly lower as over the course of the hour broadcast 3-4 callers may appear on air compared to the significantly higher number seen on similar show on a more established station.
What has it taught me about a career in Radio?
The Cardiff City Phone In has shown me that I want to work in radio after I graduate from university, the show has allowed me to put the theory work I had learnt from studying a degree in radio into practice in a professional working environment. The show has taught me that I need to be adaptable and fill in any producing gaps that the show has to ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible, for example gathering callers and providing facts and statistics, but it has taught me that the skills I have acquired throughout the course of my degree are transferrable and can be applied to the programme. Having skills that you can transfer are key to being successful in the media industry, for example a university module I studied, focussed on social media and I was able to take what I had learnt from that and apply it to the phone in, I also implemented a social media policy for the show which the producing team have to abide by, which allows the show to connect with their online audience more effectively. I have learnt that you need to be able to work as a part of a team as well as being able to work effectively on your own, and that in all cases good communication as key to a successful show. I’ve realised how hard it is to break into the media industry and it crucial to get experience in community radio to refine your skills before trying to make it into the professional world, having practical experience on top of having a media degree is key to succeeding, and making you stand out from everyone else when applying for jobs after graduation.
Picture taken from https://twitter.com/CardiffCityFC