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The Utter Utter Beginners Guide To Radio

By Ron Thow

Now some 2 months since its inception, Dads Place Parenttime is alive and well on the Community Radio airwaves here in Christchurch on Plains FM 96.9.

Currently the show is being put together by the intrepid team of Harald Breiding-Buss, Aaron Williamson, Tony Scanlan and yours,. truly Ron Thow (Three Cheers for him! – editor’s comment).

Given that Harald was the only one with any radio experience, the rest of us found we were on a steep learning curve. Under the steady eye and firm hands of Nicki Reece and Dave Glenn from Plains FM we have managed to progress to the point that 4 we are managing to make new and inter esting mistakes rather than just repeating the same old ones over and over.

From beginner button pushing through to how-to’s on interviewing and announcing the learning hasn’t stopped and neither has the fun.

Our original brief was for a series of 6 30-minute general parenting shows with funding inherited from the Christchurch City Council via an earlier, wound-up group. We used this brief to cover such topics as feeding issues, childcare options, early childhood discipline, teen issues and children TV.

Feedback on content has been positive so far and these topics will be revisited from different perspectives in the future.

More recently the format has evolved towards more father-focussed issues. Topics such as ‘shared parenting’ and ‘resources for fathers’ are an attempt to inform fathers of skill sources and options available to them.

This has come through as a big limitation in conversation with Trust members and others – not just the fact that resources are few and far between for fathers but that those that are available are often hard to find.
We had hoped that we could draw together the various groups in Christchurch involved in Fathering issues but the result has been mixed, as always the politics of finance sometimes out-ways common sense.

The process for creating an actual programme is straightforward. At a fortnightly production meeting a topic list is created from ideas or particular interests that we each have.

Each of us takes on the role of producer for a show and decides on the perspective, content and sources we will need. Then it is a case of working up questions for interviews organising interview times and recording studio time or portable recorders for visits.

After the interview is completed the tapes are edited, then if time permits, transferred to the broadcast computer for ease of handling. Finally a script is written for the announcers to work from and ads, ID’s and community notices are worked into it.

The end product can be completely prerecorded or completely live, most often it is a mixture of both. The actual presentation of each show is rotated between the team.

There are any numbers of directions and topics that can be addressed and just what the future will bring is dependent on feedback, both from the production team and from listeners.

In the short term it would be great to get some more people involved so if you are a budding radio star get in touch with us at the Trust office in Christchurch! (Ph (03) 372 9140)

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