My Life, Student Life

Producer of The Demon Chart Show

In a previous post, I told you a little about my journey with Demon Fm. I formed a strong team which included an assistant producer, two presenters, a researcher, a social media assistant and a broadcast assistant. Now I was ready to start producing the Demon Chart Show which was broadcast live on Demon FM every Friday.

Preparing the Show

First I required the current presenters to brief the new team on how the show currently operated and the matrix behind each show. This would help to ensure I was able to broadcast successfully on-air each week with minor difficulties.

This involved letting them know the structure and features of the programme. One of the most imperative preparations that had to be undertaken weekly for the show was the compiling of the Top 40 Chart. A difficult task for the researcher who would have to record which artists were the most downloaded and most popular that week. However, as the show was live, it could not be finalised more than 24 hours before the show aired on Friday.

The chart content then had to be passed on to the broadcast assistant who had to make sure that all of the tracks featured in that week’s chart was uploaded to the system ready to be placed into the show.  

As well as the researcher having to compile the chart promptly, the broadcast assistant had to work on a tight time frame to make sure all of the songs etc were uploaded to the system ready for the show. These two jobs had to work side by side otherwise the demon chart show would have been very difficult to present on-air.

My researcher and my broadcast assistant did very well in collaborating every week to make sure the chart information and the actual tracks coincided.

Utilising Social Media and Meeting Up

Often the whole team would meet up and correspond with each other via a Facebook chat that I had set up to make sure that everyone was up-to-date with everything related to that week’s show.

Due to the fact, the charts didn’t fix down until 5 every Friday, we had to meet at this time to do the preparation for the show and make sure the chart music was all there ready for the official countdown. It was quite a lot of pressure for all the team to prepare a chart show with tight regulations but it was definitely rewarding. It was a great way for the whole team to get together just before the show to compile the content as one, so we all know what was going out on air on that particular week.

I often encouraged every member of the team to bring at least one entertainment story with them each week that they wanted to talk about in the show. Being able to have the meetings directly before the show allowed every member of the team to be brought up to speed and hopefully allow the show to go more smoothly as a result.

I also thought it may be a good idea to have the whole team together for the shows as it would allow everyone to feel involved in some way. Although I recruited people who would be more interested in the production of the show due to the fact that I already had two presenters, I still wanted to give these people a chance to see the show go live. This meant if it ever came to them having or wanting to present on a show then they hopefully wouldn’t feel too overwhelmed. I also made sure I gave the rest of my team opportunities to present on the Demon Chart Show as well as their current jobs to allow them to feel they were part of a team.

The Charts

Every Friday, before the show began, we logged onto the system and insert everything that needed to be included into the show, using every second available to us. We inserted sound bits which have been re-recorded and pre-uploaded to the system, announcing numbers and chart positions within the show.. Larger sound talking beds then need to be put in the show to allow presenters to discuss items related to that week’s chart including the top entertainment stories for that week, lasting between 2-4 mins. The rules of the show meant that we had to play tracks 40 39 and 20, then from 10 to 1. The rest of the tracks we could choose with the exception of any that were not suitable for the show due to lyrical content or controversy. As long as we played these particular numbered tracks and mentioned all of the other tracks and numbers in the countdown then it was fine. We were on a tight timescale to make sure everything played out, making sure the talking beds were accurate.

The assistant producer and I managed a team full of amazing people and we tried to make each show different from the next and also have everyone’s ideas represented one way or another within the different shows.

However, we struggled to find a suitable social media assistant for the team. We had a number of applicants who were given trials but none of them was reliable or a good fit for our strand. Eventually, as a team, we agreed to alternate the social media assistant role between us. So it would always be someone that was in the studio and that was highly involved in that week’s content development so we were able to reflect our show in the social media posts and content that we created.

Throughout my year as the Demon Chart Show producer, I know that it was my responsibility to produce a show of high standards and quality with content which was creative and captured the show in essence.

I also wanted to work with a team and show them what I had managed to learn through my years on Demon FM and how I had fun with it. 

The first few weeks on the job was brilliant.

I got to work with a really strong team, everyone seems to be getting on and having fun with it as well as stimulating creative ideas for all of the shows. It looked like we were setting up for a really good year of shows on Demon FM until the changes started to happen.

Dealing with Changes and Challenges

 My two presenters wanted to continue the series of shows they had begun to set up a foundation for the previous year.  I decided to allow them to continue with this and therefore recruit a team which would help with the production side of the show but then these producers started to change their mind and the shows became fewer and less organised. As a result, this leads to the presenters quitting the role completely. 

These two presenters quitting with very short notice put us in a difficult situation.

Although students sometimes cannot fulfil commitments they make due to academic deadlines, the behaviour of these two presenters was unprofessional and negatively impacted the entire scene.  

I had a strong production team with me and this was great but I needed two presenters to be available every week so the shows were able to go ahead. For a number of weeks, the team continued to do their current roles, always giving it their best while taking on more responsibility due to the alternating presenters. Following my original two presenters leaving the show I had to request for presenters via our Facebook pages.

Some weeks we had to cancel our show due to lack of interest in presenting for the demon chart show that week.

When we did get responses we had very little time to brief them on how the show worked. This put a lot of pressure on the whole team as well as the presenter who was filling in. I had to do quite a lot of on the spot thinking which brought in my problem-solving skills. I had to change my original approach towards the show and twist it so we could incorporate the current teams’ original ideas into the show as well as the alternating presenters’ talents.

Team Work and Beyond

This was good for a temporary basis but with every passing week we got exceedingly desperate. We had to put a stronger plan into action. During this period my assistant producer was vital in helping me make decisions and manage the team.

I met with my team to explain to them the situation and they eagerly spoke about who they would co-present with our stand-in presenters to incorporate our original idea for the chart show and to give the stand-in presenters the extra bit of support.

When we couldn’t find presenters for that week they offered to step in. It became apparent that we struggled to acquire presenters for the individual weeks and soon my team took it in turns or all co-presented with each other every week. I felt very guilty but grateful to them for stepping in to help us especially when this wasn’t what we asked of them in the first place. This new approach made us even more restricted on time as we had to plan and consider both roles for each person as they had to do their original jobs as well as now get ready to present live on air. We tried several different combinations and continuously liaising with the team to ensure that everyone and everything was prepared for each of the shows and there were a few mishaps but thanks to a very strong and reliable team we were able to overcome that with the tools we were given.

My whole team were very loyal and helpful towards the show we were trying to create and I really appreciated their hard work and effort to keep the show going after we had that setback. I wanted to keep my show as fun as possible and not put any pressure on my current team as I thought we were a really good team and I did not want to ruin anything or put any extra pressure on them as well as having to keep up with their studies and doing the jobs that I originally asked them to do as well as now presenting. Having this in mind I started putting Facebook posts on social media asking for any presenters that might be interested to apply for two roles that were opening up on the demon chart show and join the overall team.

We had multiple applicants and I spoke to several of the most promising over social media. In the end, we narrowed it down to 3 of the applicants we wanted to try out on air. We wanted to see how they reacted to being on air to assess how they managed to present in real life.

For the purposes of this next part, I will use Potter-inspired pseudonyms to discuss these applicants.

The Applicants

The first to try out was Harry. I was really impressed by Harry’s confidence using the board and the way in which he kept the banter going with the other presenters. Dead air is a real danger on radio and Harry ensured there was none at all. I knew straight away that Harry would likely secure one of the presenter positions. due to his strong performance.

The next applicant was Sirius who picked up the technical aspect of the role very quickly. Although he did not lead the conversation as often as Harry he still took the lead on a few links and contributed really interesting things to the conversation. While his interview was not as confident as Harry it was still confident and therefore very promising.

The final applicant was Lupin. Although Lupin was very strong overall I did not think he was best suited for a role with the Chart show specifically. Accordingly, I encouraged him to try out for other radio shows and passed on his name to other producers who I thought were hosting shows that were more suitable for his interests. It was therefore decided to offer the two roles to Harry and Sirius. Both accepted the position which started the solution to our presenter problem.

Though I would have loved to try out presenting on other shows I know that my passion is in chart music and only being on once a week helped me focus my passion into that one show. I would have strategised my plan more if I was producing more than one show a week. 

When I heard that I would not be having Uni on Friday I did struggle with the idea of not having anything throughout the day so still having the show on the evening gave me something to dedicate my time to. All through the year, I tried my very hardest to make sure that I was able to attend each show in person so I was able to be in the studios with my team as we went live. This meant II could smooth over any hiccups that arose before it evolved into a problem. I was able to use my problem-solving skills and the whole team were able to work together in order to solve any technical or content issue.  We were a really good team and I couldn’t ask for a better outcome of the different shows. I had a fantastic year producing the Demon Chart Show and working with such a fantastic team.

The most emotional show of them all (and the highlight of the year) was my last show of the year. We all presented together and shared our best experiences of the year so it was a very sentimental affair and I now have it to keep and listen too!

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