Express FM – Glorious Guidhall

I never really thought I would enjoy radio…but then I met the sound desk. This allowed me to go from operating the visuals on the last show to operating the sound on this broadcast. Since I hadn’t been that excited for the radio show when I took on the role of the sound desk operator it made me keen to see what radio was all about. 

For this show we had the theme of the history of music in the Guildhall in Portsmouth (follow the link for more information about the guildhall). Since the guildhall was originally completed in 1890, various artists have performed there. Please take a listen to the show to learn more about the Glorious Guildhall.

We broadcast from the Express FM studio, which has around 30,000 listeners each week. Therefore we had to make sure that we promoted the shows as an Express FM show and that the content was up to scratch. It was exciting to know that our content would be shared with a large audience, so it needed to keep their interest. 

The show went well and we were on time, which was due to our successful production manager keeping perfect timings. The show did have to be adapted throughout as sections were going over, including a music quiz. So it was important that we all cooperated well and adapted to the time changes together. 

Now that you have listened to the show and read briefly what was expected of us (high quality content for a large viewership) I will explain more about my role – ‘What is a sound desk operator?’

Well it is the person that operates all sound going in and out of the desk to the audience’s radios (or whatever device they are listening on). On the desk you have different groups (which is a collection of channels), faders (to slowly bring sounds/music in and out), buses (these control microphones for guests and presenters, with one fader), also being in control of the software that has pre-set packages on. These are on screen and you just touch a package when you want it to play, ensuring the right faders are up too (have a look on for more information). To summarise I had to make sure mics were live at the right times and that clips from songs and inserts were played on time. Also to ensure the guests from the other studio were connected to Express FM, via skype and the phone.

Even though I have limited experience operating the sound desk I was able to pick it up really quickly and would love to gain more knowledge on how to use it.

One key thing I have learnt from this show is how important script is. Usually with the Television shows we are able to distract the audience with on screen content if the script is not that strong, however on radio you have nowhere to hide. I am a frequent listener of the radio but never really thought about the lack of ‘dead air’. Having this experience has really taught me that even though we can hide behind visuals with TV we shouldn’t. The script is something that can grip listeners so if you have a strong script with strong visuals your audience will be hooked. 

Please see below for some photos from the show!

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Even though producing a radio show was fun and gave me an insight into the non-visual way of broadcasting, I still know that radio is not the route I want to go down. Yet I would always give it another go if I get the chance! 

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