It’s been over a week since I did my work experience at BBC Radio Stoke. I was there for five days and it was filled with lots of events going on and gave me a great chance to observe what the great journalists at the station get up to.
Here’s a round-up of what I got up to whilst I was there.
Monday 11th Februrary
In the morning I had a tour of the station and some training on how to use Quick Edit Pro (part of Radioman) and ENPS. For the afternoon I sat in the Ops Room for Paula White’s and Tim Wedgewood’s shows. Just as Paula’s show came to an end, some news came in about a death on the railways near Stoke-on-Trent. This meant all trains through the station were suspended. I assisted by answering phones about the travel chaos and also updated Tim with the latest news from the train companies.
On Tuesday I started working with the Breakfast team (Stuart George and Katy O’Regan). After their show I joined in the daily morning meeting to see what is coming up on the next day’s show. There was a story about over 55’s who don’t always take out travel insurance before going abroad. I was asked to make some VOX pops about people’s stories of travel insurance; if they’ve never taken it out and had trouble, or even had trouble claiming whilst they’ve had insurance. Here’s that audio.
Late on Tuesday, the team at BBC Radio Stoke had found out that former Port Vale Football Club chairman, Bill Bell, had passed away after a battle with cancer. The news room was a strange place to be in as they couldn’t announce the news until they had confirmed all the family had been informed. Once the green light had been given scripts were completed and the next bulletin contained the sad news. I didn’t do much that afternoon except observe and understand what the news and on air teams did in the situation.
As Thursday was Valentine’s Day, I created some VOX pops about people’s ‘most unromantic gifts’. It was a spin on the ‘best Valentine’s Day gifts’ and wasn’t specific to Valentine’s Day at all. It provoked some interesting answers from the people of Hanley!
Whilst I was editing the audio in the Ops Room, it started to snow across the TSA. This meant that there were a lot of travel disruptions and event cancellations. During Paula’s show and into Tim’s, I stepped in to answer the flood of calls and travel updates that followed. This took up most of my afternoon but was enjoyable as I spoke to a lot of people and once again was able to contribute to the information which was broadcast on air.
My Valentine’s Day VOX pops were played out during the Breakfast Show whilst I went out with Qasa Alom in the Radio Car. Qasa travels out most days to cover stories and regularly does a live piece during the Breakfast Show.
We travelled to a bridge renovation project near the Emma Bridgewater Factory in Hanley. Qasa explained to me how some of the equipment worked, did his piece then we travelled towards Tittensor to feed an interview back to the studio.
When we arrived we discovered that we had driven to the wrong house down the lane. Qasa reversed and got the Radio Car stuck up a steep bank. We had to wait for the RAC to come and remove the car safely from the location.
This incident, along with a similar one from Katy, prompted a talkie on Friday’s show about getting stuck. This was to be the subject of my VOX pops, to be played out the following day. Here’s me asking people about places where they’ve been stuck.
Once I had finished editing I visited the Ops Room again and assisted with phone answering during Tim’s show.
My final day at the station started off with me sitting in on the last hour of the Breakfast Show. They had played my VOX pops shortly before I arrived (08:45).
During the station-wide ideas meeting I contributed a story about ukuleles and a local open day for learning to play the instrument.
In the morning Breakfast Show meeting there was talk about strike which was taking place the following Monday. The team were instructed to work towards Tuesday’s show and leave one item an hour for Monday’s show.
The horsemeat scandal had continued to develop throughout the week and that morning there had been an interesting interview with a scientist about the tests that had been conducted on the meat in food suppliers. This prompted a question from the discussion about whether the story had changed the public’s meat buying habits. I then went off into town to ask whether this was the case.
For the final couple of hours I sat in the Ops Room assisting with Tim’s show.
The week was varied and it was fantastic to meet such a great team and learn what they do. I couldn’t have wished for the week to have gone any better and I hope that one day I will be able to work in such a great environment.