Sunday, February 1, 2009

You win, radio.

My thoughts on radio have officially gone from blah to skeptically interested to I think I might want to be a producer for a living.

Last week, to my surprise, I became the producer for the week's current affairs show, which "airs" (they don't actually let us on the air yet) right after our class's two newscasts on Fridays. I didn't even know what a radio producer did until last week. I'm still not sure I actually know what a current affairs show is. Pretty much all the instruction I was given was that a show based on some sort of theme that included an interview, a documentary, and a tape talk needed to come into existence in a week, and it was my job to make sure that happened.

I liked it. I like coming up with fun, witty, topical themes (ours was "Ottawa, I love you, but you're bringing me down.") I liked writing funny, cheeky script. I liked coming up with ideas for the various segments... twice, in fact, because all of our original ideas fell through. I liked problem solving, and having to power to decide to run with a segment on a YouTube video called "OC Transpo Strike Ruins Hitler's Plans" despite our prof's reservations. I liked being more concerned with interesting stories than news value. 

And, I'm not going to lie, I liked telling people what to do and not actually having to do it myself. "You met an ex-Nortel employee at the bar last night? Call him up and ask him if he's having relationship problems." "The therapist won't talk to you? Then stand outside a psych professor's office door until he gives you a clip, dammit!"

The only thing I didn't like, in fact, was not getting any of the glory. Mm... sweet, sweet glory. No glory for the radio producer. Someone else gets to read your best lines. No one hears your voice. It's one of those jobs that nobody notices is being done at all unless it's being done badly.

The newscast looked pretty fun too. I was jealous of the reporters who got to rush to city hall to do live hits about the transit talks. It was pretty amazing how fast everything changed and adapted and still came together, for the most part.

Basically, radio seems like it has all the good parts about broadcast (the immediacy, the scene-setting, getting to play with equipment) without the bad (worrying about what you look like on TV, lugging around heavy cameras and lighting, ratings and "infotainment" over serious reflection and analysis). So what if only two elderly ladies sipping tea are listening to Radio 1 at any given time? Those ladies are getting the highest quality journalism tax payer money can buy.

On top of all this, today I was given a sign. I was listening to Radio 1 while I put groceries away, and lo and behold, a short doc came on... about... the rising popularity of university intramural dodgeball. I KID YOU NOT. Dear CBC producers: If you're going to use my ideas, at least give me an internship.

Do you hold my future, radio? Perhaps.


Wife said...

Dear Husband
Write me another story. It has been too long and, since I no longer live on your floor, this is how I keep up with happening in Onterrible.
PS I watched the hitler video and almost died laughing. No one here gets it

jillian said...

I agree. I want to hear Claire on CBC. They should give you Aamer Haleem's show, it's a good idea but so banally executed.