Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Out and About

All the worlds a stage so long as you can afford the ISDN lines (Why does it cost sooo much to put them in BT?)

Outside Broadcasts or remotes as our American cousins call them are a great way of getting out being seen and heard by your audience.

To get the best out of an OB I suggest you ask yourself a few simple questions: 

The first: Just because we can, should we? Some years ago we did a live broadcast from the cockpit of a jumbo jet (this was well before 9/11) everybody patted themselves on the back that we managed to get a signal back from Greenland all the way to the studio.  If you listen to the broadcast though it wasn’t great radio, I don’t think the listeners got anything from it.  We did it because we could.  So make sure you are doing an OB for the benefit of the listener, client or self- promotion not just because we can.

The second: Plan and plan again.  You need to visit the site, make sure the ISDN lines are in or you can get a signal back.  Where are the loos? Can we get coffee? And these days you need to fill in a health and safety form and do the risk assessment.  Also what do we need to bring that engineering might not.  That can include a clock, paper, laptop to access the web.

The third is staging.  I have seen some ropey old rubbish OB’s in my time.  Trestle tables with a photocopy of the station logo sellotaped to the side. LBC once decided to use a garden shed as a studio.  Trouble is they kept it down a side alley which was used by the patrons of the Cheshire Cheese as a sneaky place to have a pee.  So when the structure was erected in the warm climbs of Earls Court it gave off a rather pungent aroma.  (Sorry another pee story)  So buy proper banners, hire a stage make yourself look professional or don’t do it.

The fourth is make a noise.  Connected with staging but always remember to have a PA – if people can’t hear you it just looks daft.  Always, always make a noise.  I produced an OB at the Broadgate Circle in London and pinched the arena speakers by plugging our output into their public address system.  So you could see and hear what we were up to. 

Fifth and final – clear up the mess afterwards then go and have a great big drink and wind down.

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