I often describe myself before as nosey. And it’s true. I want to know how things work, what makes people tick, processes. It’s something that comes in handy when I visit a venue, or interview someone, and especially when it comes to the geeky side of things. Sometimes it’s getting me to stop asking questions that’s the problem.
So when BBC Radio Manchester launched Over to You, I knew I had to apply. The Over to You project has seen the station recruit 100 volunteers – members of the public – to come and work in radio, and runs from 18 to 24 March. Roles as presenters, reporters and producers were available and though I was very late applying, and hundreds applied, I made it through the selection process, interview process and right the way through to training.
I was in.
Much as recruiting for a role, the team decided what it was we were going to do. Assessing our applications and the interview, and our following interactions, to select roles for us.
Last week was my last training session, which saw me once again in Media City, learning the elements I would need to act as a reporter. Tips from how to describe a location and experience, to chatting to Alan Beswick and Talat-Farooq Awan and Lawrence Mann. We asked about everything from things that can go wrong, and how long and short to make the recordings ahead of them being edited.
It’s been a fascinating process. I now know some of the technical terms, I’ve had a play on a mixing desk (they move up and down don’t you know), and seen the amount of work that goes into every bit of broadcasting.
This weekend was my turn. As a reporter I was tasked with creating a package on food and drink. I booked in two interviews, prepared my questions, and met with Fiona and Paul to do the recordings.
I’d like to say it was easy, and I was a natural. I’m not unused to interviewing people, but primarily mine is for written word, and so whilst my guests were very fluent and natural, I perhaps was not.
Which was evident when it came to editing. Paul and I sat at a desk and worked our way through the words. Removing ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’ wherever possible. Cutting irrelevant bits and bits that had ended up too noisy for us to use.
I think I may owe Paul a gin or two.
A couple of hours later, I’d finished wearing down poor Paul’s patience, and it was done. I’d gone from initially being allocated one piece, to three: one on each subject and a third which would be a combination of the two. All of which will go out this week.
Now all you and I have to do is listen to the radio and wait to hear my packages go live for you to find out who I chatted to.