Internal blog post
My snoop

Last month, when I said that we were starting the programme improvement project with snoops of programmes hosted by Directors, I said I would share my feedback.

Well, here it is.  I'm really pleased with it and grateful to Andy for doing the work.  So, I'm going to try to throw forward more, eradicate www and use dry sweepers between tracks.  I find it really helpful to get feedback and please, if you happen to be listening on a Thursday morning, listen with a critical ear and help me do my best.

Nick

Nick Hazell
Thursday 13 December 10am

Verulam in the Morning

Given that daytime presenters do not control the music, this review will only mention such content if it is out of the ordinary.

On a technical level, there are good, consistent audio levels throughout.

We link almost immediately into a live studio interview with the Ollie Foundation. Firstly, I thought this needed a better introduction to better contextualise what we are about to hear.  It took me a minute or so to digest what the guest was saying to fully understand the narrative of what I was hearing. A casual listener, at home with the washing machine going and the kettle on, would not pick up on the topic.

In saying that, I thought it was a fascinating interview. The topic was sensitive (hence the need for a better context) but was very well handled. She was a very good spokesperson for this local organisation and through the questions, she was given enough room to freely speak, being open, honest, and authentic which makes this compelling radio. I liked the focus on the training; this means that a difficult topic is given a positive resolution and a clear call to action for people to get involved.

She forgot the website (a very common thing to do under pressure) but making a light joke of it was absolutely the way to avoid her feeling a fool.

I liked the way you also pointed out the Samaritans’ phone number in case anyone vulnerable was listening.

The interview continued, after we’d had the hard facts, about the origins and story behind the charity. This is vitally important because again it allowed Verity to be open and honest, but also the emotional attachment makes the topic more compelling and real – and this form of ‘magazine’ radio only works when the stories are real and the content features emotion with which the listener can empathise.

Structurally, it concluded with a clear call to action for those who want to help, and enough information about the training opportunities. I’m pleased you broke the interview up for some music; when this happened, we’d reached a natural point and we needed to stop to digest and refresh. There was a good throw forward to retain the listener.

One difficulty you could have faced is the transition from such a hard topic into music, but this was smoothly done. Realising that some of the music log had been dropped to accommodate the talk, you would have a had a range of songs to select; this one was suitable being both recent and anodyne enough to be right for the topic.

Nice verbal callsign after Boyzone, and a reminder of the guest.

The New Year’s Day event was presented in a positive, fun way.  And the remainder of the chat was presented in this way. Above all it concluded with a very positive feel even though we had actually heard quite a deep conversation about suicide and its prevention. 

For future guests, please ask them to prepare to say their website without “www”.  When people say that, they often rush, miss out a ‘w’, and if they don’t say the “w”s  everyone knows what they mean. It’s easier to say, also.

You were right to call this to an end when you did – it was enough, it would have given them good exposure, and I felt fully informed but not bored.

Link into commercials with a throw forward – quick and solid.

It was absolutely right to play two songs in a row. You could have had more if you needed to.  While the log is not prepared for this, in future when playing multiple songs in a row, please insert one of the dry sweepers between each song.

We are now onto another interview. This is a real gear shift from the previous one. I felt this needed a throw forward earlier. Going back to my point about the start of the hour, perhaps a ‘menu’ of ‘in this hour’ might have been useful, and again into the ad break.  There’s plenty of excellent material to keep people listening.

This interview was also compelling. I liked the questions you asked and your reactions; it was a structured informal conversation and not a robotic series of questions. I felt he listened to and answered your questions and you listened closely to what he was saying. This carries the audience with you.

I loved the question about ‘blanking the audience’ in a big theatre, and the subsequent discussion. I also liked the ‘bit of Scrooge’ which was just the right amount.

This was genuinely interesting and good fun and you allowed a plug at the end with clear information which didn’t overload the audience with too much detail.

Linked into a dreaded Christmas song, but in light of the topic – absolutely fine, after nicely rounding off the discussion.

Throw forward to the travel news into the break was nicely done and I am impressed with the disciplined time keeping despite the rich, talk-heavy content.

Traffic and Travel: clear road names, problems and consequences. Fine to gloss over ‘problem free’ areas.

Two songs after the travel followed by a throw forward to Out and About. Just the right amount of time and in the right place.

Two final songs; sponsor ID; weather – presented clearly with just the facts we need without jargon that means nothing.

 

This is an absolutely solid piece of daytime local magazine radio. Plenty of local features and content, nicely handled, and managing emotion shifts well. Just a few areas of audience management (menus, throw forwards) to consider.

Thank you; I enjoyed listening to this.