Breege Smyth

Radio goNORTH Archive 2012 Producers' Highlights Breege Smyth

I am writing this blog on the final day of the Radio goNORTH trainee producer course. There is a calm atmosphere, the lull after the storm that was Radio goNORTH. I am elated, deflated and exhausted all at the same time. In the fuzz of exhaustion I will try and give you a flavour of the last two weeks.

There were twelve guys on the course who are from locations all over Highlands and Islands. I am from Oban so I was put into accommodation; my housemates were from Stornoway, Benbelcular and Findhorn.

There was a bit of a ‘Big Brother’ feel to the place because Tom Duncan was filming the course for a fly on the wall type documentary. We’ve been filmed last thing at night first thing in the morning so we all got a wee glimpse of celebrity life. We all got along and to be honest we were so busy with playlists, editing, scripting and trying to find a phone signal we had no time for squabbling – well at least not much.

We had a week to get skilled up sufficiently to produce and present a one hour radio show during the goNORTH 2012 festival. Fortunately we had some key personnel from Dabster Productions who took us through the processes involved in presenting, producing, editing and scripting. If we didn’t know what a ‘package’ was before the course we certainly know now.

I liked the fact that there was no compromise on the quality expected from us. If we did a recording we had to edit it and if the content or sound quality was poor then it had to be done again. The same was true of the radio shows we produced and presented. We had to have our running orders, playlists and scripts. We were given great instruction by Scott Shaw about the importance of links and how the delivery must have modulation. A lasting memory for me will be Scot banging out a beat on the table and insisting that Stu delivered his ‘link’ live to this beat! Do you know – it worked: Stu sounded great – lesson learned.

As if there wasn’t enough pressure in just trying to get three one hour shows organized that is Stu and I (we worked in pairs) had a guest presenter hosting our final show. Vic Galloway, a legend from BBC Scotland agreed to present our show – what an honour- that was the elation, but with twenty four hours to go before he was due on air I really wished we had taken the easy option and presented ourselves. What an opportunity I would have missed – Vic was great. What a guy – the system developed a technical hitch which would have left me speechless and given us lots of ‘dead air’ – but Vic carried on talking while technicians and worked and I flapped! The lesson learned from that is that there is no substitute for experience.

I have been very lucky to have seen first hand how professionals like Dabster work and it dawned on me this morning as I walked in here for the last time that what sets them apart and the one thing that has made these two weeks so very, very special is that not only are they professional but they are passionate about what they do. That passion has rubbed off in abundance so from now on I will aim to be professional but I will definitely be passionate.