Critical Analysis – Music Mag Mix

The group production entitled “Music Mag Mix” (available on my Audio page) is an original, general entertainment, magazine show comprised of news, features and even gossip from the UK national music scene. The piece is created specifically as a late-evening or night-time live show that would be scheduled to air on Heart FM during the working week (Monday to Friday). The intended target audience for the show is very much the average person, as indicated by Heart FM on their website:

Heart’s core audience are aged between twenty-five to forty-four. Heart listeners have a spark about them; despite juggling their various roles as wives, husbands, parents and professionals, they still make time for themselves and are determined to squeeze the most out of life” (Heart FM, n.d.).

The concept of “positioning” (Webster, Phalen and Lichty, 2006: P41) the radio station according to a demographic is crucial to its survival since the commercial world of radio is very competitive.

Because most advertisers want to reach particular kinds of audiences, the ability to deliver on a certain demographic is important in selling the stations time” (Webster, Phalen and Lichty, 2006: P41).

A study of this particular radio programme will show specifically how it delivers accordingly in this respect.

The programme has been designed to be as interactive as possible, with competitions, phone-ins and social media contributions as avenues for audience participation. This brings the programme up-to-date and in line with expectations for this particular demographic in that social media has become an integral part of social and professional day-to-day interaction.

Nick Kalogirou was chosen to present the programme as he has a solid radio-presenter voice, and the banter to go with it. He comes across as “warm, friendly, genuine and easy to relate to” (Heart FM, n.d.), as is the style adopted by the station across their entire programme schedule. Nick also comes across as very relaxed and confident despite his sigmatism (more commonly known as a lisp), an impediment that would never be the source of apprehension on the part of Heart’s politically-correct audience. His delivery throughout seems conversational and unscripted, demonstarting a skillset typical of a seasoned broadcaster.

But there is a general convention on the radio that scripted speech does not admit to being scripted” (Crisell, 1994:P55).

However, this particular production is only a fifteen-minute pilot, which represents the opening stint of an hour-long programme. The introduction and menu clearly depicts the running order for the programme segment, as is the standard in any such production; a clear appeal for the audience to stay tuned-in to the programme. This is immediately followed up by an introduction to the first individual submission: a feature by Jack Garstang on Music Therapy. The feature, although informative and appealing to the general public, is not quite delivered in the upbeat style suggested in the programme opening sequence. This is highlighted in the presenter cue, and had the programme been an hour long, it might have featured much further into the running order. However, “peaks and troughs” are also a necessity in terms of climax, and for this reason, the piece fits in relatively well.

Up next comes an introduction to the next individual submission by Nick Kalogirou, on the effect that talent shows are having on the music industry. The presenter cue is well written and successfully links from one story to the next with a subtle, uninterrupted flow. This feature was selected to slot into the middle of the pilot as the presenter himself produced it, an uncommon practice across radio production. The feature itself is well produced, with content and delivery in a style that is representative of the overall programme ethos.

The final presenter link introduces a radio package on the phenomenon that is the “Drive Time” song, and plays on the subject matter by singling out audience members who might actually be listening in whilst driving. The content and delivery in this final feature is again, very much in line with the stylisation of the production.

All of the features, which have been produced using conventional techniques and finished to a very high technical standard, add a high degree of variety to the programme in terms of subject matter, interviews and sounds. Music selection for the individual submissions also conforms to the station’s overall criteria.

The playlist is driven by passion, playing songs from the seventies, eighties, nineties and from the year two thousand, alongside the best current songs“, (Heart FM, n.d.).

With the three individual submissions of four minutes duration each taking up the bulk of the allocated fifteen minutes, the most has been made of the remaining three minutes with good presenting skills embellished by an all original programme ident to head the show, an assortment of different stings used in between links, and a music bed perfectly in tune with the requirements for the show. The music bed is intentionally devoid of an over-riding melody, so as to not detract attention from the presenter. All the embellishments are original creations specifically for the Music Mag Mix programme, and perfectly in-keeping with Heart FM’s style of stings and sweepers, using the same type of instruments and sound effects, and composed in the same modes.

Overall, the programme has been produced to a very high standard. The planning and execution meets the criteria for this production as we have seen in that; it features content of general interest perfectly suited for the target audience as stipulated by Heart FM, the choice of music is also in-line with the station overview, it supports a high level of interactivity across different platforms, and technically the programme has been packaged to a professional standard in terms of content, delivery, audio quality and stylisation. There might have been room for improvement in its delivery if the production had been designed around two presenters instead of one. However, such a production would not conform to Heart FM policy in that; all slots (other than the Breakfast Show) are filled with single presenter shows.

Christian Gadd (995 words).

Semester 3 (September – December 2014) : Radio Packages.

Bibliography

Webster, J.G., Phalen, P.F., Lichty, L.W., 2006 “Ratings Analysis: The Theory and Practice of Audience Research“, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Crisell, Andrew, 1994 “Understanding Radio“, London: Routledge.

Jones, Graham, 2005 “A Broadcast Engineering Tutorial for Non-Engineers“, Oxford: Focal Press.

Beaman, Jim, 2006 “Programme Making for Radio”, London: Routledge

About Us” Heart FM [Accessed 21st December 2014]

http://www.heart.co.uk/about-us/

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About Christian Gadd

Christian Gadd
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