Fake it ‘til you make it… as a radio producer
In a feature that first appeared in Encore, Southern Cross Austereo national executive producer Sam Cavanagh tells us how to make it as a radio producer.
What does a radio producer do?
The role of a radio show producer varies depending on show, market and format, but essentially their responsibilities fall into two main categories; ‘the show’ and ‘the team’.
In terms of the show – the producer needs to source and refine content. This might mean chasing interviews, finding audio, researching story ideas, editing packages, writing promos, monitoring and posting to Facebook and Twitter, recording vox pops.
In terms of the team – a producer is responsible for how the team operates. From on-air talent, to the off-air team, they need to be a motivator and a facilitator. The producer is the funnel through which all internal and external people interact with the show.
They need to build exceptional relationships with the sales team, engineering team, marketing team and all relevant publicists, and talent managers to help secure important interviews.
What skills do you need to be good at the job?
You need to have lots of creative ideas, be really organized, work well under pressure, be an expert in digital and social media, but above all else, you need to have excellent communication skills in a variety of situations.
Who are the people you work closest with?
On-air talent, content director, and other off-air team members (audio producer, assistant producer).
Is there any lingo we need to know to do the job?
Too much to go into here.
What does a typical day on the job entail?
That depends on what time your show is on air, but basically 50 per cent of the day is spent chasing content and dealing with all the administration around the show. The other 50 per cent is planning the day’s show and putting it to air.
What’s the best part of the job?
The instant gratification of having an idea and being able to put it live to air minutes later.
What’s the biggest challenge?
The sheer volume of content you need to create. If you are producing a breakfast show, you need to create 15 hours of live content each week.
How do you become a radio producer?
There are a few great university and TAFE courses around the country, but I would say the best way to learn how to be a producer is just to find something to produce. Produce as much content as you can. It doesn’t really matter what the medium is. A short film, blog, website, community radio show, comic book, podcast, comedy show. A good producer is just someone who can manage creative people and get stuff done.
This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.