Write about your experience at the radio station for extra credit. This assignment may substitute for a quiz grade or a journal entry grade. Write 2 or more pages describing what you learned, saw and experienced at the radio station. How influential or interesting was this medium? Or, do you think that radio will become increasingly irrelevant? Why?
My JOUR 1135 Mass Communications Survey class took a field trip to the 1280 AM WIBB radio station based in Macon, GA. I know, right? I didn’t know college classes took field trips! 🙂
When we arrived at the radio station, we met Ms. Anita Ponder of the Anita Ponder Morning Show. The radio station is part of a larger corporation called Clear Channel, which includes multiple radio stations. We toured a good bit of the building. We started out at 1280 WIBB. Ms. Ponder had a special guest on air with her. Dr. Beverly was introduced while the other lady was on air. What was really neat was that multiple students in Dr. Beverly’s class were put on air as well, including me! Ms. Ponder asked me what I was learning in class, to which I responded with something like “The class is a general overview of the different mediums of mass communications.” She also asked me what medium I was interested in, to which I told her video and film, though doing the news for radio would be pretty cool.
Lily, Chis, JR and a couple of others got to speak as well. It was pretty neat when they were on air because they really got into conversation. Ms. Ponder asked them about the HOPE Scholarship cuts, and one topic led to another in such a short time! It was really quite neat! (Have I used the word “neat” too much, yet?)
The environment was similar but different to how I had imagined, or seen on TV or in pictures or film. The studio was much smaller than I thought it would be. It was about 8×8, I think – very small. The way the mikes were set up did fit my schema of radio stations. They were on the mike stands that bend and turn in an upside down V-shape. On the wall outside the studio was the famous rectangle box that lights up with “On Air” when the studio is recording speakers. One of these signs was outside each studio door. No one enters when that sign is lit up. What I noticed about the environment was the sound proofed walls. They were not really sound proof probably, but they were covered in cloth to help the acoustics. I obviously do not know the technical term for that. 🙂
Each speaking segment on 1280 WIBB lasted anywhere between two and five minutes. Song and commercial segments lasted between a minute and a half to two minutes – not very much time to tour, yet a couple of times Ms. Ponder took the class and showed us a couple other studios during those short breaks. The morning show on 1280 WIBB is the only live show at Clear Channel. The show ended at 9 a.m. so Ms. Ponder took us on a real tour after the show. She asked the class what groups we liked, and she played a song by one of the groups named.
I loved watching the man who “runs the boards” (as we learned was jargon for the person who operates the computers/mikes/etc.). He had to concentrate so much – that was clear! He had about 3 computer screens (screen sharing, I think) plus a laptop to operate! It was at this point that I learned a few things: Ms. Ponder said that he was the person who has to adjust the program if she talks too much and goes over time; 🙂 she also said that if a guest ever mentioned a song, they would typically play that song after the speaking segment, if they knew ahead of time what song they were going to mention.
Ms. Ponder showed us the break room, (the most important room in the building 🙂 ) where allegedly her co-host spends a lot of his time. Haha. She then introduced us to the lady who does Human Resources; she does all the paperwork and payroll. There is a place in the arts for people who are not artsy! 🙂 I thought at this point, “You can still be in the arts if you try to be artsy and it doesn’t work out for you!” 🙂
At the end of the tour, Ms. Ponder asked us to do a commercial for her to air over the next few days. So all of us gathered around the mike in a little studio and recorded a segment as follows: “We are students from Macon State College, and we listen to the Anita Ponder Morning Show, 6-9 on 1280 WIBB.” That was pretty cool, but I thought “I’m lying, I don’t listen to WIBB.” This occurrence made me wonder: all those groups that come on the radio saying “we listen to this station,” does each individual in that group listen to that particular station? Also, what is the likelihood that 15 students in the same class at Macon State College listen to the Anita Ponder Morning Show? I’m thinking very slim.
The guy who runs the boards said he would take the best snippets from each of the recordings and fit them together to make the commercial. I thought that was neat. I did not know that radio stations did that; I thought those little commercials were one recording, not multiple recordings edited! In my mind such editing was comparable to video editing. Then I thought about Audacity, a free audio editing software program that I have used before. Dr. Beverly counted to cue us and told us what to say, what to change or what to do better. JR got to record a segment by himself.
Radio is fairly interesting. You get paid to talk and listen! Shows last for only a few hours; the Anita Ponder Morning Show is on for only three hours each day. I have to wonder how much preparation must be done beforehand, for example with picking out the music, and placing commercials in the correct slots, etc. Ms. Ponder said that she checks news from various sources before she is on air and while she is on air.
I think that radio is really influential, especially talk shows and religious stations. Talk shows inform and/or influence the way you think about your government, politics, health, entertainment, etc. Some stations will try to sway your mind in favor or against a certain belief. Religious stations reinforce and/or change people’s beliefs.
I do not think that radio will become increasingly irrelevant; it is flowing with the change of technology. Many radio stations are accessible from the Internet; you can listen live. Some stations that are available on the Internet allow users to download podcasts, so people can put shows on their iPods and listen to them everywhere, even if it is not live. People still need to get their information from somewhere. People can’t (safely) access the Internet while driving, but they can listen to the radio to get the information they need. Ms. Ponder said the listeners ask for the time, the weather, and (I think) the news to be repeated most often. Listeners may not have the chance to look at the Weather Channel or watch the news one morning, but they can get both of those by listening to the radio. Radio helps drivers with a long commute; at least it does for me. I love the radio and music a whole lot more now than I did a little over a year ago (before I had a 30-minute commute). Radio has many functions, and I believe it is “hear” to stay! Haha.
What I learned was what I observed. I think I learned more by observation that by anything else.