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In outside the van housing the equipment for broadcast is properly known as the Outside Broadcast Van (OBV). The producer of the programme must always ensure that the (OB) Van is moved from the station with its full and functional compliment to the required location, well ahead of the commencement of the event to be covered (Owuamalam 2007:142).

The van is usually stationed at an appropriate place where there will be no difficulty in gaining access to both the field staff and the main station. The producer usually embarks on visit to the scene if it is a planned programme to survey the area and find a possible place the van for effective coverage of the event. This is also called field plan just like plotting the floor plan in studio production.


It is hoped that this unit will bring the learner face-to-face with the reality of Outside Broadcasting. He will therefore be able to:

  1.  identify outside Broadcast channels and types 
  2. fully explain how to link up the station with the OB Van. 
  3. demonstrate the work of commentators on site. 


3.1 Definition of Outside Broadcast

Outside Broadcast as the name implies is programme produces outside the station. The programme deals with the coverage and recording an event in the field as opposed to studio recording for a Broadcast station. Every activity takes place outside conventional studio.

There are many kinds of outside recordings such as (ENG) Electronic News Gathering, (DNG) Digital News Gathering, (EEP) Electronic Field Production and (RFP) Remote Field Production. Any of this can be used to record schedule or unscheduled events for use in the Broadcast station. However each of them is used differently to achieve the same aim. For example, ENG, the reporter uses the camcorder to cover events that can be used for News production in the station.

Whereas the DNG uses satellite up-link facility to relay field news events to the satellite for downloading and use by the station, EFP uses camcorder to record events in the field to be edited and used in the station. On the other hand RFP is said to be a complete studio in the field. It contains virtually all the equipment for all the production.


  1. Define Outside Broadcasting. 

3.2 Broadcast Channel

Radio is just like any other broadcast station. It sends out its signals though a broadcast chain that begins in the studio and often terminates in the Radio transistor of the listeners. Recorded materials are play in the continuity studio. The materials could be on reel-to-reel tape, cassette, compact disc, record or even computers. The signals are therefore sent to the lines room (Magaji, 2000).

These lines room and where the signals from the studio receive the first treatment of filtration at the link-sat. The link-sat is the equipment, which on filtering the signals sends them through microwaves to the transmission station; another link-sat corresponding receiver is to accept the signals from the station. According to Magaji (2000), cited in Idebi (2008:76), at the transmission station, another link-sat corresponding receiver is to accept the signals from the station. The signals received are routed to the transmission hall. The signals are positioned between two link-sats which are transmitted using microwaves through space. The signals from the receiver link-sat are directed into the transmission hall. The first point is the programme input equipment that once more filters the signals and modulates it for suitable reception in the sets in our homes.


  1. What do you understand by Radio broadcast Channel? 

3.3 Linking Up with Outside Broadcast

Linking up of the commentator to the station from outside depends on the number of lines of the telephone that are available. It also depends on the proximity of the commentary site to the station. There are also other ways by which the linkage can be carried out:

  1. By Cable: Linking the scene of events to the studio is preferred especially when such event is taking place within the premises of the station but outside the studio. This is a direct link from the studio to scene or from the scene to the studio. 
  2.  By Microwave Link-Sat: In this situation signals from the scene of the event are sent to the section using Link-Sat. Here also depends on the proximity of the scene to the broadcasting station. Since the microwave may not be capable microwave may not be capable of covering long distance, but where they can cover the distance no matter where the scene of event is provided it is within the coverage area of the station. 
  3. By Telephone Lines: If the event is taking place where there are no telephone services but in a location serviced by the telephone the microwave equipment could be used from the site of the event to the carrier room of NITEL which could direct the signals through its trunk to the broadcast station. 

If the scene of the event is serviced by telephone line, then it does not pose any problem as the outside broadcast equipment output could be directly connected to an already booked line that would get to the studio. Such line is normally cut off from the unwelcome calls until the event is over.


  1. Describe linking the station from outside broadcast by Microwave Link-Sat?

3.4 Types of Outside Broadcast

Most Outside Broadcast on radio deals with commentaries. These are divided into ceremonial and sport commentaries. However, each functions in its own way depending on the availability of resources and time involved.
They are:

  1.  Delayed Broadcast: Here an event is fully recorded from the beginning to the end and the transmission is done at a later date. This is done especially of the scene of the event cannot be reached at the time the event was unfolding. 
  2. Closed Circuit: This method is used for sports that have no time span for example, table tennis and lawn tennis, basketball and motor racing. The activities are fully covered but edited to be airtime and transmitted at a later period. 
  3.  Live Broadcast: Here reporting is carried out as the event is taking place. Commentaries are made from and on the spot. Live broadcasts are carried out during important football matches and the independent celebration. 
  4. Relayed Outside Broadcast: In this situation the station may hook up to a sister station to relay such event or information to the station for its audience. 

Whichever method of Outside Broadcasting embarked upon by a station, time frame becomes an important factor. There are some programmes that last longer than others. For example ceremonial events such as independent celebration may last up to three hours while sports may take a maximum of two and a half hours for a football match that may go extra time and penalty kicks to produce a winner.


  1. What do you understand by delayed Outside Broadcasting?

3.5 Commentators on Site

In Nigeria, commentators for local stations are selected based on the language or languages of communication. This is the case because the proceedings are usually translated from English to the local languages for those who do not understand English but the station has to meet its obligation to them, of informing, educating and entertaining them. The commentary position is determined as soon as the crew arrive the venue of the event, where there has been non-before. However in standard stadia, standard cubicles are already in place. Here the commentators advise engineers on the number of cables or microphones to be used and how they should be located.

The next thing is the team looks out for possible escape routes in the event of unexpected and circumstantial happenings.

The announcer usually introduces the commentators equip themselves with portable and small radio sets to monitor their output on air. This is very important and it enables them to correct any anomaly on the commentary. The Commentators relief one another from time to time so that none of them would be over worked.
The commentators sign off usually at the end of the event.


  1. Why do you think commentators should look out for escape route while covering events outside the station? 


Outside Broadcasting requires efficient planning with efficient personnel to handle the assignment, because it involves the use of person and equipment. Both the people and the equipment should be in good condition, the people should be competent in handling the production equipments if the desired result is to be achieved. At the scene of the event cables must be laid in such a way that disruption and damages are avoided.


Outside Broadcasting takes place solely outside the studio. The event is recorded in the field and only used by the broadcast station.

For effective coverage of outside event, many people are involved and in fact machinery and funds are also involved. So the station determines the time it would take to embark on such an event in conjunction with the financial resources available.


  1. What are the most important forms of Outside Broadcasting in television? 
  2.  Fully discuss the qualities of radio commentators on the field. 
  3.  By what means would you link up with the station if you are on outside broadcasting assignment? 


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