Broadcasting is the passing on or the transmission of messages from a single source, the station, to a heterogeneous audience, spread in different places but found within the range on the Medium of broadcast. The various issues to be examined in this unit are to introduce you to principles and practice of broadcasting, the definition of broadcasting, characteristics, content, objectives, evaluation and consideration.
At the end of this unit, you should be able to:
- define Broadcasting
- discuss characteristics of Broadcasting
- write programme content for Radio and Television
- differentiate the different types of programme
- identify the stages of programme production
- outline some production considerations.
3.0 MAIN CONTENT
3.1 Definition of Broadcasting
Broadcasting is the process of sending out and receiving messages through the air by a scientific method called electromagnetic waves. According to Owuamalam (2007:1), these messages are transformed into electronic signals in the studio. It mixes the signal with the carrier waves, generated in the transmitter and the studio. The blending enables the electromagnetic waves to be moved at great speed through the antenna and shot into the air. The air carries the waves as a medium and the signals are received by the sets in our homes and offices.
This definition does not take care of the technical aspects of production as this aspect is the case for engineering department. In this course we are concerned with the aesthetics of production and not the technical aspects of production.
- The broadcast programme generally falls into three forms, namely:
- The programmes can be entertaining
- They can be informative
- They can be educative
The programmes can even be a blend of all the types, such as, the variety shows which cover various segments that deal with specific issues. The essence of the broadcast programme production, as Sofola (1997:22) cited in Owuamalam (2007:2), is to stimulate societal growth, renewal and regeneration of vital issues to the improvement of man for a wholesome life and a better community.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 1
What is production? Through what means do programmes get into our houses and offices?
3.2 Characteristics of Broadcasting
Having attempted to define and explain what broadcasting is in the last section, the next issue to deal with is the characteristics of broadcasting. Broadcasting recreates the activities of people and their environment through its programmes (Owuamalam, 2007:3).
News tends to relay activities and events of people. It is the recording and passing the information which has already taken place. The information to be reported must pass through the editor. The editor might correct grammar, take out certain things that he or she thinks are not relevant. This can be for either the radio or television.
What makes news is currency. If what happens now is delayed and reported a few days after it has happened, then it becomes stale. It is no longer news.
In order to capture the attention of audience members, news is written in short sentences, precise, to the point, with most important ones coming first in the news. As such materials to be used in news production or any kind of production must be carefully selected, creatively ordered and structurally organised to meet the needs of the audience members for whom the programme is meant.
Radio and television broadcasting involves a number of people. These include the technical crew, the producer, the director, the editor, the lighting crew, the actors and actresses or the artists. All these people put together form what is called the production team. The production team can be made up of both skilled and unskilled artisans and talents.
When the audience members view or listen to programmes, they are bound to react to such programmes in a specific manner. The reaction may be positive or negative depending on the contents of the programme. Certain programmes set an agenda for the public to discuss. For example, during the Ibrahim Babangida regime, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issues came up, and there were divergent views on the matter. Reactions came from the public. In the end, the loan was not taken from the (IMF). However, the conditionalities were implemented by the regime.
Agenda setting by broadcast sets the agenda which enable reactions to events and activities from the public.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 2
Discuss the characteristics of broadcasting.
3.3 Programme Content
Programmes are realised as a result of the idea that a producer might have conceived. When certain things happen, human beings generally keep them in their minds. This can stimulate thoughts which in turn can generate ideas. Such ideas which might be many and come in different ways are capable of addressing issues.
The ideas might require creativity in order to determine the best way to address the issue. This means that any problem concerning human beings has a background. It is when the background to an issue is understood that an appropriate programme can be designed to address it (Owuamalam, 2007:6). This is the whole mark in the creation of broadcast programmes.
In the broadcast media, experience is vital in concerning ideas for programmes. For example, a village boy want to study medicine when he goes to school but, because of lack of science teachers in the rural areas, he may end up studying religious education, or any of the liberal arts. Such a boy may end up working for the broadcast media. He may therefore come up with a programme to help other village children who cannot realise their ambition because of the absence of qualified teachers available in the village setting.
Furthermore, someone living with HIV/AIDS may talk about his/her experience and this may lead him/her to the production of a programme such as “Know Your Health Status”.
It is knowledge that makes human beings initiate programmes in a competent and proficient manner. Knowledge makes it possible for programme producers to deal with issues, develop talents and have the capacity to handle issues. Even if a programme is the product of imagination, the producer should appear reliable, believable and acceptable by the audience. It is the duty of the producer to build and sustain the audience interest throughout the programme, whether on radio or television.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 3
What are the major concerns of programme content?
3.4 Programme Objective
Some of the objectives for attaining a university degree are to acquire education, to enhance your position in work peace or to carve for yourself a better image in your community. Broadcast programmes also have their objectives. The objective of a programme has to be clearly defined, the objective must be stated in a clear and concise manner. Such objective must be in line with the expectations of the station’s audience.
The programme should indicate the time it is going to take to complete it, that is if it is going to be a 30-minute programme or a one-hour programme. The major objectives of the programme should vividly describe so as to aid understanding by both actors and the stations audience.
There should be a plan that outlines the sequence of the activities.
The plan should indicate the number of persons involved in the production and how long it would take them to accomplish the task of production set before them.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 4
Name four elements that are significant to the production of programme.
3.5 Programme Evaluation
Having looked at the objectives of the programmes, it is naturally important to see how the objectives if implemented would succeed. That is to evaluate workability of the programme in the following ways:
Does the programme go in line with the normal expectations of the audience? The programme producer ought to have had knowledge of the audience and the type of programme would be believable and acceptable by them.
The audience should be able to learn something or gain something whenever they listen or to watch the programme they should want more. A programme which is capable of holding the attention of the audience members can be said to have achieved its objectives.
The programmes should be aired at such a time that is convenient for the audience. For example, the “Village Headmaster” which was aired by the Nigerian Television Authority in the 1980s between 8.00pm and 9.00pm, was convenient for the audience and a lot of lessons were learned from the programme.
Members of the audience should be able to appreciate the programme. The producer should be able to carry the audience along by producing an interesting programme. By capturing the interest of the audience, the programme would have succeeded in sustaining their active participation.
The programme should stand out clear from others on the same station. It should appeal to the audience and be appreciated by a good number of the audience members.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 5
Discuss four ways of determining the evaluation of the effectiveness of a programme.
3.6 Production Considerations
According to Owuamalam (2007:10), every production in the broadcast medium is designed to satisfy three major interests, namely that the:
Station’s purpose must be achieved.
Programme objectives must be accompanied.
Audience interest must be satisfied.
Producers have to follow the stations directive on programme production which would be acceptable to the audience. Broadcast stations are praised because programmes are produced according to the station’s prescription and such programmes do meet audience aspirations.
The studio lighting should be adequate to separate objects from their shadows cast in the background.
The space for performance should be adequate to allow performers free movement without obstruction.
The nature of the programme should determine the location of production, whether production should take place in the studio or outside the studio. Wherever production takes place, the programme should be made to be believable. Things should appear as natural as possible. Programmes produced by a station should be targeted towards an audience and must meet the yearnings and aspirations of such audience.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 6
What are the three major interests that every production in the broadcast medium is to society?
We have explained the definition of broadcasting, the characteristics of broadcasting, the programme content, objective, evaluation and production consideration. Persons are employed to work in a broadcast organisation to achieve these aims and objectives.
Broadcast stations do not just embark on any programme. The programme must have a target audience which it is meant to educate, inform or entertain. Such programmes should meet the audience demand and hold their attention.
6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT
- What is programme production?
- Explain the objective of production by a broadcast station.
- List and explain the four stages of programme evaluation.