Home Introduction to radio and television QUALITIES OF GOOD BROADCASTING CONTENTS

QUALITIES OF GOOD BROADCASTING CONTENTS

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1.0 INTRODUCTION

Good broadcasting begins with the ability of crafting the language, not just using it. That is, telling stories in ways that will grab attention impart information and leave either television viewers or radio listeners with the impression of having been at the event themselves. The writer of the broadcast should note that he is writing for the ear or for the eye and ear at the same time. It should also be borne in mind that broadcast audiences do not have the opportunity of going over the news again to clarify issues, once the news has been broadcast. And in most cases if not all cases, audience members do not tape the news to go back and listen to it later, unless under special circumstances with their family members or friends as part of the news.

According to Tuggle, Carr and Huffuran (2001:2), we have to make every sentence we write very clear so that audience members understand what we are talking about after having heard it only once. Writing for the ear especially is one of the biggest differences between broadcasting and other media.

2.0 OBJECTIVES

At the end of this unit, you should be able to:

  1. define good broadcastine
  2. explain objectives and programme strategy in broadcasting • evaluate broadcast programmes.

3.0 MAIN CONTENT

3.1 Definition of Broadcasting

Broadcasting is the transmission of messages from a station to an audience scattered over a given environment or area. The audience members are not concentrated in a given area. The audience, irrespective of their scattered nature receives the message at the same time if they are found within the area of coverage of the medium.

There are two principal media of broadcast. These are the Radio and Television.
Radio is an audio medium as such the writer has to do his or her work in a manner that the pictures are imprinted on the minds of the audience members and they could visualise as if they were physically present at the scene of the event. Television, on the other hand, is a combination of audio and visual. It is also an electronic device which transmits signals from the studio into the air and then into the sets in our houses. The television sets at home act as receivers and download the signals into their appropriate components as originally produced audio visual content (Owuamalam, 2007:2).

SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 1

  1. What is the major disparity between radio and television broadcasting? 

3.2 Programme Objective

Objectives are the goals to be achieved in any assignment. In broadcast, it is the attainment of the objectives or the aims for which the station was established. There must be specific objectives the station should attempt to attain. For example, the station may be established to inform, entertain or to educate, or it could be a mixture of all kinds of programmes like most state-owned broadcast stations or the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) which handle a variety of programmes, and the (CNN) Cable News Network which deals principally in news. It is the purpose for which stations were established that determines the achievement or otherwise of the objectives.

Every programme must have an objective which has to be accomplished. The producer is the one who sets the objective in consonance with the expectations of the audience. The content of the programme should be clearly stated and should be properly understood by the programme producer before production. And above all, the objectives of the programme should be achievable. Owuamalam (2007:14) is of the opinion that in setting the objectives to be accomplished through programme production the following points have to be noted:

  1.  There must be a concise statement of the aim or mission to be realised by a programme. The statement must show the expected result the programme is designed to achieve. 
  2.  The goal of the programme should show the specific result to be obtained within a specified period of time. 
  3.  The principal objectives should be broadly stated in descriptive terms. The description tends to aid an understanding of the issues involved and the requirements for attaining the expected result. 
  4. There should be a performance action plan that outlines the sequence of the activities necessary to accomplish the set goals. 

SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 2

  1. What is programme objective? 

3.3 Setting Objectives

The main task of a producer is to properly outline the objectives which his or her intended programme is aimed to achieve so that there would be justification for the production and subsequent presentation to the station’s audience. Such objectives are normally based on the mission and vision of the station. The producer, in this instance, must have understood the aims and objectives which the station had been established to attain. This would serve as a guide in the selection of themes for the production of the programme. The programmes are the vehicle through which the station’s objectives are interpreted to the audience. It should be noted that the reasons for which the station is established affect the content of the programmes produced by the station. For example, if the station is established to inform and educate the people about government activities, most of the programmes put up by the station would be based on publicity, propaganda and public enlightenment.

The station’s objectives have to be clearly stated so that any producer involved in production should not attempt to work outside the stated objectives. It is very important to set objectives because this would be yardstick to measure the success or failure of the set objectives. Furthermore, such an approach makes it possible to correct any error or difficult parts of the objectives. Once the objectives have been defined, it becomes easier to know if the accomplishment of the set objectives is realisable.
The programme must have defined objectives to address future problems with today’s programme. For example, in the recent past there was a programme on NTA named “Zip Up” which was meant to ask especially young people who are sexually active to be patient and wait for the appropriate time to become sexually active. Such a programme can be said to be successful if there is reduction in the spread of AIDS among the audience members exposed to the programme.

SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 3

  1. Why should objectives be set before the production of any programme? 

3.4 Programme Strategy

Strategy is the art of planning the best way to achieve something (BBC Dictionary, 1992:1156). Programme strategy is the kind of action expected to be achieved at the end of the programme. In a broadcast station, strategy is the approach adopted by programme producers to arrive at specific objectives.

A programme strategy should clearly spell out all the facilities and resources needed to carry out the programme to its conclusive end and should explain the form the programme should take to address a specific objective or issue: whether it should assume a dramatic or discussion form. For example, a programme dealing with “Women Empowerment” should either be dramatised or a discussion forum should be made up of professionals in Economics or Finance to discuss the issue. The producer should not forget that the programme is meant to inform, educate and or to entertain the station’s primary audience. He should, therefore, embark on an approach that would realise the objectives of the programme. 
Under no circumstance should a programme contain ambiguity. The audience members are likely to tune off if the contents of the programme are not clear to them. Such a station will surely lose the audience, especially where they have the choice of tuning to other stations whose programmes strategy is clearly and understandably set up dealing with current and topical issues.

Since society is not steady, stations need to model their programmes to suit the current situations or as situations arise. For example, campaigns against abuse of the Naira emphasise the use of wallets, and touching the notes with soiled hands. This approach is to ensure safety of our Naira and reduce the amount of careless mutilation of the Naira notes.

SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 4

  1. Why do you think broadcast programmes should be free from ambiguity? 

3.5 Programme Evaluation

At the end of the programme, the producer should carry out summative evaluation to ascertain how effective the programme had been, whether it has achieved the intended result under the given circumstance and whether it would be effective in the future, and, if it had failed, what had been responsible for the failure. For example, the previous campaign against the abuse of the Naira has made partial success. If the on-going campaign of the Naira wailing loudly does not achieve the objective, would it be more effective if the programme is dramaticised or made a discussion programme?

Summative evaluation of the programme will answer the question raised above. Before the programme is evaluated the producer should make sure that the programme would be believable and acceptable by the intended audience. The programme should be capable of attracting and retaining a substantial percentage of the audience. Time and form of presentation should be convenient to the audience. The programme should be capable of sustaining the interest of the audience and it should have an appeal to them. In a nutshell, programme evaluation is aimed at determining the effectiveness of the programme.

SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 5

  1. What is programme evaluation? 

4.0 CONCLUSION

All good broadcast programmes are designed or aimed at achieving a specific purpose according to the dictates of the aims and objectives establishing the station. It is this purpose or objective that determines the end result of the performance. The objectives of the station are the cardinal point the producer should bear in mind when contemplating a programme.

It should also be noted that in setting the station’s objectives management must know the reasons for establishing the station. It should take into cognisance the human and material resources available for the objectives to be met in the course of programme production.

5.0 SUMMARY

Virtually every broadcast station is established to fulfill a purpose. The purpose could be to educate, entertain or to inform, or all of the three for the intended audience.
When setting objectives or assignments to the station’s producers, time to accomplish the assignments should clearly be stated. Programmes should be designed in relations to the circumstances that are to be addressed. The strategies adopted for programme production should be aimed at meeting the expectations and needs of the station’s audience.

6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT

  1. What do evaluations achieve in programme production? 
  2.  Why must a producer have to strategies any broadcast programme? 
  3. What would you consider to be the main mission and vision of virtually every broadcast station?

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