Blueskin Bay FM/Handbook
- 1 BLUESKIN FM VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK
- 1.1 Organizational Structure
- 1.2 Programmers’ responsibilities
- 1.3 Offensive language is not allowed
- 1.4 THE SIGNAL CHAIN & FM BASICS
- 1.4.1 FM Radio – What are radio waves anyway?
- 1.4.2 The Blueskin Bay FM 88.2 Signal Chain – Where does it go and how does it get there?
- 1.4.3 USING YOUR VOICE
- 1.5 INTERVIEWS
- 1.5.1 Choose a focus.
- 1.5.2 Find the right guest.
- 1.5.3 Refine the focus.
- 1.5.4 Pre-interview your guest.
- 1.5.5 Double-check the details.
- 1.5.6 Research your topic.
- 1.5.7 Prepare your questions.
- 1.5.8 Draft an introduction.
- 1.5.9 Get comfortable.
- 1.5.10 Listen, don’t talk.
- 1.5.11 Think ahead.
- 1.5.12 Thank your guest at the end of every interview!
- 1.5.13 Listen back.
BLUESKIN FM VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK
The mission of Blueskin Bay FM is to give Blueskin Bay a voice and strengthen the community by encouraging creativity, dialogue and community involvement. Blueskin Bay FM is an open, inclusive, diverse forum for music, creative expression, information, and entertainment. It is a non-commercial, not-for-profit, community-supported low-power radio station with a strong emphasis on locally created and produced programming.
As a non-commercial radio station we offer an alternative to mainstream media. Our goal is to inform, not to advertise.
We are a volunteer-operated station.
- President: Brent Bell
- Secretary: Louise Booth
- Treasurers: Susie Newlands and Finley Horsefield
- Station Managers: Nathan Parker, Peter Dowden, Sandra Muller
Committee responsibilities are as follows:
- Set direction and policy
- oversee Station Managers
- Steward the financial well-being of the station
- Develop, update, and create policies necessary to fulfilling the station’s mission
- Help to resolve disputes and conflicts that arise within the station and act as an appeal body for decisions
The Station Managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the station and reports to the Committee.
Being part of a show and working at Blueskin FM comes with certain responsibilities:
- The responsibility to treat everyone at the station (staff, programmers, volunteers, guests, and other members) with respect and consideration.
- The responsibility to familiarise yourself with the legal responsibilities and restrictions concerning broadcasting as they relate to your show.
- The responsibility to complete any training required for your work at the station.
- The responsibility to contribute two hours of non-programming time each month to support the work of the station.
- The responsibility to sign and honour a Volunteer Agreement outlining the expectations Blueskin Bay FM has for its programming members.
- The responsibility to keep the Station Manager informed of your current email address and phone number(s).
- The responsibility to sign in and out of the Station Log when you enter and leave the station.
Every person entering the station must sign into the Station Log, writing very clearly their full name and the date and time when he or she is entering. Likewise, every person leaving the station must sign out of the Station Log by clearly writing the time that he or she is leaving.
In recognition of the valuable and vital resources of our station, Blueskin Bay FM 88.2 has a zero tolerance policy on theft. To help prevent theft, please follow these important security procedures at all time:
- Do not leave doors propped open for any reason at any time. If you see an open door, close it! Doors that need to be locked will lock by themselves when shut
- If you see station equipment that has been left unsecured, put it in a safe place or lock it away and inform pne of the Station Managers via email or a note
- If you are the only person at the station, ensure that all doors are completely shut when you leave
When you answer the phone, you are the voice of the station. Always be polite to our listeners and supporters.
If a caller wants to speak to a volunteer who is not at the station, suggest that the caller try again during the time of that volunteer’s show. Don't give out any volunteer’s home phone number or email address, take a message.
All programmers are responsible for keeping the station clean. Each and every time you are at the station, you must clean up after yourself.
There is absolutely no smoking permitted inside or outside the station. There is no food or drink allowed in the studio, or near any computers. If you bring food and drink to the station, consume it responsibly and remember to clean up after yourself.
Blueskin Bay FM 88.2 is committed to providing its staff, members and volunteers with an environment within the station that is free from harassment, discrimination and in which all can feel safe and welcome. We respect the rights of all people.
Programming objectives reflect the overall goals of the station. As a community-based, non-commercial radio station, Blueskin Bay FM 88.2 gives preference to live, locally produced shows and local coverage of events, whether they are musical, political, or community-based.
Blueskin Bay FM believes in sharing its resources and information as widely as possible.
Our main objective is to provide programming that is an alternative to other media sources. We give priority to programming that:
- Is locally created and produced
- Has local content and roots in the listening community
- Encourages dialogue between community members
- Encourages community involvement
- Includes a diversity of voices
- Is informative, entertaining and/or inspiring
- Promotes technical skill-sharing
- Respects its audience
It is the sole responsibility of programmers to be on time for their programs. Station staff and other programmers are not responsible for filling in for programmers who fail to show up for their shows. However, all programmers are responsible for ensuring that there is audio being broadcast from the station when they leave, by putting a computer or CD on continuous play/repeat.
In the case of a planned absence, it is the responsibility of programmers to find a suitable replacement for their shows.
All unplanned absences will be investigated and documented by the Station Managers.
Reporting Technical Problems
Equipment failure should always be reported to the Station Managers as soon as a problem is noticed, via email or a phone message.
Offensive language is not allowed
There are about 1000 individuals who can tune in at any time of any day, and all it would take is one phone call from one of them for any reason, and Blueskin Bay FM 88.2 could be paralyzed.
Offensive language is not allowed:
- any language that denies or disregards the human rights of or promotes disrespect towards any person or group of people
- any language that condones or advocates or makes light of violence against any person or group of people
- any false or misleading "news"
- any other language that is inappropriate within a primary school (because that's where our studio is located)
("Group of people" above has the widest meaning possible including but not limited to people of any nationality, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disablity, employment status, income...)
We are dedicated to presenting the spoken (or sung) word in a positive, quality way. Because we do not allow offensive language on air, we also require a high standard of language in or near the studio, at any meetings or in any communication between members.
These rules applies to on-air operators, on-air guests, callers, and pre-recorded material. It is important to remember that you are responsible for your guests and the remarks that they make.
Program producers who intend to air material that is questionably or potentially offensive should clear such material with a Station Manager.
If you broadcast a violation:
If the violation is in pre-recorded material, IMMEDIATELY fade out. Make a note of the track so it does not get aired again. Do not draw attention to the mistake by any on-air comments about it. Finally, log the infraction in the Station Log: log the time, the word and what corrective measures they took. e.g, "Pulled it off the air and made a note on the CD cover" and notify the station manager of the infraction and corrective measures.
If you hear a violation:
If you hear a violation of Blueskin Bay FM 88.2 policy, report to the Station Manager directly.
If your guest/caller violates regulations:
If a guest or caller uses offensive language, the operator must cut that person off.
Balance of Opinion
Programmers are encouraged to consider the principle of balanced coverage when undertaking programming on issues of public concern.
Libel, slander and defamation can put the station at serious risk of bankruptcy as a result of a lawsuit.
You cannot re-broadcast anything on Blueskin Bay FM 88.2 that you have recorded from radio or TV or from films or videos or tapes, records or CDs.
The Rights of Listeners
It is the right of any member of the listening public to file a complaint against the radio station about what is broadcast. All formal complaints must be forwarded to the Station Manager.
Guidelines for dealing with complaints:
- Be polite. Thank the listener for their complaint. Assure the complainant that their criticism will be handled by a Station Manager
THE SIGNAL CHAIN & FM BASICS
Haven’t you always wanted to know how the Blueskin Bay FM signal gets from the studio out to our eager listeners? The following will help you to understand a little about that process.
FM Radio – What are radio waves anyway?
A radio wave is an electromagnetic wave propagated by an antenna. Radio waves have different frequencies, and by tuning a radio receiver to a specific frequency you can pick up a specific signal. Audio signals usually occur with in a range of relatively low frequencies (from about 20 Hz to 20 kHz). In order for an audio signal to be transmitted as a radio signal it must first be transferred to a higher frequency. This transfer is called modulation.
Using FM, the low frequency audio signal is combined with a higher frequency signal called a “carrier.” The signal of the carrier is the number you turn to on the dial. The carrier for Blueskin Bay FM is 88.2 MHz. At the higher frequency, the audio is then able to be broadcast.
The Blueskin Bay FM 88.2 Signal Chain – Where does it go and how does it get there?
The signal chain is the path that our audio travels from the CD players, microphones, etc. (also known as source devices) located in our studio to the broadcast antenna located at the Warrington School building.
The sources in the studio are the devices that produce audio – either from prerecorded material or microphones.
The sources are connected to the mixer in order to combine them. This is easier than having a switch to select between them (as you would on a home stereo), and lets us talk over music, fade between songs, etc.
The transmitter converts the low level audio signal that originates at the studio to a high power radio signal. This includes modulation (discussed below) and amplification. The output of the transmitter is applied to the broadcast antenna.
Signal Chain Interruptions
If this signal chain is broken at any point, the audio originating at the studio won’t reach the antenna and thus won’t be broadcast.
If you become aware that no signal is being broadcast, notify a Station Manager immediately. The phone numbers for the Station Managers are on the contact list.
USING YOUR VOICE
Although an announcer should be more concerned with overall presentation than the voice itself, the voice is, of course, vitally important on radio. Since it is the only dimension a listener has, it must be effective. The voice can be used to capture and keep listeners interest in your program.
A full, strong voice is supported by the whole person. This means that your emotional state, physical state and entire attitude are reflected in your voice. On the radio, there may be times when you will have to project a more cheerful image than you actually feel. This is when the voice becomes all-important. When you are dealing with radio, voice is not just one part of the performance: it is the entire performance!
Following are some of the factors that affect the voice and suggestions on making the most effective use of each factor.
Your voice is affected by the nature of your thoughts and feelings. Fear, anxiety and depression all find their way into your voice at times. Thus, the voice is the channel through which the nature of character, attitude, and emotions of the announcer are communicated.
Breath is the control for your voice and speech. Controlled yet relaxed breathing while you are on the air results in clarity and the ability to produce sensitive variations in the volume and tone of your voice. There can be no effective speech performance without this breath control. While you are on the air, your mouth is relatively close to the microphone, where every sound from your mouth is picked up and projected to your listeners. Good posture will help facilitate quieter breathing. Also, during a pause of any sort, avoid breathing in to the microphone. And never rush onto the air having run or otherwise exerted yourself. There are a few things more difficult to listen to than a breathless announcer.
When you speak normally to a friend, your mouth undergoes a vast number of minute muscular movements. When you are on the air these movements must be somewhat calculated; yet you cannot have tension in either your throat or your mouth. You must learn to relax your throat. Let your tongue and lips form your words and allow your vocal cords to “release” the flow of sound in a relaxed manner. Huskiness, hoarseness, “breathiness” and raspiness all result from poor breath control and/or a squeezed throat. A helpful hint for relaxing the mouth/tongue before going on the air: place a pencil/pen horizontally between your teeth, pressing down with your tongue. Practice reading your lines and remember to remove the pencil/pen before going on the air!
This is the voice quality in timbre. An open, relaxed throat will emphasize richer and fuller overtones. A tensely squeezed throat will produce uncontrollably harsh overtones. Resonance is best when nasality is kept to a minimum and the throat is relaxed.
There is no question that on radio there must be more than the usual amount of expression in most voices. The announcer must be adept at varying voice tones and volume in a comprehensive and appealing manner. Voice should reflect the mood and excitement of the announcements. Regardless of the situation or copy you must let the listener know that you believe in what you are doing. All meanings must be clear. All subtle changes in mood must come through the announcer’s expression and choice of words. Monotony has no place on radio.
This is how the voice is used to indicate a type of statement. A question will need a rise in pitch at the end. A casual statement will need a different pitch. An exclamatory statement may need a harsh pitch. It is through the use of pitch that the announcer communicates authority and believability to listeners.
Changes in the rate of speech and the use of pauses while speaking are essential parts of the voice. When the rate becomes constant, you have monotony. Generally, importance of topic is reflected in the speech rate. Important aspects will often be spoken more slowly than less important ones. The pause is an oral punctuation mark. With it, ideas are separated. Rate, including pauses, must be varied and very well controlled.
This is your choice of words. Avoid repetition. Enhance your vocabulary so that your topics have more meaning and listener appeal. A misused word almost always sounds pathetic.
There can be no authoritative announcing without useful and accurate pronunciation.
All these factors can be mastered and become second nature to the seasoned radio announcer. Once they are part of your normal speech routines, you can begin concentrating on polishing your voice and other aspects of your presentation. The best way to progress is to listen to yourself. Record your programs and listen back to them to help improve the quality of your voice.
Interviews are an important part of Blueskin Bay FM's programming. It is important that programmers strive to bring new voices and new ideas to the airwaves. The following are guidelines to consider in preparing an interview.
Choose a focus.
A focus is different from a “topic.” For example, you may want to organize a program on the “topic” of drug addiction in Vancouver. The “focus” of an interview could be the impact of a safe injection site on street-level drug use in the Downtown East Side. Choose the focus of your interview and keep that in mind when choosing guests and preparing questions.
Find the right guest.
The “right” guest is one who can speak directly to your focus from his or her own lived experience.
Refine the focus.
Don’t over-prep before you contact your guest. Be flexible about your precise focus (e.g. the focus of an interview with a homeless drug-user may be different from that of an interview with a medical service provider, which may be different from one with a sociologist). Don’t be afraid to change the focus if you found an interesting and enthusiastic guest who does not quite “fit” your original idea.
Pre-interview your guest.
Let your guest know what the focus of the interview will be. This will help your guest to organize their thoughts and put him/her at ease. Don’t call it a “pre-interview;” it’s just a chat to see what you’ll talk about during the interview. During this chat, feel free to go beyond your focus to ask anything and everything related to the topic at hand. Take notes! Be sure your guest knows your contact information in case of emergency, the exact date and time of the interview, and whether the interview will be live or pre-recorded.
Double-check the details.
Be sure to have the correct spelling and pronunciation of your guest’s name, how he/she wants to be introduced, the name of the organization your guest is affiliated with and its contact information.
Research your topic.
Don’t expect your guest to provide all the information for you. Being a good interviewer means having a grasp of pertinent facts and contexts before asking questions. The interview is meant to inform and educate listeners, not you.
Prepare your questions.
Choose your first question carefully. Listeners will lose their concentration quickly, so you have to grab their attention and keep it! Create a logical flow through your sequence of questions. Avoid jumping from one subject to the next; instead plan on ways that your questions may evoke answers that will lead to your next question.
Draft an introduction.
KISS - Keep It Short and Simple! Introduce your guest in the manner that he/she would like to be addressed, and leave the details for the guest to address during the interview. Give your listeners space to make up their own minds about the issue at hand.
Prepare a comfortable physical environment for you and your guest to talk during the interview.
Listen, don’t talk.
Don’t interrupt your guest!
Always have your next question in mind while your guest is speaking.
Thank your guest at the end of every interview!
Whether your interview was pre-recorded or live, be sure to listen back to it later. Take notes and think about what you would do differently in the future.