After 2 or 3 years, we made a decision to remove the open access policy of 1Radio and instead require auditions from prospective broadcasters.
This came at a time when the 1Radio schedule was extremely busy and everyone was chasing slots. There was also a sense that long-term members with good listener numbers were often let down by empty or underperforming slots before or after them. A typical comment was “whats the point of building an audience for it to be squandered by a lousy show coming afterwards?”. Likewise, "it's so disappointing to start my show with an inherited audience close to zero".
The audition process required that would-be presenters provide some information about themselves and upload sample audio to show how they sounded on air and to convince us that, at the very least, they had a decent microphone.
Submitted auditions were then shared with a number of presenters who had volunteered to be on our review panel. They would assess the auditioning presenter on their production skills, voice and creativity giving a simple yes or no on each aspect and some comments to justify their decision. The combined results from all the reviewers would determine if the person was accepted or not.
Many people missed the point of the auditions and would simply upload a jingle or music mix they had created. Others took it seriously and created a meaningful piece of audio to show off their skills and present their programme ideas.
More than 500 people went through the audition process though not everyone uploaded their audio. Looking through the database, it looks like we rejected most of them. Here are a few comments lifted from the reviews...
- "A perfect fit to 1Radio. Production well thought out, I found the audition entertaining, can't wait to hear a full show "
- "1Radio has been crying out for a DJ of this calibre for a looooong time! Thumbs up! A pro! Nuff said! "
- "Could be interesting. I had trouble hearing some of what she was saying, and I felt this demo was a little too short and lacked flow. "
- "Production & Voice are not too bad - but I do feel that the show idea is nothing new to the station..."
- "Unfortunately, He may have the heart, but due to his disability he is not able to conduct himself in a professonal manner. "
- "Nice showreel. This presenter has shown us his ability to be clearly spoken, with a couple of nice production pieces in there as well. I would look forward to hearing more from her."
Surprisingly, some people would submit great auditions, receive positive feedback from the reviewers and were subsequently invited to join only to never bother responding. Sadly they went unheard on 1Radio, despite making all the right efforts to join.
Just prior to the introduction of auditions, we adopted the notion of premium hours. These were the evenings and weekend slots when shows typically received the most listeners. Over time, these slots had become privileged positions in the schedule and were much sought after. There was a feeling that long standing presenters should have first pick of what was considered "the best slots". It was a departure from the "book any free slot at any time" culture that we had started with.
Another contributing factor to the decision to start auditions was the growing frustration of existing presenters about the increasing unpredictability of the schedule and the growing tendancy for people to book slots and simply not show up. Remember the no shows of freecast? Yes, that old chestnut. Auditions, it was thought, would help us recruit committed broadcasters who take things seriously and not squander slots.
If I’m honest, I think it was the change from open access to auditions and the notion of premium hours that in part changed the fortunes and dynamic of 1Radio. What had previously been an open, transparent and welcoming site started to become a bit precious, elitist and, crucially, just like hundreds of other internet radio stations who made would-be presenters jump through hoops in order to join.
I think 1Radio lost a bit of it's charm and character and was no longer seen as the friendly, open community it once was.
Posted by Tim on Thu 29 Sep at 07:20 and viewed 185 times.