Wednesday, 9 June 2010

BBC Broadcasting House

"One, two, three, four .. eleven!"
"Don't count them!"
Eleven people were in a tiny editing room full of screens, editing equipment, script notes and head phones for just one radio programme. But this programme, The Bottom Line, is edited for four news channels, not just for Radio 4. The Bottom Line also goes out to
  • World Service radio
  • World News TV
  • News Channel TV
Although located in a radio studio, it is also broadcast on TV. So the eleven people were involved in editing the programme for four different versions. This meant that for example the editor for the World News had the presenter reword a question about "high-street banks", a commonly understood term in the UK to "physical banks" (as opposed to electronic banking interfaces).

The host and presenter was Stephanie Flanders, standing in for Evan Davis, who is hard to follow because he is so experienced and well known. Not surprisingly, SF looked nervous at the start of the recording, as she introduced her guests, stumbling slightly over the unfamiliar names. On the retakes she was word perfect. In tone and body language, she gave the impression of knowing what she wanted to ask her guests. From the editing room, the editors prompted her with supplementary questions that arose from the conversation, not the script. She brought in the extra questions so fluently that no-one watching or listening would know about the prompts in her ear. Yet self critically she murmured afterwards that it would have been better if she'd had more to say.

After the main recording, they recorded one minute video blogs, one from SF and one from the Open University Business School representative, Leslie Budd, who also writes a blog for the programme. This is because the OU works with the BBC on The Bottom Line, as you can see from their shared web site. The OU has provided funds for programme equipment, and in the radio studio I could see that equipment allowing the cameras to move smoothly around thus allowing the TV production as well as radio.

This is a great programme with three really interesting guests in a interesting discussion about mining, banking and music, going out on
  • BBC Radio 4 tomorrow evening
  • World Service radio
  • World News TV on Saturday and Sunday
  • News Channel TV on on Saturday and Sunday
Why was I there? Because next week, Les is on holiday and I volunteered to write the blog for him, then discovered they do the video blog too, so Les took me to see the layout, what happens, who creates, produces, and edits it. That's a lot of people:
  • three guests and their minders
  • one presenter
  • three or four camera crew
  • producer
  • OU Broadcast and Learning executive
  • and the eleven editors.

1 comment:

eLizH said...

Stephanie Flanders said enough. The usual presenter Evan Davies blogging at
"I can always tell when we've recorded a good edition of The Bottom Line: it is one where I have not had to speak very much."

Evan Davis | 16:00 PM, Thursday, 28 January 2010
Evan Davis on Bottom Line