Chelsea Dickenson started her career as the Station Manager at University of Manchester’s Fuse FM. From there she has worked at The Hits Radio, production for programmes recorded at ITV Studios and is currently a producer at independent company Audio Always based in Media City.
What was discussed?
The importance of being armed with ideas was vehemently encouraged as that is what we, as well as production companies, will rely on in order to gain money.
The commissioning process can take from 1 month to 6 months, so it is important for the ideas put forward to be as viable as possible.
The process tends to follow this path:
- A brief is received
- An idea is then developed to match the requirements
- Submit ideas
- 1st round decision
- If successful, a pitch will be delivered
- If successful, commission
In the path, there are two stages where the idea will either be accepted or rejected so the ideas really do need to be good.
Chelsea then gave us some tips for how to create great ideas:
- Keep notes, take photos of things, even a spreadsheet of ideas- just keep track of anything that inspires
- Dedicate time to developing ideas through listening and watching programmes to find out what is already out there, what you liked and what you think could be better
- Throw ideas at people and discuss them to ensure they deliver
- Find the hook- what is going to make people interested
Armed with these tips, Chelsea then set us an exercise where each group where given a collection of cards that had a channel, a talent, a genre and a “thing. For example, one selection of cards given out were BBC3, Mary Berry, travel, and multi-platform. We then had to come up with an idea including each of those cards for a programme.
We then did a similar exercise for trying to generate an idea for a suitable programme based on a topic for the radio station we were handed on a card. The topic everyone had was “The Kardashians: and the card our group was given was BBC Radio 4, where others either had BBC Radio 1/1 Xtra or BBC Radio 5 Live.
Stand out advice:
“Get out of the bubble”
When developing ideas, speak to friends who have no links to radio other than as a listener. This will provide you with a reality check and help understand what an audience wants, not what you think or those in the industry think the audience wants.
What I took from the session:
The exercises were really great at making you think differently. If I was just given the brief of make a travel programme, I wouldn’t know where to start so I will definitely be thinking of the different elements I can introduce and what that could possible create.
The other piece of advice that I will try to adhere to is being able to summarise an idea in a couple of lines. If you are unable to get the idea across quickly, you won’t be able to pitch it.