Broadcast Blog Assignment

Broadcast blog assignment…..

Live Current Affairs Show – The Last Word, Matt Cooper Today FM – 24/02/2014 – 16:30 – 19:00

Evaluation of the show

Taking its audience into account and the fact that most of them are commuting at this time, the show mixed hard and light news in the first 2 hours, and then had the usual sports slot for the last half an hour. The show would be aimed at an older audience, probably parents,  tech savvy professionals.  They probably listen to Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen. Nothing wrong with those singers, but that is the type of person who listens to Matt Cooper I think. The presentation was always of a high standard.

I think the personality of the presenter is also a factor in this type of show.

What is the running order, and how is the show divided?

As it’s a drive time show, the running order would probably reflect the audience. It works in that it mixes around topics being discussed. For example, it started with a story on cyber bullying, then went to the Ukraine, keeping the main stories back until after the news. Like most current affairs shows at this time, they finish with the sports news or entertainment news depending on the day.

  • Segment: Cyber Bullying (relevant to parents collecting kids from school)
  • Segment: Ukraine (updates on where this story is going since the weekend)
  • Segment: Consumer Research (Cheap beer vs water in supermarkets)
  • News at 5 pm
  • Texts read out after the news on the previous 30 minutes, especially the cheap beer slot.
  • Segment: Changes to building Planning Process (relevant to people looking to move house, or news for people working in the building sector)
  • Segment:Traffic update
  • Segment: Garda GSOC update (updates including comment on a Dail statement from earlier in the day)
  • News at 5:30pm
  • Sports News
  • Segment: An Post Cycle series, Today FM getting involved in cycling this year (a light news story but reasonably long in terms of coverage)
  • Segment: Texts on previous stories, some humorous
  • Segment: St Patrick’s Weekend – Possible Aer Lingus Strike (a more series story and topical)
  • News at 6pm
  • Sport
  • Segment: Technology Slot – Consumer Electronics Show in Barcelona
  • Traffic
  • Segment: TV review
  • News at 6:30m
  • Segment: Sport – Football, Rugby

News value of the headlines

It didn’t necessarily repeat the news headlines of the day. For example, in the first half hour it started with a segment on cyber bullying, then moved to updates on the Ukraine followed by a segment on cheap beer in supermarkets.

It did cover the GSOC story between 5 and 6pm which is when the show seems to cover the hard news or longer segments.

The headline items after 5 pm could be considered newsworthy such as new planning processes for building houses and the GSOC story.

After 6 pm, the main topics covered would not really be considered hard news or newsworthy, but again, the show is appealing to its audience. The technology sector focused on mobile devices. Commuters might be listening on their phone, on bus for example, so it would appeal to them.

The technology section mainly covered smartphones. The fact that people would be commuting at this time would mean they would be either listening on their phones, or using their phones while listening, so would be a good slot to let them know what is new in the world of mobile technology.

Between 5 and 6 pm seemed to be when most time was given to topics. So we had the planning changes story, followed by the GSOC updates, then a light story on the An Post Cycling Series, which included several contributors like Bressie and PJ Gallagher followed by the Aer Lingus strike story.

The show seems to to mix light news stories with more serious news which would suit commuters on the way home. There is enough of a change to make them stick with the show rather than switching channels.

The presenter

Matt Cooper is a fairly versatile presenter in my opinion. He is not afraid to ask the hard questions, and comes across as knowledgeable on regular topics discussed such as sport, music, entertainment and current affairs in general.

Panellists and Balance

Matt uses regular analysts for sports, music, tv, technology, and would use specific contributors depending on the news topic being covered.

The sports panellists in particular would be well known.

He nearly always offers balance in contributors, to present both sides of the argument.

A lot of time, journalists from the Independent will be used. This may be down to who owns the radio station. (INM)

Audience feedback

He will always read out texts in a balanced way as well, so if someone disagrees with how a topic was covered or a contributor, he will read it out. (for /against comments). He will nearly always only read out texts as opposed to tweets.

Social media

I found it strange that there wasn’t much twitter interaction at all. Again, the fact that it’s a drivetime show might go some way to explaining it. People driving won’t be using their phones.

There were only three twitter updates on Matt Cooper’s twitter page:

The first on the topic of bullying


The second on the topic of cheap beer


The third on GSOC


There was only one tweet update on The Last Word twitter page, about the An Post Cycle Series


There were no updates on The Last Word Facebook page. In fact, the Facebook page just seemed to have links to podcasts of topical and more light news stories, which would be more suitable for Facebook users.


The main competitors would be George Hook’s “The Right Hook”, RTE’s “Drivetime”. Both of these are light on social media interaction as well which again would suggest the core audience are commuters. The Last Word wants to offer something different to these shows.

I think one thing that might make people listen to the Last Word over George Hook would be down to the personalities presenting the shows. Lots of people don’t like Hook, so Matt Cooper would be the alternative, as the shows are fairly similar.

RTE Primetime – Tuesday Feb 25 – 21:30 – 22:35


Miriam O Callaghan, David McCullough, Claire Byrne

Evaluation of the show

As it’s a show that’s on a few times a week, it picked up on the previous nights GSOC topic, and also gave us a recap of the GSCO story to date in an intro package.

I would never consider this show light in topics discussed, and you would have to have a basic enough idea of what is going on before watching it.

But it never gets bogged down in technical language or jargon. You could still tune in out of the blue and be able to follow what was going on, even if you weren’t familiar with the finer points of the debates.

I would imagine most people wouldn’t know a whole lot about GM foods, and I thought this segment was explained quite well.

It doesn’t come to any conclusions, and what is being discussed can be left hanging, as it’s always going to be ongoing.

Target Audience

Primetime is definitely targeting an older audience who would be up to date with current affairs.

There are no gimmicks or “trendy” presentations which you might see on TV3. As in, it’s not a “tabloid” type show.

I wouldn’t imagine it gets too much younger viewers. Even the presenters are older and appear more formal in their delivery.


The programme deals with analysis of current affairs and topical reports. The GSOC debate was changing on a daily basis up until the start of the week of broadcast, and the Tuesday show contained the latest update of the day.

The GM food debate came on the back of an EU Executive decision to back GM crops, reported earlier in February.

It doesn’t require specialist knowledge of any particular topic being discussed.

Running Order

First half of the show: Update on Whistleblowing scandal

Second half of the show: Debate on GM crops, as EU Executive approves GM foods.

Pre-packaged material was used at the start of each segment presented in the style of a news story and offering basic explanations of each topic.

For the GSOC debate, the intro focused on the latest update, along with quotes from politicians and solicitors. It ended with the background to the GSOC story to date.

I thought this was very useful to have, almost like a sidebar in a newspaper with bullet points.

The same format was used with the GM food debate.

An intro with pre-packaged material explained what GM food was, along with comments from those for and against GM foods.

This was followed by a debate. It put things into context for the viewer

The twitter feed also provided a link to recap on Monday’s show (day before) which also covered the GSOC story.

So it gives us political opinion and outside opinion, which would add balance.

Narrated a story, then included comments and quotes with actual footage.

It ended with a quick note on the background to the saga.


Very active twitter feed with people contributing as the show progressed.



Pretty much provided a running commentary on the packages and the debate afterwards.

It also allowed critical commentary of the show as it was on air. For example, during the GM food debate, we can see debate on twitter on what was being said:



On the official twitter page, there is just a post of what is coming up on the show that night.


The hashtag #rtept offers a lot more live interaction

The presenter only read out two emails at the end.

Also interesting to note that in both parts of the show, the Green Party were the only party to post using the hashtag:


Versatility of the presenters

There was a constant attempt throughout to present balanced reporting. The presenters did not let contributors off the hook easily.

This was especially important during the GSOC and GM food debate.

Package on what GM foods are and why, Miriam introduced it using the word “frankenfoods” which was criticised on twitter.

Miriam managed to keep the GM food debate focused. She steered it, and made sure it first just looked at environmental concerns, and then looked at economic concerns.

This show would not work with younger inexperienced presenters not well versed in current affairs.

It gives the viewer a good sense that they know what they are talking about as well.

They were very careful to not make it look like they were giving us their own personal opinions.


The mix of politicians, journalists, commentators and industry representatives provided balance.

Audience participation added balance to the GM food topic. For something as sensitive as the GSOC story, there was no audience participation, but David McCullough again had to be on his toes for the debate between Fianna Fail’s Niall Collins and Fine Gael’s Charlie Flanagan.

Balance was provided by having opposing politicians for the GSOC story and for/against contributors for the GM food story.

Read out balanced emails at the end


I do not think there are any other shows on at the same time on Irish television. The obvious competitor would be Vincent Browne which is on at a later time.

Limerick Today with Joe Nash – 03/03/2014 9 – 12

News value of Headline Items

Some of the news value of the headlines were very relevant at a local level.

The show is 3 hours long, so like other current affairs shows, topics went from light hearted to political.

They led with competition promotions, then spoke about the Oscars and the Linda Martin spectacle on the Late Late Show on the previous Friday.

So the show was very topical and probably matched the coffee chats of the target audience.

In terms of news, the news bulletins at 9 am led with the main national and international stories, while the news at 10 am led with local stories, which was interesting.

The news at 11 am again led with the national/international headlines and finished on local news.

Sports news was all local, which was effective.

I think the show worked quite well in how it made national or international issues “local” by using local contributors.

Running Order and topics discussed

  • News at 9 – led with national news first
  • Oscars
  • Late Late Show
  • Fine Gael – Analysis of their Ard Fheis but with a light hearted approach
  • News at 10 – led with local news first
  • Death Notices
  • Refurbishment of St Marys Park
  • Post scripts referring to items earlier on in the show
  • Diabetes – What is it, and healthy eating tips
  • Sports Recap – Weekend sport from a local point of view
  • News at 11 – led with national news first
  • Local/European Elections segment – a meet and greet with three candidates
  • Limerick City of Culture – discussion on new role being filled
  • Paul Williams – original slot, but had to be replaced with a recap of the Oscars and the Voice of Ireland to finish off the show.

Does this format work?

I think, in relation to the competition on national radio at the time, the format worked very well.

The Oscars and the Late Late show would be items for discussion all over the country, and it was good to start the show with something light as opposed to straight into a political story.

There was music placed throughout the show as well. There might have been 4 songs in total. Possibly playing to the audience, the songs were VERY middle of the road (in my opinion)

I’m not sure if the Fine Gael segment on their Ard Fheis worked. They only spoke about the character of Enda Kenny more than anything politically.

But I think this is the point of the show. It’s steering clear from anything that is probably getting covered on national radio, such as GSOC, or policy making etc.

The sports section and the local elections section worked really well, as they only focused really on local teams results in the sports and the obviously for the local elections segment, listeners can get to hear who the candidates are and what they will be pushing at election time.

It is a pity they did not get Paul Williams on to talk about the John Gilligan shooting, but maybe this is the lot of local radio stations. They couldn’t get him on the phone, so had to fill this slot with more light chat on the Oscars and the Voice of Ireland.

The more serious stories were placed later in the show. This was a good idea as well. I would think in the morning, not starting with heavy stories could be a good tactic. Ease people into it.

Versatility of the Presenter

Joe Nash seemed to handle the show quite well. He cast a cynical look over the Oscars and Late Late Show segments in an entertaining way, but used his contributors well to argue against him.

I thought he knew his stuff as well, when it came to the local elections segment. He made sure to give each candidate equal time, and asked the right questions too.

He is quite informal, and you can hear his local accent come through at all times, which I think works very well on this type of show. Easy to listen to, and willing to play devil’s advocate where needed.

Joe also gave his personal opinion on the light entertainment segments.


All panellists on Joe’s show were local which was crucial.

The first half hour where they discussed the weekend’s Oscars and Late Late Show included Joe Kiely of Limerick toastmasters and Simon Maguire, head of the Limerick Film Festival.

Both gave a professional contribution, and Live 95 seem to be following the same trends as national stations with multiple contributors on the show.

For sport, he also used Liam Aherne, a GAA commentator and Len Dineen, a local rugby commentator.

For the section on the refurbishment of St Marys park after the flooding, Brian Geaney and local politician Jan O’Sullivan contributed. Again, this gave local contributions to a national and local issue.

Use of Audience Feedback

Not a huge amount of audience feedback during the show, but Joe did read out some texts at various times during the show. There wasn’t any interaction on twitter or Facebook during the show.



Overall issues of balance?

This would really only applied to the local elections segments. Three election candidates got to have their say on why they were running, and the problems they faced in their own areas.

I thought this segment worked very well.

The only other hard news item was the allocation of money for St Marys park, but no balance was needed here.

Context of the Show

Overall, it looked like a very light entertainment current affairs show mixed with some political topics that would affect people locally.

It didn’t appear to be trying to compete with Pat Kenny, or RTE Radio 1, or Today FM , and other shows on in the morning.

One thing I thought it achieved was it placed emphasis on local news, and I think it worked.

BBC Documentary – “My War, My Playlist” – Feb 8th 2014

What’s it about?

In this programme we will hear how the MP3 player can now be found in nearly every soldier’s kit bag. What role does music play in the lives of soldiers today?

Soldiers stationed at Camp Bastion describe their music as an essential part of their lives. It helps to drown out the constant hum of activity around camp. It gives an adrenalin kick to long, dreary journeys, and helps everybody to relax in their free time. Music can rapidly become a prop, helping those serving to deal with the difficult and potentially-traumatic reality of life serving in Afghanistan.

What happens when those troops arrive home? Years after seeing active duty in a warzone, what place do those playlists have in their lives? Do they offer comfort, or rake up difficult and dangerous memories?

How does the documentary unfold?

The show is narrated by Joe Fidgen.

It begins with a clip of George Bush, the sounds of bombs dropping in Iraq we can assume, Steve jobs announcing the arrival of the ipod, and Beyonce “survivor”. The song title is quite apt.

A senior historian at the imperial war museum in London tells us they kept the ipod of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.

He then talks about how music was important through all wars. He gives us some background.

The senior historian explained why the soldier had the ipod with him in Afghanistan. (to take his mind off the intensity of war)

Soldiers Doug Beattie, and Patrick Hennessy are introduced, and appear throughout the documentary.

We hear footage from the field in Afghanistan of bullets and guns, then Patrick tells us the song on his mp3 player reminded him of trying to get to the bar in a nightclub.

Sean Langan, a documentary film maker covering the war on terror appears for the first time, and appears again near the end.

Sean spoke about Kabul, and tells us it was a party capital due to people there not knowing if they were going to live or die the next day, so they let off steam.

His memory of going out in Kabul is a White Stripes mash up and that the DJ was a Swedish NGO worker by day.

The next part of the documentary focuses on Patrick and Doug and how their 2 weeks home for R&R was.

It has nothing to do with music, but still helps build context of the contrast between home and Afghanistan.

As these two were there since the beginning of the conflict, it contrasts nicely with the next part in an army training camp in Salisbury in 2013.

The narrator points out that the people training will have grown up with MP3 players.

A reservist describes why he is downloading certain songs. A band called “Mum”, which he describes as “montage music”, like Sigur Ros. The music focuses him.

Robin D’Arcy tells us he has a mixture of music and will play certain songs depending on his mood. He mentions John Denver, and the song plays in the background with the line “take me home to the place I belong…”

Lieutenant Tom Day tell us that he will miss Christmas, so he has a lot of classical music such as Mozart in D minor, which he says is very evocative and a soaring inspiration and lament.

So the first half focused on what music meant to some soldiers, and what types of memories it gave them.

The second half focused on technology (internet, phones, MP3 players), and whether it made it easier for them while they were away, or more difficult.

We heard from Andy Asbury, who broadcasts music daily from Camp Bastion. In the background we hear a segment of BFBD radio and he tells us what the camp is like for him.

Robin D’Arcy who appeared earlier tells us that everyone has a morning tune and a typical tune would be something fast and we are told there is music always on in the gym.

We hear that over the years, phones have become more popular amongst locals so soldiers get to hear more and more Afghan music on the streets.

One soldier points out this can help break down barriers.

Adam Evans played regimental music as they went out on missions to psyche themselves up.

Doug Beattie explains that sometimes the silly or stupid songs can lift the spirit.

Patrick Hennessy tells us that on a mission, they had music loaded up in the truck, and as they were being shot at, Dolly Parton came on, which was surreal to them, but funny.

Other soldiers describe how certain songs would come on at dusk, or that they had songs they would put on at night and they would fit the mood perfectly.

Doug Beattie describes the scene when you lose a member of your platoon, and the song he best felt represented this was a song by Dylan called “Forever young”.

Sean Langan, who got kidnapped by the Taliban, and thought he was about to die, was given a radio and a classical piece he heard allowed him to accept his fate.

That song still reminds him of that kidnap.

The soldiers concluded that where songs should be reminding them of bad times in Afghanistan, most of them evoke silly moments they had.

How the documentary is tied together

The moment anyone mentions a name of a song, it appears in the documentary. Often it is played alongside audio of battles, or machine gun fire, which paints the picture pretty well.

There are audio clips throughout of Camp Bastion, soldiers on patrol, soldier being debriefed, or soldiers getting orders, bombs going off, and machine guns firing.

These are included whenever someone is describing a scene and works well beside the music clips.

Clips of orchestral music combined with battle clips work very well.

Music ties it the flow of the documentary together as well as some of the same contributors re appearing at various stages.


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