For as long as I can remember, there has been a desire to do shows from remote locations other than the studio. Outside Broadcasts (OB)!
I always had a built-in resistance to taking shows out of the specifically built broadcast environment, unless it could be entirely editorially justified. All too often the reasons for doing something remote didn’t really match up and outweigh the positives of doing the show from the studio.
For me it wasn’t that outside broadcasts were a bad idea, merely that the benefits didn’t outweigh the consequences of leaving the studio- the tech, the structure, the rationale and the consistency of the output and quality. Shows fall apart really quickly when you take away the building blocks that make them work. A bit like my post about PREP, the thinking hadn’t gone past the first link. After you have said that you are from XYZ location, what next?
This last weekend BBC Radio 1 have been live, in part, from one of my favourite places- Ibiza for the Radio 1 Dance Weekend. The last time I experienced Radio 1 in person from Ibiza it was a massively impressive event in 2018 (see below). The stage outside Cafe Mambo and Cafe Del Mar on the edge of the sea, with the sunset behind it was truly outstanding. The output too, portrayed the mood of the island, the dance culture and feeling for the target audience. The mood matched the output and visa versa.
Radio 1 captured the zeitgeist of the island really well with a LOT of guest sets from key artists. The 2018 event had guest artists on the stage in the sea as well as artists at key venues (Cafe Mambo, Ibiza Rocks Hotel, Ushuaia etc). It wasn’t just a presenter doing their show from the studio upstairs at Cafe Mambo (although they did some of that too). Go large or go home! Subsequent years have done something similar, minus the stage in the sea, but always capturing the mood and spirit and this year, folding into the wider weekend with standout moments (from Ushuaia, Mambo and Eden). Its evolved from a “lets do the regular shows from Ibiza, to something which matches the genre, music and editorial requirements.
Now its likely that the BBC can put more resource behind something like the Radio 1 weekend in Ibiza, but even without the stages, extras and impressive structures, the on air content did more than a straight, “Hey we are live from XXX” with little more to back it up, or just linking to a co-presenter saying they are paddling in the sea! Thinking about link 2 or link 3 or hour five and hour six makes all the difference. Thinking about the bigger picture, covering and ensuring you are translating what is happening into the output, creating a feeling, mood and vibe that embodies what is happening. If you are covering an event then thats fairly straightforward- the event is happening and giving you material but for something like the above in Ibiza, its harder to embody that mood. It takes effort and creative thinking, but the prep and work is worthwhile.
Now, I’m off to sample some Hierbas Ibicencas over ice.
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