The Surgery, Now Life Hacks, (BBC Radio 1). Almost everything you could want in an AQA Media Studies A Level CSP . . . until the Beeb axed it! Notes and answer/essay.

December 2019 note: This CSP has been changed to Life Hacks. This is essentially the same radio show (just with a couple of tweaks) – it even has the same presenters.

I will adapt these notes in the fullness of time but essentially all the things I say work for Life Hacks.

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I like radio.

If you are a media student you should too.

Radio is the trail-blazer of twentieth century broadcast forms of communication; it set the the format for a wide variety of media products which we spend our time thinking and writing about: Drama? Radio can do it. Comedy? Radio is a great medium. Variety? Yup. Magazine format? Zoo format? Shock Jocks? Soap operas? (named after the soap companies who sponsored the shows), in fact advertising itself (with jingles and catch-phrases and everything). Radio got it. Intimate conversations and huge spectacular productions all carried, in real time, across the airwaves to your wireless set.

Yes it’s a wireless. Not a radio (I want to bring back old words).

Not a chart but a hit parade.

Not a pop band but a popular beat combo.

Just enjoy the sentence. “I’m listening to a popular beat combo on the wireless. They are at the top of the hit parade!” By the same token it isn’t a bike, it’s a velocipede. Not a car, but an automobile.

Make it your mission to bring an old word back to life. My personal favourite is the verb “to houdinize”, as in to disappear. Coined in homage to one of the first, mass media, stars, Harry Houdini as in, “who houdinized my automobile keys?”

Radio doesn’t need huge studios and thousands of people; The BBC series “The Archers” has been running since 1950 and is the world’s longest running soap opera. Look at the studio.

On the set of The Archers, the Radio 4 programme that has been running for 57 years

A whole village is created in a little studio with some strategic sound-proofing and subtle microphone placement. Human ears are so wonderfully crap that old tape and newspaper “reads” just like straw in a barn (a squeaky ironing board makes an uncanny farm gate and the pub is a tiny table with one, water-filled, beer glass on it).

The show still has an agricultural information purpose, under the story lines and the concept works anywhere where you want to set up a cheap media product. There is even a version in Afghanistan which combines the business of being popular entertainment and spreading really important health and social  messages.

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I also like the way that radio is accessible when other media isn’t. Listen to the people sending messages in for some clues. I was driving back from Scotland one summer’s night (there’s an activity that usually precludes media consumption – driving) and I was listening to Annie Mac on Radio 1; a show that was mostly made up of dance music. There were a number of people texting in who were listening in their tractor cabs while harvesting in the middle of the night.

My earlier self has listened to radio on factory floors, while washing up in restaurants and while driving deliveries. I still listen to radio when I’m in the kitchen. Radio informs, entertains, is a companion and links the isolated and lonely to the rest of the world. It can be used to foster an illusion of intimacy (U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called his radio speeches “fireside chats”) and is often a proving ground for creative talent (just about every big U.K. comedy star has done time with BBC radio.

Radio is being given a new string to its bow through the format of the podcast. All the benefits of broadcast radio but freed from time constraints. Really cheap and easy to make and with potentially huge audiences.

Yeah. So I like radio.

I also like The Surgery.

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Or to put is more accurately I liked it. Occasionally I would hear it on a Sunday evening in the car (because the Mr G-mobile doesn’t have DAB) and I liked it as a show. It connected with the audience and seemed to have more purpose than the average R1 product. I reckon this is why the board chose it as a CSP; a fully grown public-service broadcast, with a target audience, going since 1999, an institution on an institution.

Then it got cancelled.

This is exactly why Media Studies struggles under the new reforms. I have written about it before here. Media products are often too ephemeral to be set into a curriculum.

A younger version of me, not much but a little, wrote:

“This radio show is now deader than dead. You can still visit its corpse (like a preserved communist leader) in clip form here. This is less helpful than you think as a lot of the radio-stuff (pop music and the like) is not here so it sounds just like chatter. A way to get a handle on the feel of a whole show can be found here. Listen to the use of music to glue the show to the station, the use of music beds and the use of effects.”

Now I will expand on this a bit more.

Firstly for the boring gubbins. This CSP is for Paper 1. In it you will be asked about Media Industries and Media Audiences. I have a feeling that you might be asked about it in a linked question on War of the Worlds, as they are both Radio and both for section B – but what do I know? You may well just be asked a general question about radio.

Or not. There’s too many CSPs for the paper.

Here’s what the board say about it:

 “The Surgery is an example of a transitional media product which reflects changes in the contemporary media landscape. The Surgery is both a traditional radio programme with a regular, scheduled broadcast time, but is also available online after broadcast for streaming and downloading. The broadcast itself and the accompanying website provides opportunities for audience interaction, which is central to the programme’s address to its audience. The Surgery also exemplifies the challenges facing the institution as a public service broadcaster that needs to appeal to a youth audience within a competitive media landscape.”

Media Industries.

Radio 1: Context.

Every country has popular music radio stations but nearly all are run as businesses. Advertising revenue is generated easily by a mass audience for popular music.

The U.K. has one as part of its national broadcast company which is often a cause for discussion (especially by free-marketeers): why should the BBC have a station which can clearly be supplied by the free-market?

The BBC as a Royal Charter Company:

One way the U.K. often solves a need is by allowing a private company to function as part of the state e.g. The East India Company was chartered to colonise India as a business venture and some military procurements companies become nationalised.

The BBC is still a private company but has two important features.

1: It is paid for by the T.V. License (a hypotheticated tax). i.e. a tax earmarked for a particular use. There are very few of these in the U.K. Originally it was a radio license but moved to T.V. only in 1971.

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Lady Maude Wishart’s Radio license. 1935. From 1922 to 1971 you had to have a Radio License. This paid for radio content and broadcasting,

2.:  It has a responsibility for public service.

Originally a company it became a corporation after the charter so The British Broadcasting Company became The British Broadcasting Corporation (which is still the name).

Public service broadcasting:

We often have a skewed idea about other countries as we tend to be aware of the U.K. only (or the U.S. at a pinch). Some countries have a state-backed, governmentally controlled state broadcaster. Many have adopted the U.K. approach as it devised a system and a set of values to govern it early on in the history of broadcasting so it was easy to emulate it. REMEMBER: Nearly all countries have systems to regulate broadcasters (technical and content restrictions – Livingstone and Lunt).

The U.K. model embodies the following principles:

  • Universal geographic accessibility
  • Universal appeal
  • Attention to minorities
  • Contribution to national identity and sense of community
  • Distance from vested interests
  • Direct funding and universality of payment
  • Competition in good programming rather than numbers
  • Guidelines that liberate rather than restrict

Ownership is important as it leads to changes in the values and ideologies of media companies. A PSB (public service broadcaster) is going to treat its audience differently to a commercial enterprise; as the commercial station must act as a conduit for advertising, linking the advertiser to potential consumers, which is not a PSB concern.

A little detour to explain values and ideology:

All media products have an ideological function. Think about Strictly Come Dancing.

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This is what AQA used to say about the ideological function of the show:

VALUES: 

  • Accepting external judgement
  • Responding positively to criticism
  • Overcoming adversity
  • Learning and perfecting new skills
  • Working hard
  • Learning from others
  • Being competitive
  • Being supportive of colleagues
  • Being multi skilled
  • Accepting majority opinion.

But we can go much further.

There is an ideological function to Strictly. It has beliefs/values/politics woven into it:

It ratifies celebrity culture and tells the viewer that celebrities are important.

It promotes an image of the BBC as more middle class entertainment (compared to working class ITV: The X factor and Love Island et. al.)

The racial mix on the show promotes liberal pluralism (mixed-racial pairs). Is this reflective of society, or is it tokenistic, or does it cultivate audience attitudes (Gerbner)?

The age mix (usually early on in the competition as the oldies tend to get weeded out). Again this is part of liberal pluralism. Again; is this tokenism or does it reflect the Saturday night T.V. audience?

Nostalgic: The show is based on the earlier “Come Dancing” T.V. show. It was the longest running British T.V. show, from 1949-1988, and stayed that way until everyone was completely fed up with it. The show reminds people that the BBC has a long tradition to it.

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The show’s title “Strictly Come Dancing” links the show to the 1992 Baz Luhrmann breakout film “Strictly Ballroom”.

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This, ultra-kitsch (that’s German for bad-taste but fun), film generated a huge crossover audience (lots of demographics) and so provided the BBC with a template for a post-millennial show (it first aired in 2004). Because of the film there is an appetite for the show globally and the format has been exported to over 40 countries.

Extreme ideas of western glamour are able to be presented because of the kitsch and camp packaging. If you think about the costumes the contestants wear (or don’t, it can be a bit upsetting), there are few other mainstream media products that would allow such sexualised and glamourised costumes.

The presentation of sexuality, especially through the medium of the judges, is not completely hetero-normative (even though the pairs are always heterosexual). The use of innuendo and camp safely wraps homosexuality up in the world of showbiz and panto. This does not symbolically annihilate it but it does make it safe for mainstream consumption.

So much to say! Everything has an ideological function. As Skunk Anansie sang “Yes it’s fucking political! Everything’s Political!”

Back to the Beeb.

In the 1920s and 30s fear about the power and misuse of broadcasting (moral corruption, propaganda, fifth columnists and revolution) led to a desire by the UK government for some control over radio. This is the initial reason for control (War of the Worlds is a test case).

Technical considerations were also VERY IMPORTANT (release the caps lock!): Limited radio bandwidth on the analogue SW, MW and LW frequencies (AM and FM are later developments) meant that tight controls had to be kept on who was broadcasting. Military/civil use grew through the 20th century, again restricting available bandwidth.

Effectively then the BBC became a state-sanctioned monopoly. Not part of government but part of the apparatus of the state. but it still needed some guiding principles and the person who gave it them was . . .

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BBC Director General, and man most likely to win a stare-out contest, Lord Reith.

Who was Lord Reith? What are Reithian Values?

He was the first BBC Director General. He had been a manager of the British Broadcasting Company Ltd. since 1922. He established the concept and tradition of independent public service broadcasting.

“The BBC was to “inform, educate and entertain”: Reith carefully placed the words in that order. The Latin inscription in the hallway of Old Broadcasting House, through which workers still hurry to their offices at Radios 3 and 4, translates like this: “This temple of the arts and muses is dedicated to Almighty God by the first Governors in the year of our Lord 1931, John Reith being director-general.”

Charlotte Higgins: The Guardian.

Radio 1 Context:

So BBC radio is a monopoly in the early 60s. Right in the middle to the baby-boom, post-war,  youth quake the BBC was still stuck with an outdated set of platforms and shows.

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There were challenges to this from overseas.

Radio Luxembourg broadcast to the U.K. (and the rest of Western Europe). It circumvented U.K. legal controls on advertising by simply not being in the U.K. and it broadcast mostly in English. It began broadcasting to the teenage market – Rock and Roll and Pop – from 1960 and it discovered that by moving to disc only (not live music) it could cut costs dramatically. Advertisers flocked to the station and British DJs traveled to Luxembourg to present the shows. The BBC never mentioned the station on air (as though it didn’t exist even though presenters were often heard on both stations).

Pirate Radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio London (10 in all) broadcast to the UK from 1964. These were sometimes on land but the most famous ones (like Caroline) were broadcast from old ships.

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Tony Blackburn (later the first voice on Radio 1) as a Radio Caroline DJ.

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Attempt to create a multi-media experience by an entrepreneurial print publisher.

Both of these challenges meant that control measures were ordered but how could the U.K. control a Luxembourg station? The huge number of listeners also clearly pointed to a social need that was not being fulfilled by the BBC.

Control needed to be taken, according to the government, of the radio bandwidth and of the content. Instead of trying to shut down all the stations (impossible for Radio Luxembourg) the BBC was instructed to set up a rival. In this way they would destroy the competition by stealing the audience.

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First Radio 1 Logo: Can you guess the zeitgeisty social youth movements of the time? The first one to say Hippy wins a prize!

Radio 1 launches (except not at sea like Caroline).

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Look at this picture. Most of the (all male) line-up of DJs were ex-pirates. There’s Tony Blackburn on the top left. Sitting down at the bottom right is the late, great, John Peel. The only real hippy in the rosta he would later champion punk and all things alternative and is generally regarded as the greatest radio broadcaster of all time.

The station launched in 1967 and flippin’ Tony Blackburn was the first DJ on the air playing The Move’s pop-hippy song “Flowers in the Rain.” Nearly all DJs had come from the pirate/overseas stations and so it soon had monopoly of the youth audience.

Daytime Radio 1 tended to be less about music and more about entertainment, as befitted a station where the managers had come from the world of The Light Programme.

To cut a long story short by the early 90s the audience, and the DJs had become old (Bohemian Rhapsody was the audience’s favourite track). It had lost its youth audience.

If you want to know more about this check out Simon Garfield’s amazing documentary novel “The Nation’s Favourite” which charts the decline and rise of Radio 1 in the early 90s.

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For those of you who haven’t the time to read the book (but check out the above link – it’s good) Matthew Bannister became Controller in 1993. He overhauled the presenting staff to recapture the youth market and old DJs ranted on air and stormed off into the sunset. By doing this he lost 5 million listeners (remember baby-boomer demographics) but they were old. So they didn’t count.

The re-vamped station focused on new music, finding genre champions (Trevor Nelson for soul and R and B, Tim Westwood for rap and Danny Rampling for dance music).

And now to the actual, freaking CSP! Here are some notes on the points identified by the board.

Media Industries

The board says:

  • The Surgery is a Radio 1 product and therefore has a public service status as part of the BBC.

  • Identification of funding for Radio 1 through the license fee, linked to the concept of a hypothecated tax.

We covered this in the sections above.

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Reith would approve? Reith happy! Reith Smash! Puny Station!

The board says:

“Issues around the role of a public service broadcaster – how does The Surgery reflect the need to represent the nation. Arguments over the need for addressing a youth audience already catered for commercially.

How is The Surgery different from commercial rivals?”

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An image from one of the shows which was broadcast live from King’s College London. As a radio product the show is highly portable and can go to where the audience are.

So the aim of the show is to gently educate the audience. It tends to focus on health (mental and physical) and social issues (sometimes controversial).

One of the important things you can write about is that it has no commercial rival.  There isn’t a commercial station in the U.K. that is offering a youth focused, health related, geographically total show.

The show also represents significant minority groups. Other “agony aunt” style shows have existed but none have been aimed at a youth market and none with a regular expert as a presenter.

All of this is very Reithian and you can say that the show has Reithian values.

  • Consider the programme as distinctive in its public service remit.

Remember those Reithian values again. The first one was “to educate” (in its broadest sense). The show has a clear health (mental and physical) and social mission (sometimes controversial which is proof that it is tackling the areas that need to be discussed otherwise other products would be tackling them).

There is also a mix of studio conversation and phone-in sections (evidence of “universal geographic accessibility” as well as interacitivity).

Also remember that stuff I wrote about the radio audience. The boy in his tractor cab (who I’m going to use as an example here) has probably only got BBC stations to choose from (there are very few UK wide FM stations and outside towns and cities the number drop off fast) and only one radio station that plays music he finds appealing. He is probably going to listen to the show even if he initially doesn’t think the subject material is interesting. As time goes on he finds the conversation interesting (there’s also the occasional piece of music to up the entertainment value) and by the end of the show he’s enjoyed it and feels he’s learned something as well. This is PSB.

  • The influence of new technology on media industries – The Surgery as multi – platform media product.

The show started in 1999 (with Sara Cox as the presenter- very Northern, laddette, and audience-approachable) so it had a really long run for a non-music focused programme. The board wants you to look at the way the show utilised its own webpage to allow access to episodes, clips, galleries and the such.

The show also embraced a variety of methods for the audience to interact with the show (phone, email, text and Twitter). In the end though this was the reason for the show’s demise. The youth audience began going to YouTube for advice on topics such as sexuality or mental health.

YouTube creates another form of the illusion of intimacy (and interactivity) and it also feels like a more modern medium. Unfortunately, whilst it is not time limited, it loses some accessibility (radio is cheaper and more portable – you can also listen while otherwise engaged) and there is a segregation issue; you are less likely to stumble onto a subject and have to persevere with a show if it is not your choice. In this way media choice actually leads to a more homogeneous (same thing) media diet.

While the show ran it used its multi-platform approach to build a relationship between the audience and the producer. The illusion of intimacy is important here but so too is the concept of the parasocial relationship (where we have emotional and psychological connections to people we never meet). This is a feature of all media and has a profound effect on the way we feel, think and behave. The only examples of this, before media forms such as printing, were religious (“I know that Jesus loves me”) and there are plenty of psychologists who think that the human brain is not really able to cope with people who aren’t actually present with us.

You might also want to write about the way that later shows were shaped by audience interactions from previous weeks which gives the audience a sense of ownership and control over the product.

Media Audiences

  • The Surgery is reflective of the way the industry targets niche audiences and provides an opportunity to consider industry regulation and the availability of new technology shapes audience targeting and response.

Lots of this should be second nature and you should easily be able to write about the key demographics targeted by the show. (There is a note on demographics below).

The interactivity of the show helps to develop a feedback loop whereby the audience creates itself and shapes its own reactions (the idea of a community of listeners).

The audience is niche in that it is young with young-people’s concerns (a small, but significant, group). There are plenty of media products where young people’s music is consumed by an older audience (popular music is a way to signal youthfulness) but these audiences are not expected to share youth preoccupations (the middle-aged Dad audience of Top Gear might be listening to drum and bass as a car screeches by but they probably aren’t very worked up about fresher’s week fears).

  • What techniques does the broadcast use to target a youth audience?

The first thing you need to look at is the range of subjects the show tackles/tackled (I keep on getting myself in a tense muddle – better stick to the present as it is supposed to be a current CSP). Look at the episode list on the webpage.

How many of the topics push the show into areas which appeal to the target demographic (Teens to 25)?

Also look at the choice of presenters and experts.

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From The BBC page: Feeling under pressure and stressed? Gemma, Mim and Dr Radha are here to help. Get top advice on coping with exam stress from GCSE survivors The Mind Set and everyone’s favourite teacher, Mr Burton from Educating Yorkshire.

The presenters act as an intermediary between the audience and the experts but it’s a bit more subtle than that. If you listen to some clips it can sometimes be difficult to tell immediately who is the expert and who is the presenter. This is because there is a lot of code switching going on. This means that the experts are trying to sound approachable and unthreatenting. They pick up on the language cues of the presenters and so their language is a better fit with the audience. The presenters also use some technical language that they pick up from the experts so it blends together in a way that appeals to the audience. If you want to be super technical here you can call this demotic language (of the people – informal).

Interspersed with the discussions are pop music bits. If you go to the only full show available you can hear, at 19 minutes in, the way the show segues from topic to pop. Sometimes it is linked to theme, other times it is the choice of a guest or audience member. Either way the music links the show back to the whole of Radio 1 as a station with its emphasis on the popular aspect of pop music and the way music is intertwined with youth culture.

You should also develop notes on the presenters looking at them in terms of their identity and representation. R1 has come a long way from that all, white male DJ line-up in 1967 (also note the shift from DJs to presenters – the actual playing of music is now done electronically and can be done by the production team instead of the person presenting the show).

If you listen to the show you can hear that it uses all the techniques of popular radio to make the show appealing. Discussions happen over sound beds which affect the tone of the show (changing its emotional impact). There are also sound effects and clips which help the show feel more pacy, entertaining and less worthy.

One of the other things you will notice is the way the show builds on those parasocial relationships I mentioned before. Celebrity culture exists because of this (there’s a little game I play with one of my classes where I show them celeb chins and they have to guess who they are. They usually do really well. Then we think about what a mind-fuck this is. Why has your brain used the memory structures that would have processed leaf shapes and hoof prints to recognise people that you have never met?). Celebrity culture is therefore part of a shared language and landscape between the show and the audience. The presenters regularly reference media celebrities (often in a way which gives the presenter a similar status to the audience rather than the star – they rarely show off about the people that they have met, if they do mention such things they give the impression of being a star-struck ordinarybod rather than a media-type).

  • Consider the way that external factors – such as demographics and psychographics – are likely to also affect audience response and produce differing interpretations

I really should make sure that you know the difference between demographics and psychographics.

Demographics are one of the oldest ways of segmenting up an audience. What demographics does is start to split people up into groups. The first is gender. The next is age; clearly when we are thinking about The Surgery age is a really important audience consideration.

Demographics were originally invented for media producers, like advertisers, to clearly target their products and when it was invented, in the 60s, class and education were huge social divides. If you want to gain a perspective on it look at this sketch from 1966.

Demographics divided thusly:

A: Upper class: The aristocracy, business magnates, judges, MPs and the like. Oxbridge types. The top 1% of the country.

B : Upper middle class professionals. Professional here means that someone needs to have a degree level education: Executives, legal and medical people, Those in the upper 10% not in A.

C1: Lower middle class professionals: Teachers, administrators, line managers and junior professionals. The next 15% down.

C2: Skilled working class: Those who did not require a higher level of academic education but need training, plumber, electrician, mechanic, nurse, secretary. A good 35% of the country.

D: Unskilled working class. No training required. Manual workers. In old parlance “hands.” Another 30%, or more, of the U.K.

E: Subsistence: Casual workers and the unemployed. The bottom few percent.

Each group was also divided by wealth. Except that even in the 60s it wasn’t. Bs often out-earned As (aristocrats often ran out of money). New ways of making money based on merit, like the new media industries could propel C and D people beyond the wildest dreams of the As (think The Beatles or David Bailey).

These days a footballer (not a professional in the old sense) can out-earn a whole small town and C2 individuals can easily out-earn C1s.

Demographics survived because the media and consumption habits of people were often firmly linked to their education; so ABC1 was often used to create a super-target group (BBC2 if you will) and C2D an even bigger group (The Sun).

Nobody bothered with the Es ‘cos they didn’t have any money.

In the 1990s psychographic segmentation was invented to fill in for the deficiencies in demographics. What psychographics built on was the fact that some consumption habits did not break down easily on class and income lines. Two people might have very different backgrounds but both read The Guardian for example.

These brackets included:

Mainstreamers: The bulk of the population. They like being like everyone else. Favourite baked bean? Heinz. Always Heinz.

Aspirers: Often younger. Want to achieve but also want to be seen doing it. A bit flash. Like branding. Favourite baked bean? Fornum and Mason’s Gourmet baked beans or Heinz five beans at a pinch.

Reformers: Want to make the world a better place. Favourite baked bean? They make their own Boston beans at home from scratch or buy organic, reduced salt beans if they must.

Succeeders: The top of the pile. They have made it and don’t need to try anymore. Favourite baked bean? “I don’t know, what is it that Esteban makes?” Or Waitrose own brand.

Strugglers: Those just getting by. Favourite baked bean? Asda Smart Price.

The Resigned: Those not getting by. Favourite baked bean? Anything dented or in the food bank.

How does this help us? Young people are, in their teens, not demographically segmented (they haven’t got far enough in life). Those in their early 20s are though. The Surgery has to aim at a wide audience to fulfill its public service remit so it must be appealing enough to C2 and D listeners (with a few C1s thrown in). This crosses the old university education line but during the late 80s and 90s there was a surge in uni-student numbers and the old degree barrier came down.

With regard to psychographics young people tend to be more aspirers and reformers than mainstreamers. They tend to want to be successful and they want the world to be a better place than it was before. Both of these tendencies come into play in The Surgery. Aspirers – want a better life personally (a small group for each show – as this requires a personal connection with the topic – or larger for some topics than others). Reformers feel that listening to the show makes them a better person, it gives them understanding, and therefore makes the world a better place.

The content of the show is appropriate to the life changes during late teens and early twenties. Remember by 25 the station wants listeners to go elsewhere otherwise it isn’t fulfilling its “youth” remit.

  • Consider the opportunities for audience interaction and self-representation

The show uses audience phone-in and guest slots. The audience shapes the show through letters, emails, texts and phone calls (text and email are the most used forms).

Some people are phoned back as part of the show to speak to in more depth. The audience becomes part of the show in a more significant way than most radio (games, quizzes etc.).

  • cultivation theory including Gerbner

This is the way there is a cultivation of audience attitudes to health and mental health conversations. The show aims to progressively move the discourse on with regard the issues it tackles and it changes the way discourse develops around what were, previously, taboo subjects.

  • reception theory including Hall

Because of the placement of music there is negotiated reading of music tracks. Music takes on a significance due to inclusion within show segments. This helps to build some signification anchors for re-reading of song content. Listen to the show and find an example.

Some individuals feel close, personal, attachment to the subject of the week’s show. Thus they read the show differently to a non-involved listener.

Social and cultural contexts

  • The Surgery reflects an acceptance of diversity and a degree of openness in contemporary culture around personal, social and identity issues.

Gebner – Cultivation (again)!

The show can be linked to a trend exmplified by other, later, media products which feature introspection and self-reflexivity; television shows about mental health etc.

There is also the the fact that British pop music has had a huge impact on the cultivation of attitudes about sexuality (and had an impact beyond our shores).  As the home of glam-rock and new-romantics this country fostered a music industry with sexual grey areas which eventually allowed openly gay stars to come out to the audience. This is all quite recent though. I often tell my classes that when I was a kid there were only two out musicians (Marc Almond and Jimmy Somerville). Elton was married, George Michael was closeted, Boy George said he was celibate and Freddie Mercury didn’t answer questions. Even post millennium stars like Stephen Gately, from Boyzone, hid their sexuality. It is only very recently that someone like Rita Ora can openly discuss her bisexuality and not fear losing her fanbase.

Because music helped bring about this social change there is a natural home for discussion of this sort of material therefore on Radio 1.

Exemplar answers:

Identify three new technology strategies that producers use to shape audience targeting and response in radio. Explain one benefit of each strategy. Each of the benefits should be different. [6 marks]

 

Strategy 1/Benefit 1

Producers can use social media, such as Twitter, along with email and text to add an immediacy to audience response developed from the old media form of the phone-in. In this way the audience, of say The Surgery, can shape the discussions on the show and even the topics of later shows.

Strategy 2/Benefit 2

Producers can use a webpage to act as a home for key clips to be played and for episodes to be downloaded. In this way they break the time limiting factor of radio and hit more of their target audience.

Strategy 3/Benefit 3

Through both the broadcasting of a public service show, such as The Surgery, and its dedicated webpage producers can provide links to relevant services, such as the BBC Advice helpline and other services, which are of interest to the target audience. In this way they act as a multi-platform product.

Using your understanding of Media Industries explain why the BBC produced The Surgery on Radio 1? [9 marks]

(This should be no more than 300 words).

The BBC has a public service broadcasting remit and aims to “educate, inform and entertain.” Radio One also, since its inception in 1967, has a remit to target a youth audience, partially to curb the appetite for pirate radio.

Because the BBC has Reithian Values (named after Lord Reith; the first Director General) many BBC products have wide education aims. The Surgery aims to promote understanding of health and social issues among its audience of teenagers and people in their early 20s. In order to do this it uses the format of Radio 1s other products in order to build an engaging, and popular, show. By using engaging presenters and experts, using accessible and demotic language, sound beds and regular music breaks the show does not feel out of place on the station (by running from 1999 until November 2017 the show proved its popularity).

Another reason for the producer’s decision to create the product is the hypotheticated tax the BBC has through the T.V. license fee. This is collected across the country and means that it is compelled to create content with the widest possible reach. The Surgery is not only available to the target audience across the country but by being on radio, is available to people otherwise engaged in work or travel and by being multi-platform is available outside of time constraints.

The final reason the BBC produced the show is to cultivate audience attitudes towards the topics of discussion. This fits with Gerbner’s concepts of audience behaviour. By producing this show the broadcaster aims to open up discussion of topics which resonate with the target audience who are often on the reforming end of the psychographic spectrum.


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