This policy book is designed to aid the personnel at KXRJ-FM 91.9Mhz in understanding station operation. It is designed to answer questions on station operation and procedures. This book contains various facets of station policy and operation, and should be consulted when conditions need or warrant. This policy book is intended to improve communication within the station and improve the general quality of the station as a whole. Any questions concerning the policy book should be referred to the Station Manager. The latest update to this manual can be found on-line. A link is located on the Desktop of each computer at KXRJ.
All broadcasts on KXRJ are subject to the policies of this book, even programs that are not listed or named specifically in this book.
General Information about KXRJ
KXRJ is owned, operated and licensed to the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Tech University. The KXRJ license was granted by the Federal Communications Commission in 1985. This license was renewed in 2004.
KXRJ is a non-commercial, non-profit, educational broadcast facility. The station is also operated as an instructional facility for the Arkansas Tech University Department of Journalism.
KXRJ’s mission is to provide news, educational programming, non-main stream music and information to the University and surrounding communities.
Voice: (479) 964-0806
Fax: (479) 498-6024
KXRJ Remote/TV6 Fax: (479) 968-0641
Studios and Offices: Witherspoon 366
Russellville, AR 72801
All policies are subject to change by the Director of Broadcasting.
Maintaining a consistent format for KXRJ is important. KXRJ serves a listening area of 40 to 50 thousand. It is necessary to maintain a stable offering of music, news and other programs.
It is not permitted to change elements of the format of the station log without the approval of the Director of Broadcasting.
KXRJ’s format includes, but is not limited to:
Automation Midnight to 5:00 p.m.
Alternative Music 5:00 p.m. to Midnight
Rules of Conduct
KXRJ is a FCC licensed, functioning on-air broadcast radio station. DJ’s and their guests are expected to behave in an orderly, responsible manner at all times.
Always be cautious when entering the studios, you never know when a microphone might be on.
Be careful of what you say even in the outer rooms of the studio, if you speak loud enough what you say could be heard on the air
Never distract the DJ. The DJ on the air is fully empowered to order anyone to leave the control room at any time.
Obscenity and Profanity are NOT permitted in the studios and offices of KXRJ, nor are they allowed in ANY programming. This is a practical matter and necessary to protect and maintain our license and our authority to operate. This is a matter of Federal (FCC) law. If material or language is questionable at all, do NOT broadcast it over the air, do NOT say it over the air and do NOT bring it into the station. This includes even the most mild profanity or loathe.
Failure to report any violation of ANY station rule, policy or regulation is grounds for dismissal, disciplinary action, or (in some cases) criminal prosecution. The “rat on your friend rule” applies even to witnesses who were not an active party in the violation.
Sexual references are not allowed on KXRJ, actual or implied.
FCC required, legal station ID's will be given between 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the Top of the Hour (TOH). This is not an optional thing.
The first show of the evening will not begin until after the TOH time announcement has been given by DRS.
The final evening show must end by 11:59:30pm and control given back to DRS so the full legal ID can run before the midnight hour. This midnight ID is an FCC requirement and is not the standard TOH ID. If a show has been scheduled after midnight, it may begin after the full ID, time announcement and National Anthem have played. There is a 5 second break after the National Anthem and the automation music beginning on DRS.
Do not air any questionable matter of any kind. Do not hint at any questionable matter. Do not play any prerecorded material (CD’s, tapes, carts, mini-discs, mp3’s, etc.) that contains any questionable material. Do not bring any CD, tape, mini-disc, mp3, LP, etc. that has questionable material to the station (even if you do not plan to play it). Any selections that are acceptable that happen to be on questionable CD’s should be transferred to another media to play on the air.
Any violation of KXRJ policies may result in disciplinary action by the Office of Student Affairs as defined in the Arkansas Tech University Student Handbook, or by the office of Academic Affairs.
Back Timing Music Tracks
Back timing is a process whereby you check the clock on the wall to determine how much time is left for your show.
You then pick a song track that will run SHORTER than the time allowed. If necessary, fill with chatter before and after the song so you get your show sign off comments and station ID completed before the top of the hour (TOH).
Remember, everybody gets just 60 minutes so don’t encroach on your relief’s minutes to get that last, long track in. Save it for another day and give them their full time.
Allowed Music Media
You may play any music that you OWN provided that it falls within the guidelines stated in this Policy Book. We understand you may want to burn copies of songs you own in order to pre-produce your show. This is perfectly OK, but if you are playing a "burned" CD, you must have with you the ORIGINAL, LEGALLY PURCHASED, SILK SCREENED CD's as well.
The use of downloaded (legal or otherwise) music is not allowed except for some "indie" bands whose website clearly states their music is free for any use INCLUDING BROADCAST and is otherwise not available for sale through commercial channels.
The use of an MP3 player, computer or connection to a music streaming website is not permitted for on air use. Besides, we have not provided a connection for such devices anyway. This is just a warning not to mess with the station wiring.
No more than two (2) guests in the radio station at any given time, unless there is permission from the Director of Broadcasting, Station Manager or Chief Engineer.
Guests cannot be heard on the air unless they have been trained, or permission is obtained as outlined above.
The on air DJ is responsible, both legally and academically, for the behavior and actions of their guests or anyone in the station.
Occasionally visitors come into the Station. Sometimes University personnel accompany these people; sometimes they wander in on their own. Either way, we need to be friendly to all that come in to the Station. They could be future DJ’s.
a. If someone unknown to you enters the Station, smile, be friendly and find out what they want or need. They may be lost, meeting someone, or on tour to see if they want to come to Tech.
b. In all cases, keep an eye on people that you do not know. If they are removing or abusing property call security.
The DJ who is on the air is responsible for the security of the whole station. If you encounter a suspicious situation, threatening phone calls, e-mail, a visitor who will not leave, or a any other emergency call the Tech Police at #222 (that's the pound sign and 2-2-2) or dial 968.0222 from your cell phone.
Should no one answer at the direct number, or if you get voice mail, call the non-emergency Russellville Police number 890-6914.
Should the need arise; call 911 directly in the event of an emergency.
Broadcast practicum is a chance for you to gain practical work experience in the field of radio.
You are required to work in some production capacity for the Radio Station in order to fill requirements for this class (you could also do this for television). You must work for 2 to 2 ½ hours one day per week at one of the University’s broadcast outlets. You must select a radio shift in order to complete the requirements for this course. There are numerous times during the week where these shifts can be met.
If you are enrolled in a broadcast practicum you will be assigned a folder that you must fill out and return to the Director of Broadcasting by the end of the semester.
Dismissal from the station for any reason will result in failure (F) or an incomplete (I) grade at the discretion of the Director of Broadcasting.
Every aspect of the operation of the station and broadcast production will be taught to those in Broadcast Practicum by the staff of KXRJ or by the Director of Broadcasting.
All management must attend a weekly meeting with the Director of Broadcasting.
This meeting will be held at a time and location determined by the Director of Broadcasting.
Management can obtain academic credit for Editorial Conference.
Do not remove station property from the station without permission from the Director of Broadcasting, Chief Engineer and/or the Station Manager.
Recordings are not to be removed from the station without written consent and a written record from either the Director of Broadcasting or the Station Manager.
Removal of station property without permission may result in student disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.
Abuse of station property will result in student disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.
If you make a mess, clean it up. You are responsible for the cleanliness of the station when you are on the air, even if you did not make the mess.
Food and drink are not allowed in the Control Room or the Production Room however, they are allowed in the Newsroom and in the front sitting area. Food and drink containers will be disposed of immediately following their use. Do not dispose of uneaten food in the KXRJ trash containers; instead dispose of it in the hallway trash containers. Failure to follow this rule may result in the removal of food and drink privileges.
Tobacco of any kind is not allowed in the studios or the main lobby area of KXRJ. Arkansas law requires that all state buildings be tobacco free. Please dispose of it before entering the building.
In order to maintain a neat appearance of the station, Friday will be cleanup day, Station Management will dispose of any items left in the station (clothing, CD’s, dishes, etc.). Be sure to take out what you bring in, it can and will save you much frustration later.
Please make sure your own personal hygiene is up to par so that working in this close area is a pleasurable experience.
Smoking is not allowed in the radio station for any reason. KXRJ is a closed environment; smokers should refrain from smoking 30 minutes prior to coming into the station as to not cause discomfort to their co-workers. Shifts are 2 hours or less. Leaving the station unattended for a smoke break, during your shift, is unacceptable.
Smokeless (spit less) tobacco is not allowed in the studios of KXRJ.
Be aware of your oral hygiene; if you eat spicy food before coming to the studio, please be conscious of your breath.
Excessive perfume or cologne can also be unappealing in a closed studio environment.
Proper attire is to be worn at all times while in the station. KXRJ is required to follow OSHA rules for proper clothing. Shirts and shoes are to be worn at all times (Yes, other clothing too!) whether working or visiting the station.
Meeting Assigned Shifts
It is very important that all shift commitments are met. Do not miss your shift.
If you cannot make your shift, it is your duty to find a replacement. Usually you can find a volunteer list of people willing to fill in on shifts. It is also advisable to help fill in shifts when someone is in need. It never hurts to generate a little good will.
If you cannot find a replacement for your shift, then and only then contact the Station Manager (in person) or the Director of Broadcasting and try to coordinate a replacement for your shift. Do not leave voice or e-mail messages for failure to find a replacement.
Be on time for all shifts. Being on time means to arrive at the station at least 10 minutes before your shift, or if you have a class before your shift, then immediately after the class dismisses. If you have a class before your shift, be sure to let the DJ before you know so they will know when to expect you.
Do not be late for your shift. If you absolutely cannot get to your shift on time (10 minutes before), or if you are running late, notify the individual you are replacing as soon as possible by telephone. The Station telephone number is 964-0806.
Unexcused absence or failure to be at your assigned shift will result in a letter grade reduction and/or the loss of your shift.
Log Jay, a computer-based audio logging program, is now part of an overall radio automation system from the Italian software company Win Jay. Log Jay takes the off-the-air signal from KXRJ and records the audio to a computer hard drive in near CD quality with real-time date and time continuously recorded with the audio.
Log Jay allows Station Management to review any program in just seconds. Log Jay allows the user to specify, the day, hour, minute and second to replay. These audio logs are maintained for an extended period of time before being deleted to make room for more.
You may request from Station Management, a copy of your on-air shift should it become necessary for things such as an air-check or resume tape. This request will be forwarded to the Chief Engineer who will make the CD and notify you when it can be picked up. The files are large, typically a standard CD-R will hold about 8 hours of programming.
These recordings are made in one-hour blocks. So, if you wanted a copy of your 7:30p – 9:00p show, you would receive 3 files that included the 7:00p, 8:00p and 9:00p logs. If your shift was from 9:00p to 10:30p, you would receive files for 8:00p, 9:00p and 10:00p. Log Jay may not start recording at the top of each hour, as we try to insure that it does not start at any standard shift change.
In conjunction with Log Jay, Station Management will conduct random air checks of all DJ’s.
During the first month of each semester, each DJ will have a one-on-one consultation with a member of Management where portions of your on-air shift(s) will be played and critiqued. This procedure will also take place again near the end of the semester, or as determined by Management or an Administrator.
Items that will be checked are:
· News Reading
Do you phrase sentences correctly
Do your newscasts contain the necessary elements (Tech, Local, Weather, Sports)
Do you present the news without editorial comment or unnecessary voice inflections
Do you pronounce words properly, especially those that are heard regularly elsewhere
Do you have problems with a particular word (Buerkle, Agricola, Crabaugh)
· On-Air Persona
Are you aware of how you sound to the general public when on the air
· Music Content
Are you following the guidelines set out elsewhere in this Policy Manual
Are you following the guidelines set out elsewhere in this Policy Manual
Logs and Logging Procedures
It is mandatory to air all programs, PSA’s, promos, and news as logged. It is not up to the discretion of individual operators (DJ’s) to run or not to run a logged item.
All items will be aired as logged, and all items will run at the proper times.
On occasion you may fail to run a program element because of equipment failure. In the case of a failure to air, correct the log. Draw a line through the unaired item, initial the item, and date the item. Do NOT blot or scribble out the item. If you replace it with another program or PSA, write it down.
You may however, add promos and PSA’s to the log to enhance programming elements. Make sure to write down on the program log what elements you’ve added and when.
Time all music and other programs so that the news can begin at exactly the top of the hour. The only exception is when classical music programming runs long. Gauge your time by the clock on the Stinger.
News during the Rock and Jazz shifts should be timed exactly with the top of the hour; do not start early or late.
Program and Transmitter logs must be kept accurately and should be checked every two hours, and before and after every shift.
While you are on the air you must maintain two logs -- the transmitter log and the
program log. These are legal documents and must conform to FCC guidelines.
If there is a mistake on one of the logs you filled out, the Program Director will put a note on the bulletin board next to the Control Room to tell you what you need to do.
Find the log correction folder, located on the news desk, correct the error and return the log to the folder.
Initial next to your name on the bulletin board when you fix your errors. Have someone from Management sign off that you have fixed the error.
Please make all corrections on a timely basis.
KXRJ computers are for staff use only. Guests (including boy/girl friends) are not allowed to use the computers.
Do not make any changes to settings or configurations to the computers. If you feel that something needs to be fixed, contact the Station Manager.
Do not load software of any type on the station computers without direct permission from the Chief Engineer.
You may check your e-mail on these computers using any web-based e-mail only. Do not use Outlook.
AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, or other messengers programs are NOT to be installed on any KXRJ computer.
If there is a problem with any of the machines, contact the Station Manager who will contact the Chief Engineer, if necessary.
The Stinger is equipped with a touch screen. Use only your fingers when using the touch screen. Do not use pens, stylus or any other foreign object to use the touch screen. The mouse can be used in place of the touch screen. Absolutely no other programs will be run on this machine. No web surfing, messaging, playing of CD’s or e-mail checking – PERIOD. Usage can, and will be tracked on this machine. Violators will be removed from the station.
The DRS-2006 is to be used only for broadcast automation. Absolutely no other programs will be run on this machine. No web surfing, messaging, playing of CD’s or e-mail checking – PERIOD. Usage can, and will be tracked on this machine. Violators will be removed from the station. Typically, the DRS machine will only be used by trained staff.
(Power Failure Situation)
KXRJ operation is fully backed up by an propane-powered, emergency generator located on the roof of Witherspoon. Should a storm or other event kill commercial power to the campus or Witherspoon, our emergency generator will immediately start. The sequence of events is as follows:
Upon detection of a loss of commercial power, a relay will drop out in the generator control panel. During the few seconds required to start the generator and place it on line, several UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) will take the load of everything critical to KXRJ except for the transmitter itself.
When the generator is up to speed, it will take over the load, put the KXRJ transmitter back on line and cause the Control Room UPS unit to begin recharging their batteries. During this time, the remaining UPS units are un-powered and will continue to beep - this is normal.
At this point, none of the overhead lighting will be in operation. You should turn on the wall-mounted, 3-lamp fixture between DRS and the CD players. These lights are not intended to be use for normal operation, so they are to remain off except in an emergency situation.
When the power is restored, the following should happen:
The overhead lighting will return.
After a few minutes, to insure the power is stable, you will need to turn off the emergency lights. Again, these are not intended for normal operation.
Just stay calm and continue your programming as best you can. Of course, you can comment on the fact that KXRJ is on the air using emergency power. If you suspect the outage is due to weather, keep your listeners updated on any Watches or Warnings that come in via the EAS 911 printer and announcements.
Until the Nuclear Planning and Response group (which owns the generator) puts a "delay" in the generator control panel, you could encounter several outages before either losing power for a period of time, or it will eventually stay on. This is not a good situation, but they are working on the problem.
The EAS 911 monitor is located to the left of the radio operator in the control room. It is near the modulation monitor. EAS stands for Emergency Alert System. The Emergency Alert System is used to warn the public about emergency situations. There is normally no operator intervention necessary as all weekly tests are done automatically.
EAS 911 Control and Monitor Panels
In the event of a fire in the Witherspoon Building, do NOT announce there is a fire over the air.
If you have time:
Tell the listeners that we are experiencing “technical difficulty” and you will temporarily be off the air.
Place the automation system on line.
Exit the building.
If you do not have time:
Say a Station ID (This is KXRJ-FM 91.9 in Russellville).
Exit the building.
If you have no time:
Exit the building immediately.
Make sure meter levels stay near 0 on the VU Meter. Make sure the program (PGM) meters located on the far left hand side of the control console do not read too low (in the mud) or too high (in the red).
Way to LOW Correct Way to Hot
Readings in the red are okay if it only PEAKS into the red. If readings are in the red for long periods, the signal will distort.
Some music often has a low VU output; therefore, it is often necessary to adjust the level up some on soft points (at least to –5 VU (60)) and to bring down the level again on stronger points. Do not just “let the recording run,” monitor it regularly.
The Larcan FM250W Transmitter is running at 125w according to the Wattmeter at the top of the rack and by seven (7) green LED's illuminated to the marker. Transmitter wattage should never read above 130 or below 120. If wattage exceeds 130, notify management.
Microphones and Headphones
KXRJ uses highly directional microphones. Be sure to speak directly into the FRONT of the microphone and not on the top or sides.
All radio operators will wear headphones when using a microphone. No exceptions.
On-Air Modulation Monitor
We now monitor the transmitter output signal on all speakers in KXRJ through the on-air Modulation Monitor. The modulation monitor is located to the left of the board in the cabinet with the EAS 911 equipment. Normal operation requires that the thumb switches be set at “115” and both RED pushbuttons depressed.
The Modulation Monitor
If you do not hear KXRJ on air programming, verify the AIR push buttons on the upper left of the console are depressed, your monitor and headphone level pot settings are near the 12 O'clock position, then check that the input has the top green (PGM) button depressed, the slide is mid-way up and the green push button below the slide is illuminated.
There are typically two conditions that will cause the Carrier Alarm indication to be illuminated and the alarm beeping.
1) In the event that the KXRJ transmitter goes off the air, the following items will give you an immediate indication of this:
1. No program audio will be heard through:
a. any wall-mounted speakers
b. any headphones
2. No movement of the Modulation Monitor meter (not the console meters).
3. The red Carrier Alarm LED will be illuminated as indicated above.
4. An beeping alarm sound will be heard from the Modulation Monitor.
The most likely reason for an off-air situation is an alarm condition on the transmitter. Make sure to log the alarm indicator(s) that are illuminated. There is an Alarm Log on the bottom sheet of the transmitter log clipboard. Make sure the date, time and indicators are properly logged, and then initial your entry.
2) In the event that you still hear KXRJ programming through the station speakers or headphones but the Carrier Alarm is going off and the red LED is illuminated, you are in an under power situation. Notify the Chief Engineer of this situation.
Otherwise, use the Equipment Problem on-line form to notify Engineering so that the problem can be addressed during the next work day. This form can be found at: http://kxrj.atu.edu/eq-form.htm on any computer.
In the past portable radios have been used to monitor KXRJ. These will no longer be necessary, or allowed in the station, as they may actually receive the “exciter” signal and not the true transmitter output. This would give the impression that KXRJ is still broadcasting when it might be off the air.
KXRJ Important Phone Numbers
Anthony Caton 964-3282
Christie White 968-0347
Pat (Journalism) 964-0890
TV6 Newsroom 964-0810
Tommy Mumert 968-0284
Arka-Tech & Agricola 968-0390
Sports Information 968-0645
Alumni Office 968-0242
Ardith Morris (Theatre) 964-0805
Tech Operator 968-0389
Tech Police 968-0222
Time and Temperature 968-2789
FEMA Radio Network 1-800-323-5248
U.S. Department of Education 1-800-424-0214
National Institute of Health 1-800-633-3425
American Cancer Society 1-800-276-6397
KARV Radio 968-1184 FAX 967-5278
River Valley Radio 968-6816 FAX 968-2946
The Courier 968-5252 FAX 968-4037
City of Russellville
St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center 968-2841
Dardanelle Hospital 968-2480
KXRJ’s phone number is 964-0806. The FAX number is 498-6024.
All personal phone calls are limited to three (3) minutes.
Always answer the telephone by saying:
“KXRJ, this is _____(your name)_____ speaking.”
No live phone calls are allowed on KXRJ, except those that are approved by the Chief Engineer or the Director of Broadcasting.
Do not accept collect calls for any reason (unless authorized by the Station Manager or the Director of Broadcasting).
Do not give out any DJ phone numbers to non-station personnel. If the caller needs to speak to that person, take a message and call that person yourself. Then give them the number of the calling party to return the call if they so desire.
All music must be finished before the top of the hour (i.e. hh:59:59) because the clock on the Stinger will automatically broadcast the current time at the top of every hour. Always make sure that the DRS (delegation switch #2 for Control #7) is set in the PROGRAM position with the pot set to the 12 o’clock position so the level will be correct, then start the hourly news intro.
DJ’s with closing shifts are required to end their programs by 23:58:30 or 11:58:30 p.m. to ensure that the DRS is running properly.
a. If you use PSA’s to pad for time (e.g. to fill in the gap between your music and the top of the hour), make sure to write them in the Program Log.
b. Weather can also be used to pad for time.
The DRS 2006 Computer Interface
DRS 2006 is the station automation system that is used to control KXRJ overnight as well as on weekends. To prepare for the change to/from live to automation, there are several very critical steps that must be taken for this to happen. These must be completed no later than 11:58:30pm.
Preparing for DRS automation
You can close out your program and start DRS in a very smooth operation, much like starting another CD, playing a Stinger cut or Cart. Make sure that the DRS Control #5, Selector #2 is pushed and the slider pushed up to the "stop" position so the level will be correct.
The DRS On Air Radio Studio Pro should already be running so that the station ID will run at 59:45, the time will be announced and then music will begin again. At this point, you can leave the Control Room, sign your logs and prepare to leave the station.
If, for some reason, the above does NOT happen, contact a member of station management immediately. Do NOT leave until the problem has been corrected. Technically, you are not relived of your on-air shift until the DRS is functioning properly. This includes hearing the station ID on the air.
Preparing for Live DJ operation
At 59 minutes, 45 seconds after the hour, the current music will fade and the Station ID will play. Once the ID and Time announcement are completed, lower the DRS (Channel #6) slide and begin live programming.
If DRS is NOT ready for LIVE operation
If you have any problems, pot down DRS and resume normal programming. Contact Station Management for assistance to correct the problem.
DRS has been running KXRJ since May 2004 and appears to be pretty robust and reliable, but tampering with (changing settings) may cause major scheduling and operational problems. The DRS computer is NOT to be used for any function other than station automation – PERIOD.
Remote Broadcasts / Planned
Before any remote broadcasts are scheduled, approval must be granted by first the Station Manager then the Director of Broadcasting.
Under no circumstances are live call-in calls allowed on the air for any reason without prior approval from the Director of Broadcasting.
The remote broadcast phone is not to be used for any outgoing or incoming calls except for authorized remote broadcasts, nor is it’s number to be given out to anyone for any reason.
In emergency situations, where a remote or live phone call is necessary, contact the Director of Broadcasting or Chief Engineer.
How to activate a Remote broadcast
When the remote broadcast phone rings, answer it.
Once suitable communications are established, turn on the Gentner. (This will disconnect the phone.)
Push Input 8, selector #2 (remote) on the control surface. This will allow the remote to hear whatever is currently on the program bus.
Press the "Mix -" button above each slider that will be necessary for remote user to hear what's on the air. DO NOT activate the "Mix -" button on the slider that controls the Phone Remote or feedback will occur.
The KXRJ music format is not subject to changes. Music programming can only be changed with the consent of the Director of Broadcasting. The music format is designed to meet the requirements of FCC licensing. The music format is also designed to offer programming not readily available to the community from other stations.
Any music taken from the library should be returned at the end of every shift.
Do not leave albums, mini-disks, or CD’s on the floor or scattered about the control room.
Rock/Alternative music is selected by the on-air personality. Top 40 or other contemporary hits are not appropriate. Unless, the contemporary hits have been off the charts for five (5) years. You can certainly play artists with hits, but not the particular songs that have been on the charts.
When in doubt about the music, do not play it.
No MP3’s are allowed to air on KXRJ unless approved by station management. Music that could be allowed with prior approval from station management would be music from new bands that have yet to release a CD. If this is to be used, a website link must accompany your request so it can be checked by station management.
If you want to “pre-produce” your show onto a single CD, you are REQUIRED to have the ORIGINAL; SILK SCREENED (painted) CD in your possession while playing your copies on KXRJ. Music that has been downloaded or ripped from friends CD’s are not authorized to be played on KXRJ due to rigid copyright laws. If caught doing this, you would be in direct violation of the KXRJ Station Policy Manual, Arkansas Tech Policies and Directives as well as a couple of very strict Federal laws.
Phone in or e-mail requests are not grounds for playing unacceptable music.
At any time you may be required to play from a station play-list only.
When programming in the rock format, it is suggested that on-air personalities attempt to educate their audiences in new, unique and alternative music. KXRJ provides the opportunity to offer music that reflects diversity and depth that is not generally available in the commercial radio market.
The programming of the afternoon jazz shifts will be from a published playlist or supplied CD’s. On-air personalities may not be familiar with jazz, but KXRJ has a selection of jazz samplers that offer a diverse cross-section of jazz. Operators should take time to audition and preview music before it airs.
Do not “track” CD’s. “Track” means putting on a CD and letting it run through more than one cut/song.
If you have a free-form jazz program and wish to use the CD’s from the KXRJ collection, record the track number and air-date on “post-it” notes on each CD case.
Example: #4 10/25/02
· Standup comedy or comedy recordings of any kind are not allowed to be aired on KXRJ.
Examples: Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Cheech and Chong, Jeff Foxworthy.
· At times we air Special Programs during the week. These are programs (live or pre-recorded) that target specific subjects. Some cover news and current events; others cover sports, music and seasonal events.
· Special Programming is chosen by the Station Manager and is not subject to change, except by the Station Manager or the Director of Broadcasting.
· Occasionally, programs may be pre-empted to make room for Special Programming including Remote Broadcasts.
· Any political topic or guest must be cleared with the Director of Broadcasting at least 24 hours prior to your shift.
· YOU WILL be required to give equal time to all candidates vying for the same position or affiliation. Example: If you are a strong member of one party and have a guest from that party on the air, you WILL host the opposition candidate in the same style and format of your own party’s guest.
· Additional guidelines are available in the on-line FCC rules section of the KXRJ Information Guide. A link is on the desktop of each computer in KXRJ.
· DJ’s are welcome and encouraged to publicize their shows.
· Posters and flyers may be distributed on campus; as long as students show them to the Station Manager prior to circulation. Posters need to be in good taste, and DJ’s are expected to use good judgment in creating them. Profanity and obscenity are prohibited. Posters are also expected to follow Arkansas Tech University policy.
· DJ’s can make intros and outros to their Alternative shifts as well as promos. The Station Manager must approve all material before it is aired.
· DJ’s must make a PowerPoint Slide promoting each Alternative air shift.
a. An example sheet and guidelines will be handed out during training sessions.
b. The slide must be emailed to kxrj <at> atu.edu
· The Production Studio is available to all KXRJ-FM DJ’s for the screening of materials to be used on a show. In addition, with the permission of the Production Director, DJ’s may produce prerecorded material for their programs. Either the Program Director or the Station Manager must clear all prerecorded programs before they are aired.
· The Production Studio is available to all KXRJ DJ’s and those taking classes that require them to do production. However, news broadcasts take precedence over general production. Newscasts have the priority, and DJ’s may ask all others to leave the Production Room for the newscasts.
· Classroom labs have second priority over the use of the production studio.
· Your eID "T" number is your passport to most electronic login systems on campus. This ID gets you into the lab computer systems, electronic Email, Pharos (Uniprint) printing and the cbt.atu.edu web site. There are a number of other applications where you eID will be used to gain access as the University adds new systems and applications.
· The eID was created as an Email identification for students in an effort to have a single sign-on environment we dropped the domain extension (mail.atu.edu) and have used this ID extensively through out our PC based systems. Your eID should now be printed on any class schedules that are generated (in the form of your email address). For students the eID looks like T00000000, or first letter of first name and last name and could be followed by a number.
· Your official email address on campus will be your-eID@atu.edu. All KXRJ DJ’s will receive email to this address. If you do not know your eID, you can find it on the Tech web site.
2. Click on Directory.
3. Click on Student E-mail Directory.
4. Type in your last name.
5. Click on Search.
6. Find your last name and you eID.
All Station personnel will be required to use your Tech email as Station information will be passed on to you through this address. No other email address will be accepted.
The Pacemaker 1032 Board
(Do not mark on or scratch the surface of the console.)
Description of controls
(left to right)
Level Control for Monitor Speakers
Monitor Selector (normally on AIR)
Level Control for Headphones
Headphone Selector (normally on AIR)
Level Control for Cue Amplifier (internal console speaker)
L & R Program Meters
Mono (L & R summed)
L & R Audition Meters
Time and INSIDE Temperature (currently)
Headphone Monitor - PGM and AUD
Cue To Headphones (CTP) - OFF (normal, stereo PGM) or ON (mono PGM in left ear and mono CUE in right ear)
Sliders 1-8 are identical in operation. Normally the PGM button will be depressed (Green flag)
Selector Switches. Normally the TOP button will be depressed (White flag)
Slider (adjust as needed to achieve 0vu)
Push Buttons - Red (mute), Green (on air)
Sliders 9 & 10 are similar except they have 8 inputs instead of 2.
The GREEN (on-air) buttons will automatically start the appropriate CD player or Cart Machine. The RED (mute) buttons DO NOT stop any device.
To record on the Mini-Disk or Cart #2, use the AUD (orange) selectors above any slider you wish to record. Simultaneous recording of an alternate source can be accomplished by sending the source to the AUD channel without this source being sent to the PGM and transmitter.
Program Monitor – Lets you know how strong your outgoing signal is.
Audition Monitor – Lets you know how strong your Audition signal is.
Selector Switches – Allow you to play something in Audition, Program, or not play anything at all.
Slides – Volume control for all devices hooked into the board.
Monitor Volume – Controls the volume for the interior of the station.
Cue Volume – Controls the volume for pots turned to Cue.
Headset Volume – Controls the volume of the attached headset.
We are supplying a higher quality headset for the Control Room, or you may use your own stereo headset with a standard ¼ to mini stereo adapter. Headsets are to be worn any time the Control Room microphone is open – no exceptions.
1. Stinger Clock
2. EAS End
3. EAS Begin
4. Stinger Tabs
1. Stinger Clock – Tells you the time – All programming should follow the time on this clock.
2. EAS End – This is the last thing to play in an EAS test.
3. EAS Begin – This is the first thing to play in an EAS test.
4. Stinger Tabs – All PSA’s, Fanfares, and other Misc. items will be under these tabs.
1. Stinger is NOT to be used for any purpose other than its intended use.
The Production Board has been completely rebuilt and now is able to produce just about anything you need. It has a few quirks that are necessary for smooth operation such as:
All items PLAY via the Program or Audition channel
The computer will only record what is heard via the AUDITION channel
The cart machine will only record what is heard via the PROGRAM channel
The Production Board feeds into the Main Console via input #3. This allows the news person or guest to control their own microphone and level directly if desired.
All components attached to the Production Board can be played to air via the Main Console input #3.
At some point, this board will be directly attached to the backup FM transmitter for emergency use, but is not currently connected.
Also, the Main Console will be connected to input #4 on the Production Board for backup as well, but is not currently connected.
1. Graduate Assistant
a. Duties and Responsibilities
1. To advise students on proper operational procedures for the Radio Station.
2. To attend all Radio Station meetings.
3. To monitor the Radio Station on the air, to regularly visit the studio and station personnel and assist in their training and development as DJ’s, broadcasters, news reporters, etc.
4. To mediate personnel grievances and to make personnel recommendations to the Director of Broadcasting.
5. To assume the responsibilities of the Station Manager when requested by the Director of Broadcasting.
2. Station Manager
a. Specific Qualifications
A candidate for Station Manager shall be at least of Junior standing or have attended Arkansas Tech University for four consecutive semesters, having completed, currently enrolled or been required to enroll the next semester in Broadcast Practicum (3811, 3821, 4811, 4821), or have equivalent experience as determined by the Director of Broadcasting.
Sound academic record; an operating knowledge of all Station departments; full grasp of Station operations and program policies; must have ability to properly control, coordinate and administrate staff and station management.
1. To coordinate all major department operations of KXRJ.
2. To act, when necessary, as mediator of inter-office disputes.
3. To coordinate the activities of the general staff and to supervise the procedures required for placement and training.
4. To assure the proper and definitive enforcement and interpretation of standard operating procedures (i.e., FCC Rules and Regulations, KXRJ policies and procedures, and Arkansas Tech University policies).
5. To maintain all necessary personnel records.
6. To maintain inventories of equipment and supply requirements, and to initiate all the purchase and supply requisitions.
7. To provide at all times leadership and fair, honest decisions in all matters.
The Station Manager is directly responsible to the Director of Broadcasting and the Graduate Assistant.
3. Program Director
A candidate for Program Director shall be at least of Sophomore standing or have attended Arkansas Tech University for two consecutive semesters, having completed, being currently enrolled or being required to enroll the next semester in Broadcast Practicum (JOUR 2811 or 2821), or have equivalent experience as determined by the Director of Broadcasting.
Sound academic record, full knowledge of station format and programming needs, creativity, good knowledge of station structure, concern about communication of information.
1. To act as an assistant in all capacities to the Station Manager.
2. To act as second in command of the station in the absence of the Station Manager.
3. To direct and coordinate format, traffic, production, music policy, and announcing.
4. To interpret, develop and enforce program policies.
5. To coordinate program procedures and to give guidance when necessary.
6. To screen programs and other media that comes into KXRJ before broadcast.
7. To oversee operations of all tape and CD libraries and the filing and indexing of all materials.
8. To insure proper labeling and storage of all music.
The Program Director is directly responsible to the Station Manager.
4. News Director
a. Specific Qualifications
A candidate for News Director shall be at least of Sophomore standing or have attended the University for two consecutive semesters, having completed, being currently enrolled in or being required to enroll the next semester in Broadcast Practicum (JOUR 2811 or 2821) or equivalent experience as determined by the Director of Broadcasting, and have working knowledge of the field.
Good knowledge of local government, University policies, and government, student organizations and functions, major national and international affairs, must have news ability as a reporter and writer, ability to train novice staff, some operational knowledge of remote broadcast equipment.
1. To train and coordinate the activities of a reporting staff.
2. To oversee production of scheduled Station news broadcasts.
3. To develop the formats and mechanics for expanded Station news coverage of all major University and community events.
4. To oversee the broadcast of special news programs, documentaries, news, and public affairs programs.
5. To maintain liaison with local news media.
For broadcast functions, the News Director works in conjunction with the Program Director; for policy matters the News Director is responsible to the Station Manager.
5. EAS Director
a. Specific Qualifications
A candidate for EAS Director shall be at least of Sophomore standing or have attended Arkansas Tech University for two consecutive semesters, having completed, being currently enrolled in or being required to enroll the next semester in Broadcast Practicum (JOUR 2811, 2821), or have equivalent experience as determined by the Director of Broadcasting.
Sound academic records; full knowledge of Station structure, programming policy and the importance of broadcast function in communication.
1. To assist the ANO training person in reserving and setting up room.
2. To get DJ’s signed up for the training sessions.
3. To help train DJ’s in EAS training.
4. To help maintain proper EAS records.
5. To check EAS paper supply in the printer, and refill if necessary.
The EAS Director is responsible to the Station Manager.
6. Production Director
a. Specific Qualifications
A candidate for Production Director shall be at least of Sophomore standing or have attended Arkansas Tech University for two consecutive semesters, having completed, being currently enrolled in or being required to enroll the next semester in Broadcast Practicum (JOUR 2811, 2821), or have equivalent experience as determined by the Director of Broadcasting.
Sound academic records; full knowledge of Station structure, programming policy and the importance of broadcast function in communication; skill, creativity, and versatility in program production.
1. To assign and oversee all production as requested by the Program Director
2. To coordinate the production staff.
3. To guarantee the proper placement of all required program materials before airtime.
4. Train staff members as to use of the production studio.
5. Schedule studio time for taping and/or production.
6. To produce Station ID’s and promotional announcements.
The Production Director is directly responsible to the Station Manager.
7. Promotions Director
a. Specific Qualifications
A candidate for Promotions Director shall be at least of Sophomore standing or have attended Arkansas Tech University for two consecutive semesters, having completed, being currently enrolled in or being required to enroll the next semester in Broadcast Practicum (JOUR 2811, 2821), or have equivalent experience as determined by the Director of Broadcasting.
Sound academic record; full knowledge of Station programming policy and dealings with campus organizations; ability to write and speak well; imagination and ability to develop promotional campaigns that will place the station before the student community; knowledge of station business affairs.
1. To develop and implement ideas and methods which will promote KXRJ and its activities before the campus community.
2. To promote station programming through on and off – campus publicity, including, signs, flyers, and other promotional activities.
3. To review the preparation and distribution of any station publicity.
4. To arrange speaking engagements in classes and in the community to recruit station personnel and to enhance public relations.
5. To act as a liaison between KXRJ, campus organizations, and the general student body for promotional purposes.
The Promotions Director is directly responsible to the Station Manager.
8. Traffic Director
a. Specific Qualifications
Minimum of two semesters at KXRJ completed; complete knowledge of Station format requirements, and log procedures; knowledge of FCC Rules and Regulations as they pertain to KXRJ operation and program logs.
1. To implement the policy set forth by the Program Director.
2. To prepare and maintain all program logs and to be responsible for their accuracy.
3. To oversee the scheduling of all public service, promotion, and underwriting announcements.
The Traffic Director is directly responsible to the Program Director
9. Sports Director
a. Specific Qualifications
Minimum of two semesters at KXRJ before assuming the position; must have good knowledge of sports plus administrative ability; should be capable of training novice sports reporters and have relatively good news writing ability; ability to report pay-by-play or sports events; must have operational knowledge of remote equipment.
1. To implement the policy set forth by the News Director.
2. To coordinate the broadcast arrangements and broadcasts of both feature and live sports programs.
3. To arrange for broadcast facilities of remote games with the sports information director of each institution involved.
4. To assign announcing staff for regular and remote programs.
5. To coordinate any special sports programming with the News Director.
The Sports Director is responsible to the News Director.
10. Music Director
a. Specific Qualifications
Minimum of two semesters at KXRJ before assuming the position; good knowledge of the field and the essence of KXRJ music policy; knowledge of CD filing system.
1. To implement the policies set forth by the Program Director.
2. To review and clear all incoming CD’s for broadcast in conjunction with the Program Director.
3. To advise the Program Director and DJ’s as to new releases in each field.
4. To assist Program Director in setting music programming policy.
5. To assist Program Director in obtaining needed recordings by helping maintain working relations with all record companies and distributors.
6. To prepare and distribute a weekly playlist should one ever be needed.
The Music Director is directly responsible to the Program Director.
11. Jazz Music Director
a. Specific Qualifications
Minimum of two semesters at KXRJ before assuming the position or comparable experience as determined by the Director of Broadcasting, good knowledge of the field in the essence of KXRJ jazz music policy; knowledge of the jazz music CD filing system.
1. To implement the policy set forth by the Program Director.
2. To review and clear all incoming CD’s for broadcast in conjunction with the Program Director.
3. To advise DJ’s on correct pronunciation on hard to say pieces, either personally or phonetically.
4. To prepare and distribute a daily playlist.
5. To maintain and update the current CD filing system.
The Classical Music Director is directly responsible to the Program Director.
12. Public Service Announcement Director
a. Specific Qualifications
Minimum of one semester at KXRJ completed; must possess creative writing abilities; must be able to produce and direct production of all recorder material.
1. To implement the policy set forth by the News Director.
2. To write or oversee writing of all public service announcement copy.
3. To provide announcers with any additional copy required.
4. To assist the Promotions Director in Station promotion copy.
The Public Service Announcement Director is responsible to the News Director.
13. General Staff
a. Specific Qualifications
1. The General staff shall be those students working at KXRJ.
2. Any Arkansas Tech University student in good standing.
Participation on the General staff of KXRJ is a privilege, which can be revoked for cause. Upon appointment each staff member must sign a responsibility form, which sets forth specific policies and guidelines for the staff. Although specific policies and guidelines may change under the direction of the Director of Broadcasting, the following responsibilities remain in force at all times:
1. To abide by all FCC Rules and Regulations.
2. To attend staff meetings called by the Station Manager or the Director of Broadcasting.
3. To adhere to the scheduling, logging, programming, music, sports and news formats, production and other policies set by the Director of Broadcasting.
4. The use or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs is strictly prohibited on Station premises or areas for which KXRJ is responsible.
5. Abuse of Station property is strictly prohibited.
6. Unauthorized possession of Station property is strictly prohibited.
The Journalism banquet will be held at the end of the spring semester at a time that is convenient for the staffs of Tech television, radio, newspaper and yearbook.
Producers need to have something prepared for their crew (i.e. awards, gag awards or certificates).
Customarily, some of the TV6 crew will create a blooper tape for the enjoyment of those attending the banquet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What do I do if the person after me doesn't show up for their shift?
Air talent should arrive 10 minutes before they are scheduled to be on-air. You should always be aware of who is supposed to come on after your shift. Schedules and a phone list are posted in the studio, and you can call the person to see if s/he is on the way. If you can't reach the person scheduled to do the next show, keep the programming rolling and call the Station Manager. If the Station Manager cannot be reached begin calling staff members from the phone list to find a replacement. If you cannot reach a fellow DJ, then call the Director of Broadcasting. After getting someone to fill in for that person’s shift, leave a detailed, written summary of what happened and how it was resolved to the Station Manager and Graduate Assistant.
2. What if I can't make my shift?
It is your responsibility to find a sub for your shift. The Station Manager should be notified as soon as possible of any changes.
If you are unable to find a substitute after a reasonable effort, or in emergency situations, contact the Station Manager for help. If the Station Manager is unavailable, contact the Graduate Assistant or the Director of Broadcasting.
3. The (piece of equipment) isn’t working. What should I do?
If the problem occurs during daytime hours, notify the Engineer fill out the on-line form http://kxrj.atu.edu/eq-form.htm) immediately. If the problem happens at night call the Station Manager or the Graduate Assistant, and leave a note. Describe the problem in as much detail as possible ("CD 1 isn’t working" doesn’t help the Engineer nearly as much as "CD 1 would not cue up track one on the Drunk Driving PSA disc"). Do not attempt to repair equipment yourself.
If the problem is with the transmitter itself (i.e., we’re not getting a signal out), notify the Engineer and the Station Manager immediately regardless of day or time. If neither can be reached notify the Graduate Assistant, or the Director of Broadcasting.
4. I can’t find a spot that’s listed on the log. What should I do?
Note the discrepancy on the log and leave a note for the Station Manager. You may play a different PSA in its place, be sure to make a notation on the log.
Draw one line through the item; do not blot the item out. Initial next to it and write in the date, then handwrite in the one you played instead.
Dear Station Manager:
I could not find the PSA for “Magellan” for play at 12:30 p.m. I played Alltel in it’s place.
Common Words Used In Radio
Aircheck – A tape of an announcers show.
Scoped/Telescoped Aircheck – Tape of an announcer on the air with all music commercials, and other programming elements edited out, leaving only the announcer’s spoken breaks.
Bed – Background music behind a voice on a commercial, PSA, promo, or any live or pre-recorded bit.
Dead Air – Unintentional on-air silence.
Dayparting – Playing certain songs, ads or promos during a selected time period (daypart).
Dayparts – Specific blocks of time during the broadcast day.
Morning Drive – 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Midday – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Afternoon Drive – 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Evening – 7 p.m. to Midnight
Overnight – Midnight to 6 a.m.
Drivetime – Peak radio listening time. Usually corresponds when traffic is heaviest, Morning and Afternoon Drive.
EAS – Emergency Alert System.
Liner – Pre-scripted announcement that is read live on the air, usually identifying the station. (Example: You’re listening to the Voice of Arkansas Tech University, KXRJ 91.9 FM.)
Promo – A pre-recorded element for the station. Promos can promote the station, an event, or can explain and promote a contest.
PSA – Public Service Announcement.
Segue (seg) – The overlapping of two songs or other programming elements.
Sweeper – A 3 to 5 second transitional jingle or pre-recorded line between two programming elements.
Demographics – Statistical identification of the population such as age, sex, race, geography, income, etc.
Target Demographic (demo) – A specific segment of the population that a station attempts to attract and hold as listeners. All station programming elements are designed to appeal to this group.
Hook – The most memorable or instantly recognizable part of a song, usually the chorus.
Affidavit – A notarized written copy of the commercial copy showing the number of times the commercial ran, along with the cost per commercial.
Copy – Script the announcer will read or record for a PSA or commercial.
Flight – Schedule for commercials to run during a specific period of time.
Kill Date – The last day a specific piece of copy is allowed to air.
Live Copy – A commercial announcement read by on-air talent without being pre-recorded.
Live Tag – A short addition to a pre-recorded announcement read live by on-air talent.
Program Log – The daily schedule of programming and PSAs/Commercials used by the announcers, showing when to play certain programming elements.
Make-good – Replacement spot for one missed.
Rate Card – A schedule of fees charged for running advertising during different dayparts.
Remote – Live broadcast not in the station. Usually at an event.
Spot – A commercial.
TFN – ‘Till Further Notice. This is usually written on copy or a cart label to signify that the spot will run indefinitely with no specific kill date.
Traffic – The pre-scheduling of spots and other events on the program log, or the department responsible for scheduling.
Unit – A single commercial, PSA, or promo production piece.
Announcing and Music Presentation Style
The format of KXRJ requires an energetic, but not overly excited delivery. Above all else, when the microphone is open, be clear, concise, consistent, lucid, friendly, enlightening, and entertaining. A few suggestions on how you can achieve the goal follow.
Prepare for your show. Have things to talk about that will entertain your audience as much or more than the music itself (during Alternative shifts only). Keep up with other cultural forms, news and especially University events.
Arrive at the studio early enough that you can be relaxed (or pumped up, whatever your personality demands) and ready when your shift begins. For most people that will mean getting there at least 10 minutes beforehand.
Follow the log, and keep your breaks short.
Know what you’re going to say each time before you open the mic. Don’t think out loud on the air (“ummmmm…” sounds unprofessional on the radio, especially if it becomes a regular feature of your show). And beware of other vocal quirks and crutches (tongues clicks, “okay,” “alright,” etc.).
Read over all copy (news and weather) before you open the mic.
Incorporate “here and now” information into your talk – not only the time and temp, but also what’s going on (on campus, and in Russellville).
Always be conscious of program levels, as mastering levels on recorded material vary. Make sure that your voice levels match the recorded sources, and that various recorded sources match.
Perform air-checks. If you would like to hear how you sound on the air, you can purchase some cassette tapes to record yourself. Air-checks are very valuable to a DJ. They serve several purposes:
i. By listening to yourself, you can avoid falling into ruts and bad habits.
ii. Air-check tapes are good for students interested in pursuing on-air careers – tapes provide essential material for job applications.
iii. Don’t dwell on yourself. Concentrate on the music, news, local events, etc. You should not be doing a show about you.
By: Terry Branham, News Director WPLR-FM
The first thing to remember in interviewing anyone is to prepare yourself for it. Take about five minutes to sit down and think out just what it is you want to talk about. Write down a list of questions that naturally flow from one to the next. Don’t be afraid to keep that list in front of you during the interview. It won’t signify ignorance, but rather that you took the time to prepare.
Perhaps the most important reason for preparing questions in advance is so that you’ll be able to actually participate in the interview itself. In order to be in control of an interview, you must listen to the answers to your questions, not spend all your time figuring out what the next question will be. In listening you’ll find you’re able to come up with many more questions as you go along. If you do, the minute you think of them, scribble down a key word to remind you of it. That way you won’t be distracted from what’s being said by trying to remember the question you just thought up.
In the above paragraph, the key word in interviewing anyone is mentioned. The word is “control.” No matter how intimidating, how sexy or how famous the person is, you must control the interview. You set the tone, the pace and the length of it. You determine when one subject has become exhausted and it’s time to move on to another. Also, you determine what the person will talk about. If, at the beginning of an interview, the person asks you to specifically ignore certain questions, insist on talking it over before agreeing. Try to explain why such questions would be important to the listeners. Decide between the two of you. Don’t, whatever you do, go ahead and ask the questions anyway. Do, however, state that the person is unwilling to discuss a certain subject. This can be done without offending the person. For example: “Mr. X, you’ve said that you don’t want to talk about what inspired you to run naked through Grand Central Station. I know a lot of people envy you for doing that, but then a whole lot more envy you for your talent. How’d you get into music in the first place?”
The way you phrase your questions decides whether or not you control the interview. Don’t expect the person to help you out. Until a rapport has been established, don’t ask a question that can be answered with simply a “yes” or “no,” unless you have a follow-up question planned. Don’t ask the person what he or she would like to be asked. Know what you want to find out in the first place.
That brings us to the question of what it is you want to ask. Ask what the listeners would want to know. Don’t skip a question because you know the answer yourself. Try to determine how many others might not know. Don’t be afraid to ask a seemingly obvious question. Most important of all, don’t phrase the questions as if you already know the answer, but the listeners don’t. That makes you sound as if you are talking down to them, and they resent it.
Also, if the person is one whom you particularly admire, be very careful. You can tend to ask questions that don’t have mass appeal. There is also the tendency to ask complex, high-level questions in an attempt to impress the person with your knowledge. Always remember, he or she isn’t there to rap with you, but rather to be rapping with the listeners.
Interviewing an entertainer is different from interviewing Bill Clinton. You’re not out to pin someone to the wall, expose corruption or get the mike shoved down your throat. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask the difficult questions. The trick is to cushion the blow. Instead of: “Is it true that you’ve just spent 5 month’s kicking a heroin habit?”…ask about the hardships of entertaining all the time, the temptations, etc. The best way to get someone to open up, by the way, is asking them to give advice to others.
Face it, you’re going to be asking people questions that they’ve been asked by thousands of others. Just remember two things. First, they don’t have to sound like the same old questions. If you think of a new way of phrasing something, you might come away with a totally new and different answer. Second, those questions haven’t been asked for your listeners. The person would think you weren’t doing your job if you didn’t ask them.
Here are some sample questions that have worked well. They are only samples. Each person has a unique way of phrasing things, and the questions that you ask should be tailored to your own style.
How important is the money you make compared to the music you make?
What do you hope your music will do for others?
How did you decide this was what you wanted to do?
What kind of stereo system do you have? What do you listen to on it?
What do your parents or older relatives think of your career?
When you are in the studio, laying down tracks, do you have any sense of how the album will turn out? How can you tell if it’s working or not?
How important is the audience to the quality of your performance?
How do you deal with an indifferent audience? A hostile one?
How does your band settle hassles among the members?
Who’s your favorite musician of all time? Why?
How much of your personal life enters into the songs you write (or choose to perform)?
What person had the biggest effect on your life? Why?
You’re a big success, do you ever feel there’s nothing left to achieve? What are some of your dreams you still hold for yourself?
This list could go on and on.
There’s one more important thing to remember. Some interviews just won’t work. The person might be sick, tired or pressured into being there. Don’t be thrown for a loss if this happens. If you’re prepared and in control then you’re doing your end of things and it will be apparent what you’re going through and the fact that you’re maintaining your poise in spite of an awkward situation.
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