Home Programming Policy and Guidelines

Programming Policy and Guidelines

 

PREAMBLE

Program and music choice shall have reference to the 91.9 Fresh FM’s (hereafter called the station) Strategic plan. Within this Strategic plan, the content criteria indicates the program
1. Must not be inconsistent with Christian core beliefs.
2. Must be generic enough to be appreciate by majority of target audience and fit the larger audience’s appeal
3. Must be entertaining and interesting, relevant and topical.
4. Must not pressure the audience to ‘convert’.
Programs and Music aired on the station shall reflect the intent of Philippians 2:15-16 (The Message ©2002 Eugene H. Peterson)
“Go into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the Living God. Carry the light-giving message into the night…”
The station will present a well-balanced blend of material aimed at meeting the spiritual and social needs of the whole community.
The station will abide by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) Codes of Practice in place for all community radio broadcasters.

PROGRAMMING

All programming played on the station shall:
• Be of appeal to the majority of the target audience demographic and profile. Broad 25-49, Focused 30-39 year olds. The typical listener is a 35 year old female, with young children.
• Have content that is positive, encouraging and supportive or at least non-offensive and that isn’t against the Biblically based values/principles of our core listener.
• If they exist, have video clip/s that are not sexually suggestive/smutty/graphic and adhere to the core values of the core listeners i.e. can be viewed by young children.
• Be performed/presented by a person who does not have a public stance/position that is against the Biblically based values/principles of our core listener. There should be nothing they publically advocate that would go against the values/principles of our core listener.
• Pass the “7 year old test”. Ask if a mum would want her 7 year old to hear it? If in doubt, leave it out.

Fresh FM is proudly supported by:

THE STATION:

• Will provide a range of opportunities for its community interest to have a say in programming decisions. Will have mechanisms for the community to make program requests and to involve members in the selection of programs thereby encouraging community participation. It will aim for a diverse program schedule, demonstrate responsiveness to the current and evolving needs of the community it serves, and complement other broadcasters in the licence area.
• Will have a Program Committee consisting of, ideally, one station-appointed representative (staff) and representatives of station volunteers (up to two positions), and members/subscribers (up to three positions) and Content Manager (CM). Extra members may be included by the Management Committee in consultation with the General Manager and/or Station Manager. The station will aim for a balance of community representatives i.e. men, women, youth, professional, older generation. The Program Committee is responsible to the General Manager.
• Members and listeners are able to nominate themselves or other members or listeners for a position on the Program Committee as and when the need to fill positions arise. The Management Committee (after receiving recommendation from the Program Committee) must agree and approve that these nominees represent our community of interest at a following meeting
Final approval for airplay of any program rests with the General Manager, unless the General Manager delegates this authority to a Program Director or a Selection Committee. Note: This provision is intended to maintain consistent quality of on-air sound. The selection process does not include such things as Interviews, Christian Spots, News, Community Service Announcements or such promotions; it is the selection process for complete shows suggested by station presenters or recorded material submitted to the station for evaluation and air-play.

PROGRAMMING GUIDELINES

Programming will change as 91.9 Fresh FM acquires resources and as research comes to hand about the needs of the audience. However there are some principles that should guide programming:
Consistency – one of the most important things about winning a loyal audience is to be consistent in what you do. People like to be able to switch on the radio and know what sound they can expect. This is especially true of music. This is why it is important to play any specialized program (such as Bible teaching) at a time when it will not affect too much of our overall audience; i.e.: at night. However, it must also be remembered that 91.9 Fresh FM operates a community station that must cater for the needs of its entire intended community interest (i.e., Christians). Being consistent doesn’t necessarily mean having the same announcer on at the same time of the day, at least during the week. While that is the ideal, having the same type of personality or presentation styles is the next best option, depending on availability.
Specialized Programs – These would include children’s programs, special music programs (like country, youth, jazz, praise and worship, traditional hymns) and Bible teaching programs. These should normally be scheduled at times when people can listen attentively, e.g., before 7 AM, around mid-morning, after 8 PM and, for shift workers, insomniacs and those who are troubled, during the night. Generally the Presenters or Announcers of Specialty Programs enjoy more freedom and liberty in their choice of music. The PD is responsible to ensure that the Presenter is of such standard that this privilege is accorded to them in all trust. The Program Presenter or Announcer cannot choose or use their own music unless they have the prior permission of the PD and in consultation with the GM if necessary.
The Presenter or Announcer of Specialty Programs should source, research and produce his or her own programs but the program always remains under the direction of the PD and/or GM. Specialized Programs should complement the framework of the Program Guide.
Program Scheduling – It is important to recognize that people have different listening requirements from the radio at different times of the day. A normal scheduling pattern is set out below, but departures might be required for operational or resource reasons or because research indicates that the needs of the community whose interests 91.9 Fresh FM serves would be better met by a different schedule.
Examples of Monday to Friday Programming
• Breakfast (5 am until 9am) is a key program of the day and is a peak listening time. The program should be light and bright with information, e.g. news, weather, time and traffic information. Generally breakfast should contain contemporary music and should not contain any long-form spoken programs (over 2 minutes).
• Morning (9am until noon) The main listening audience during this period is predominantly female. The program can include informative and relevant talk and interviews on current affairs, general interest discussions, promotion of community events, special guests and other content which helps people do life. Music during the afternoon should be easier listening than breakfast or drive.
• Afternoon (midday until 3pm) The main listening audience during this period is again predominantly female. A music-based program works better than spoken programs, as it takes less concentration. Music during the afternoon should be slightly easier listening than breakfast or drive.
• Drive Time (3pm until 7pm) This is also a key listening period as the station is catching workers driving home. Listeners during this period are mentally wanting to switch off after work and may be feeling heavy and are possibly in a negative frame of mind. With this in mind the programming and the announcer should be trying to lift the listener and this is an ideal time for comedy breaks. Music should be contemporary and there should be plenty of information on news, weather, time and traffic. As commuting in Gladstone isn’t a lengthy process long and involved breaks or messages should not be undertaken.
• Evenings (from 7pm until midnight) TV is the dominant feature of this period. The main listening audience after 6pm is primarily the 15-25yrs age group. The radio is normally used by this age group as background while studying. It is a good time for special programming such as youth, a hits countdown, interviews with artists and latest releases. Long form programs can also be broadcast if they fit the general guidelines.
• Mid-Dawn (from midnight to 6 am) This period may have a small listening audience but it attracts the insomniacs, people with problems or hurting, the sick and shift workers. 91.9 Fresh FM aims to serve these people. Both music and long form programs can be effective methods of reaching people. Music should generally be light. Counselling talkback is also very effective at this time, but it must be fronted by people who are trained and experienced in Christian counselling.
• Weekends Normal listening patterns are different on the weekend due to the change in community and family activities. Specialty shows or one-off type programs are effective, e.g., gardening, youth, pets, sports, church service and traditional church music (Sunday morning), request programs (evenings). Historically 91.9 Fresh FM caters for an older listener during Sunday mornings and care must be maintained in continuing to cater for this listener group.

PROGRAM SELECTION

New programs will be sought by the station on a regular basis.
Training will be provided as needed to ensure the best quality program possible.

PROGRAM COMMITTEE

Program committee shall meet quarterly or more frequently as needs arise. Face to Face meetings are convened by the Program Director or General Manager at the station or other suitable venue.

The responsibilities of the Program Committee shall be to:
• Conduct a full program review twice a year and report its findings to the General Manager and or Program Manager. The Management Committee is kept informed of the program committee’s operations, including decision-making, by receiving the minutes of the program committee’s meetings at board meetings.
• Develop and recommend program applications for adoption by the Management Committee and implement programming adopted policies and procedures
• Publicise that new programming ideas and initiatives are welcomed, on such platforms as the station website, in newsletters and on social media. The New On-Air Program Applications Form will be provided for completion.
• Accept and consider programming applications made on the Procedure for Making Programming Application Form.
• Discuss program proposals with applicants. In the event that the program is rejected by the Program Committee, due to non-compliance with the current Programming Policy, the applicant has recourse to further state their case in writing to the Management Committee. The Program Committee may request that a pilot or demo program be produced for further consideration. Should the application not be successful in its current form, all efforts will be made to work with the applicant to bring the proposed application into line with the Program Policy and Procedures and address any concerning issues.
• Collectively identify the programming needs and preferences of the community interest then decide the programs that best reflect the needs of the community. – see CBAA Codes of Practice
• ensure the program schedule remains diverse and reflects the needs of the community
• oversee surveys of the community interest’s programming preferences
• revise program schedules to incorporate new programs and to ensure an adequate representation of locally-produced programs
• Will conduct regular surveys of listeners and of the broader community of interest, annually if possible. Additional telephone surveys can also be held when finances permit.
• Will air programs that have high local and community content to comply with ACMA regulations and guidelines. Generalist (i.e. mainstream) programs should be aired after consultation with the Program Committee and with prior approval of Station Management. These may include special interest programs such as computers, gardening, financial advice, although the character and content of the program should always be positive and comply with our standards of operation.
• Will endeavour to include very regular (at least weekly) interviews of locals and will always be mindful of increasing its locally produced content.
• Will hold regular training courses for staff and volunteers and a school work experience program which will accommodate two placements a week. Many trainees should go on to become presenters at the station and to develop and contribute new programming.
• Will broadcast regular announcements requesting volunteers and inviting program content. It will make available information on the procedure for making program proposals, inviting individuals and community groups to provide programming, in newsletters, at church visits and newsletters, on the station website, via social media and on air etc.
• Will make the Station’s Program Guide available to listeners on the website and in printed form when requested. Program Guide should be updated after implementation of changes, and after an official survey is undertaken.
• Will limit the amount of syndicated programming in favour of locally-produced programs, particularly where individuals or community groups have expressed interest in providing programs.

MUSIC SELECTION

In order to ensure that all the needs of the station’s community interest are met adequately, all new music shall be approved by the CM for suitability prior to it being given airplay.
The purpose of this section is to outline the criteria and selection process required before a song can be considered appropriate for airplay. 91.9 Fresh FM respects the core family values, which are embedded within the Christian Faith as practiced by our core listener, and seeks to support these values through music that deemed suitable for people of all ages, particularly young children and that does not overtly oppose the fundamental values of Christianity in general.

IN accordance with the Programming Policy all music played on the station shall:
1. Be of appeal to the majority of the target audience demographic and profile. Broad 25-49, Focused 30-39 year olds. The typical listener is a 35 year old female, with young children.
2. Have lyrics that are positive, encouraging and supportive or at least non-offensive and that aren’t against the Biblically based values/principles of our core listener.
3. Have a video clip/s of the performance of the song that are not sexually suggestive/smutty/graphic and adhere to the core values of the core listeners i.e. can be viewed by young children.
4. Be performed by an artist that does not have a public stance/position that is against the Biblically based values/principles of our core listener. There should be nothing they publically advocate that would go against the values/principles of our core listener.
5. Pass the “7 year old test”. Ask if a mum would want her 7 year old to hear it? If in doubt, leave it out.
6. Showcase Australian artists, especially local artists. As per CBAA Codes of Practice the station will play at least 25% Australian content.

Final say on a songs inclusion or exclusion is at the discretion of the General Manager
Music must be of a good technical quality (although exceptions shall be made for local artists. It must always be borne in mind that 91.9 Fresh FM is a community station and at times, technical quality and target audience appeal may be of secondary importance. The most common exceptions will be specialist music programs where announcers may be authorized by the GM or CM to select music for that program. At all times the music of artists from our local region, should be given every encouragement and inclusion in our air-time.
Music Selection may be undertaken by a selection committee made up of interested and qualified people. However, final approval for airplay rests with the GM. The GM will delegate this task to staff primarily the PD. Note: This provision is intended to maintain consistent quality of on-air sound.
Research
The Program Committee with the help of the GM and PD is to conduct research to monitor and learn how the audience is reacting to the new music, and when people are beginning to tire of different types of music or artists. Music monitors can be helpful here. Listener requests also provide useful information.
Ideally, all music played on-air should be reviewed by a team of music monitors, when available, drawn from volunteers and listeners. Play lists should be regularly reviewed following feedback from listeners and monitors. This is an important opportunity for members of the community to participate actively in the operation of the station.

MUSIC ROTATION

Some music needs to be played at higher rotation than other music eg. Popular requests. Generally new music needs to be played more often than old, and the most popular new music needs to be played the most often of all. New music may have a high rotate of 7 hours or 11 songs and medium rotate of between 9 hours or .. songs Other categories for the music are designed to give an even flow to the sound. Possible categories are:

High Rotate Medium Rotate
Recurrent Gold
Youth Country
Praise and worship Indigenous

It should be noted that the purpose of such categorization is to maintain the overall on-air sound, not to restrict the musical tastes that the station caters for.

MUSIC SCHEDULING

Music Scheduling is an important part of the administration of the music development. The scheduling is done using a computer program. To obtain a consistent sound the announcers should not generally choose their own music, except in specialist programs where the announcer has the requisite knowledge (otherwise their own personal tastes will come through and this can often alienate the audience). These specialist programs and music are only aired under the direction of the Content Manager. Announcers are to follow the music schedules while they are on air.

MUSIC CATALOGUE

The Content Manager or delegate shall maintain a music catalogue as a computer program. The catalogue shall include source number (includes album number as the first five numbers and the track number as the last two numbers), artist, title, album, nationality, intensity, speed, mood etc. This catalogue is to be available to announcers and production staff to assist with the easy identification of material. Announcers not wanting to become familiar with the computer program can request print-outs of music categories or artists etc.

UNAUTHORISED MUSIC

Music, tracks and artists that have not been approved for airplay shall not be played. Announcers breaching this requirement may be subject to disciplinary action.

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