I recently went on a class trip to BFM radio station.BFM (which stands for Business FM). I will admit, when I first heard of BFM, I was going BFM WHAT??!!!!! inside my head.After all, as the name connotes, the station obviosly has something to do with business,otherwise it wouldn’t be called Business FM, right?
But anyhow, about the trip. We arrived in time,a lot earlier than scheduled.The office is situated in Bandar Utama,Petaling Jaya,near One Utama Mall.The station’s founder,Malek Ali was originally scheduled to meet and guide us but had to bail as he had to go outstation. So we had one of his producers, Annie Wong as replacement guide instead.But upon arriving,she wasn’t there.It seemed that Annie had to run off on a quick errand.While waiting for Annie,one of their Marketing guys,Christopher Sherwin gave an impropmtu introduction and a brief explanation about the station.I couldn’t help but noticed that the station was quite small compared to other stations.I must confess that prior to this,I had never actually stepped into an actual radio station but to myown general knowledge,they were supposed to be a lot bigger.I do know that BFM is supposedly Malaysia’s first independent station therefore and did not expect much.
BFM radio station occupied one floor of what could be described as a typical office space.There were desks where the staff sat. Behind the office space were where you could clearly see the recording booths.Forgive me,but I must confess that I am unfamiliar with radio jargon.There was also a sound room smack right in the middle of the recording booths where they recorded the station’s programs.There was a corner for beverages as well as a conference room.
Annie proved to be a pretty capable guide.She began by explaining to us the the origins of the station as well as its functions, programs, and the station’s workforce. She did this not by the typical Power Point but with a cardboard slide set, sort of like a desk calendar. That aspect was very interesting. During her presentation,we were allowed to interrupt by asking questions.Annie obligingly answered all our questions clearly.
Annie describes a typical day for the staff at the station, “It depends on who we are”.
She cites presenters who have to come in early and prepare for an interview, podcast it, and then prepare questions for the next interview.
Producers like her have to make sure that what goes on air is of quality,scheduling,works closely with the presenter and assists them.
Producers also have to source out interviewees and do this a month in advance,sometimes two weeks in advance if time permits.
Sometimes producers will have to do the interviews themselves.
When asked if most of the staff had business background, Annie said,”Some of the guys here don’t have a business background”.
She cited some of the presenters who did not have a business background and that those who did,specifically writers had to learn each other’s craft through training.
I just had to ask how presenters were recruited and Annie said through recommendations and sending of CVs.
After both the presentation and the Q&A session,this was where the fun part started.Annie took us on a tour around the station!Because of the fact that the station was small,it was a fairly easy tour of the station’s facilities.We were introduced to almost all the staff,from the lower ranked to the upper ranked staff.What was exciting for me personally was meeting the announcers,recognizing the faces from the voices.One in particular was Caroline,formerly of Lite FM.It was a bit disappointing not to have met Shazmin,formerly of Mix FM and Red FM,who wasn’t available. There were some faces that I could have sworn I’d seen somewhere in the media such as Freida,one of the announcers.
During the tour of the station, we were also allowed to take photographs of the station.
Overall,it was enjoyable for my first trip to a radio station.