Electronic communication technology has revolutionized all Mass Communication systems. Most perceivable has been the impact on “Broadcasting.” The largest single medium of communication reaching the masses with news, entertainment, education, information and influencing their life styles, thoughts and emotions are the audio, video, IV and film mediums. In our vast country with people from diverse backgrounds, lifestyles, languages and culture it is the growing impact of these modes of mass communication, which has contributed to the integration of society. Notwithstanding the value of the print medium as an effective and informative medium, the visual medium seems to have become the most influential.
For long Broadcasting in India was entirely State owned. Private productions were broadcasted through national networks. Now with the liberalized policies of the Government, broadcasting has gone through a seachange, both in terms of quality and quantity, giving the people a variety of choices. Public access to satellite transmission has raised expectations. International channels have created a dynamic environment. Competition, comparison, and striving for qualitative upgradation has created tremendous opportunities for professionals in Broadcasting and Films. Challenging job opportunities have mushroomed in the area of program software. Producers need qualified workforce as well as talented performers. Production, direction, camera, graphics, editing all needs training. Radio and Television Broadcasting involves the development of program material, production and finally transmission through satellite network and cable operations. In the film industry too, the work involves creating and producing films, music, sound technology and sound recording.
With growing TV network, satellite communication systems, the ever expanding cable services, over 150 AIR stations, FM station, Radio and TV news service in over 20 languages, national and international broadcasting facilities, the future right in mass communication. Detailed in the next section is information about jobs related to the production and transmission of programmes through visual and audio modes. These technical mediums offer large variety of for people with diverse skills and interests: programme researchers, script writers, music directors, voice specialists, graphic designers, editors, directors, anchors and sound specialists are professional options.
NATURE OF WORK
Jobs in television industry can be divided into reporting, anchoring and production. For TV and films, production involves pre-production work, production and then post production work, Research & scripting of the proposed programme for TV/Radio is pre-production work. Production involves preparing the programme, which includes working in front of the camera and behind it. Once all the footage has been shot the post-production work begins in the studios to give the final ‘treatment’.
The director and editor then develop the programme adding music, voice-overs to each frame taking care of minute details
The main jobs relate to production of a programme and to its transmission. Here are the details of the jobs done by the production team.
Production of a program for the TV, video, radio involves the producer and his technical team.
Producer- He is the overall incharge who conceptualizes an idea, formulates the program, coordinates with the scriptwriter, selects the artist, discusses the presentation with the media personnel and researchers and finally coordinates the production. Producers generally work independently for radio, TV, films or with the government for their mass communication networks. Recruitment to the government agencies, like Doordarshan or All India Radio, is through the Union Public Service Commission on the basis of subjects they have specialized in. Later training is imparted through government agencies themselves.
Production assistants (PAs)- Producers are helped in the massive tasks they have to handle by production assistants. Production assistants generally carry out the major work for the producer leaving him to handle the financial and other administrative tasks.
Production Assistants in television production - Production assistants conduct most of the associated work, which is involved in production of an entertainment program, a music recital, a quiz program, serial, topical discussion, debate etc. The theme may be varied. They liase between the producer, the director and other professionals working on the programme. The PA is involved from planning meetings to post production work. They organize and attend meetings with technical professionals, e.g., the camera persons, the sound technicians, make-up artists and set designers and expedite required action, e.g., hotel booking, arranging rehearsal rooms; contacting artists to pass information about time and location and liasoning other aspects of filming and studio requirements. They maintain the flow of information between departments like camera team, wardrobe incharges, prop sets so that all requirements are met. Timing of items, scripts for Directors, order of items have all to be recorded and this is done by the PA. During recording live programmes they sit with the director and call shots for cameras. PAs working on a drama, work as script supervisor. They ensure the flow of action from one scene to another.
Production Assistants in radio production - Radio production assistants book studios and editing facilities, deal with copyright clearance, keep accounts of programme expenditure and type of scripts and factsheets. They make arrangements for guests appearing on programmes and look after them while they are in the studio.
Researchers- Researching is vital for making a programme effective, topical, authentic and Informative. There are subject or theme researchers who work on a wide range of programmes from children's programmes to current affairs whereas specialist researchers, who have knowledge of a particular subject, research in their area of speciality. These researchers may be professors, teachers, scientists, etc.
Researchers are expected to contribute ideas for a programme by collecting and preparing materials for items in the programme, by interviewing people going through material from libraries or literatures on the theme. They arrange for interviewees to come onto the programme and look after them when they are in the studio. They may also write scripts for presentation. In some programmes there is likely to be more than one researcher. Researchers may have to find locations for filming or find an audience for a show as well as those who are to be in the programme.
Specialist researchers work on programmes such as baby and child care, natural history, science, anthropology, archaeology, etc. Some may work in drama. Researchers often write the script for the programme and may also find people to appear in the programme or search out locations for filming.
Researching for radio- Research assistants in radio carry out a task similar to that of a factual researcher in films. According to the requirements of the producer, they research specific or general information. They interview people to provide relevant insertion for programmes.
Freelance Scriptwriters- While researchers often also write the script, there are specialists for TV, radio and film scripts. Script writing is highly specialized for each of these medium and often subject specialists are trained for writing of scripts. Scriptwriters write dramas, script for documentaries, newscasts, comedies, soap operas, adventures, TV serials etc.
Continuity Scripting- This involves creating fillers for broadcast in between programmes, station announcements, previews of coming shows, local advertisements for sponsors make such fillers.
Broadcast Scripting- This caters to a specific audience and a team of people who work to create a programme for a particular time slot.
Motion picture writers- They either adapt a book or write original screenplay for a motion picture producer.
Playwrights - Drama companies take plays written by playwrights. Playwrights also may publish their work.
Floor Managers- The job of floor managers is to liase between the director and those on the studio floor, thereby coordinating all activitiy. The director sits in a control deck during studio rehearsals and recording and from there gives instructions to the floor manager who then passes them to actors, program guests, etc.
Floor managers are responsible for safety. They ensure that fire exits are always clear. Tlipy ensure that everything and everyone is in the right place at the right time and props, cameras and microphones correctly positioned. The floor manager briefs guests and audience before the programme. He is helped by the assistant floor manager who keeps liaison with the production assistant and departments such as make-up and visual effects. They are responsible for calling the artists when required. They often work ahead during recordings making sure that the set is ready and all the props are positioned. They deliver scripts, messages etc when necessary.
When filming for the TV e.g. documentaries, the work of the floor manager is carried out by the assistant director. They develop and supervise the daily shooting schedule and supervise special effects. There are often a team of assistants when a film is being shot.
Set designers - Set designers work on sets for the programme being shot. They work as per the requirements suggested by the production office. They are briefed about various scenes and shots so that the sets could be appropriately designed. Artists, carpenters, painters technicians work towards providing all the necessary equipments.
Costume designers and beauticians - Artists' costumes are often prepared under the supervision of fashion designers and stylists. The hairstyles and make up of artists is the responsibility of beauticians working behind the scenes in the green rooms. They coordinate their time according to the floor managers requirements.
Camera team - From film reels to videotapes - the camera people have seen a metamorphosis in their sphere of work. TV programmes are recorded on video-tape from pictures shot on electronic video cameras. Camera team specialize in either working with film or electronic cameras.
The work with electronic camera goes on in a TV studio. Generally there may be as many as six electronic cameras operating at a time. Most electronic cameras are on mobile mountings or on cranes. The director decides the shots, with the camera supervisor and for recording each camera person works from a list which directs them about the shots their camera has to take and when. The director from the gallery also gives instructions and cues. While the director decides the shots the cameraman decides the framing and composition of the shot.
Outside shooting is used for sports, state occasions, concerts and other outdoor events. Often several cameras are linked to the director in a mobile studio control room, while the work proceeds. For news stories the operator moves quickly using a light camera and deciding the shots themselves.
Sound technicians - Dialogues, sound effects and music in films and TV programmes are recorded by sound technicians. The process includes recording in the studio, post production, editing, dubbing and mixing. Coordination needs to be done between the camera team and the sound recording. This is done by following a script. Sound technicians work in the sound control room e.g. for sound mixing. Many sound services are fed into the console and then combined with voices, music, special effects for a uniform result. After a programme is recorded it is matched with the visuals and suitable sound and music adjustments are made.
The sound recordist for radio works under the direction of the producer and with a range of professional broadcasters, artists and musicians.
Transmission executives - The nation wide network of programmes, newscasts and other programmes on the radio and TV are possible due to the work transmission executives do. These specialists are required to put on the air, programmes scheduled for the listeners, viewers and even ensure that the quality of the transmission is good during the broadcast.
Monitoring an audio-visual transmission requires the additional task of overseeingthe picture quality of the programme. With the speaker's narration on the screen the transmission executive intersperses the conversation with appropriate pictures or spots relevant to the item on view. These spots have to be timed actually and not flashed on the screen at the wrong time. This is the primary task of the transmission executive. Transmission executives work as programme secretaries, dealing with members of the public, as part of office routine administration and public relations work.
There are several categories of programmes both on the radio and TV like features, interviews and music programmes which have been pre-recorded. The transmission executive collects the recorded material to be braodcast and gives it to the appropriate announcer of the programme. When the programme is on, the transmission executive rectifies flaws in transmission and logs all the details. He also makes the payment details and sends out contracts to artists and speakers. At times in the event of a missing piece or announcement the transmission executive takes over and if there is a technical snag he has to contact the representative engineer.
Newsmakers, Presenters and comperes
Radio and television announcers and newscasters - Announcers and newscasters in radio and television broadcasting are the most familiar. At small radio stations, most announcers introduce recorded music, present news, sports, weather and commercials, interview guests and report on community activities and other matters of interest to the audience. Often they “ad-lib” much of the commentary. In small stations, they may also operate the control board, sell commercial time to advertisers and write commercial and news copy. Many radio stations also have news reporters who broadcast directly from the scene.
Announcers at television stations and large radio stations usually specialize for particular kind of programs e.g. sports events, general news broadcasts or weather reports. They are not only familiar with these areas but, if a written script is required they may do the research and writing.
Television news broadcasting requires specialized "on-camera" personnel -anchor persons, television news reporters and broadcast news analysts. In large news operations, such as those of stations in major cities or national networks, all tnr^e often take part in the news broadcast. The news anchor or a pair of co-anchors presents the day's important news stories. Throughout the broadcast, the anchors, also called newscasters, introduce videotaped news or live transmission from on the scene reporters that provide indepth information on the event being covered.
Radio and television broadcast news analysts, called commentators, also present current news stories, but normally interpret them or discuss how specific events may effect the nation or us personally. Barkha Dutt's 'We the people' and Rajdeep Sardesai’s ‘The Big Fight’ address/debate current issues.
Reporters and Correspondents for Radio/TV news - Reporting can be for news-based programmes or other programmes related to business, sports, travel, fashion or entertainment. Reporting involves conceptualising a story idea, researching its aspects, choosing the location, organising and directing the shoot, scripting and finally supervising the edit. The electronic news gathering unit consists of the camera, a portable video tape recorder, lights and microphone. So, besides the camera person, the services of a sound recordists who operates the video tape recorder and a camera assistant who handles the lights are required.
Editor- After the camera work has been completed, the statements and interview recorded, the musical scores chosen, it is the editor's job to prune, put in sequence, juxtapose and highlight the shots even while inserting the commentary, sound effects and music to correlate with the visuals. The sophisticated machines available for editing these days allow a variety of ‘post production’ effects, which can meaningfully add to the impact of the programme. The editor's creative inputs and skill can make or mar a programme.
Comperes- Comperes are required for every entertainment programme. In India most comperes are bilingual. Compering is a challenging task, comperes have to be centre of action without being the centre of attraction. The compere controls the programme and regulates its mood. He sets the pace of the event and ensures its success yet he must never be in the limelight. The work of a compere requires researching about the event, occasion or organization. The work requires the ability for rapid reading, massive retention and a quick grasp of the background of any event. Maintaining the sequence of presentations, time factor are the comperes' responsibilities.
Presenters- Programmes on Radio and TV have varied themes. The presenter blends the programme content with relevant fillers in the form of anecdotes, stories, narratives, songs to create the necessary mood and enrich the programme.
Disc Jockeys and Video Jockeys- Music and entertainment are synonymous. Disc and video jockeys are experts in handling entertainment through the right mix of music. Be it on the radio, television or for live entertainment jockeying has become a profession, which aims to create a desired mood, perpetuate the desired emotions and ambience and make entertainment not just fun but a real experience.
Work in radio and television stations is usually very pleasant. Modern facilities and technologies make working convenient and precise. Temperature and dust control are an important feature of maintenance of technical electronic equipment.
`The job of announcers, newscasters takes them close to great and famous people. Being a team member of an important communication network makes the newscaster keenly aware of current issues, viewpoints and opinions. The job requires working even irregular hours. During all night relay of programmes announcers may be alone in the studio.
Announcers after a period of time become well known personalities and have to attend community functions. People recognise them. Programme directors in radio and television work fixed hours but often work till late at night. They work under considerable pressure as they must maintain precise timing, meet and commission performers, meet sponsors and get other staff to work appropriately. Reporters and Correspondents work under both pressure and trying conditions. Irregular and overtime schedules are quite common as latest news and developments have to be also reported. Travel, long duration waiting is part of the schedule in a days work.
To work in a team production people need to have good communication skills. The most important quality for production people is to be good organizers with initiative and the ability to work on their own. They need sensitivity, tact and confidence while dealings with others. Clarity in speech, normal eyesight and colour vision are necessary for PAs in television and clear speech and diction for the radio. PAs should be able to remain calm when working under pressure and should react quickly in an emergency. Good concentration is essential. Pleasant temperament is an asset.
Researchers need to be innovative and enthusiastic, inquisitive and resourceful as well as methodical and painstaking in their work. They must then be able to organize this material expressing themselves clearly in writing. Researchers should be able to draw on reference sources and production processes. Researchers need excellent interpersonal skills. They should be outgoing, capable of building good rapport with people and should be able to draw information from them. Researchers are generally warm, receptive and mature.
Floor Managers should have good communication skills and should be friendly and outgoing. They should be capable of giving precise instructions to other members of the production team, as well as to receive guests. Floor Managers need an understanding of the technical aspects of production to work with the technical crew. Leadership qualities, physical stamina are important for this work.
Technical expertise, artistic ability, an appreciation of colour, shape and composition and an understanding of electronics and optics are the key elements for success with the camera. Working under pressure, in dangerous areas and filming distressing scenes such as those of fire or famine are very common for the camera person. Hence they should be able to withstand such pressures. Camera persons have to work in a team. Hence good communication skills are required. They may also need considerable initiative to be able to work on their own, for instance when recording news items. News cameramen/women need to be adaptable and should be able to carry out many functions.
Sound technicians need an appreciation of music and creativity, knowledge, technical ability and an understanding of electronics. Working in difficult distressing situations is a common element of this work. They should be able to concentrate, work with a variety of people, have the necessary communication skills that are essential for being efficient.
A person who can get along with others and who is happy to be of service to people is the one who will make a success of his profession. Knowledge of the major events around the country and world and the habit of updating is expected. Since the work requires keeping in close touch with members of the public who come to the station in their capacity as speakers or programme makers, the transmission executive is expected to be good in public relations. The hours of duty being flexible, a constitutionally robust person is needed to overcome the initial hurdle of an upset sleep cycle. Hours of duty vary and transmission executive on duty cannot leave the premises till such time as his reliever takes over charge from him, hence, dedication and devotion to duty is paramount.
Reporters must possess a command over the language of use. The ability to write concisely, the art of conveying the maximum information in the minimum time is the key to success in television. Verbosity is not needed for entry into the medium.
A television reporter's ability to see and think beyond the obvious and approach an issue from a different angle is what separates an outstanding television journalist from the average. They are forever keen to catch news, have keen visual sense with a precise language. Ability to communicate clearly to tell camera person and editor the sequencing of the story is required. It is imperative for a reproter to stick to a deadline and assigned time.
Newscasters need excellent speech, verbal ability, diction, pronunciation and a good background in journalism. Ability to work under strict time bound programme, ability to be composed under stress, adaptability, intelligence and quick response will be required.
Anchoring is the art of presenting or delivering a programme. It is, in other words introducing the audience to the programme. An anchor can make or mar a programme. Presenters need a well-modulated voice, good timing, excellent pronunciation, correct language usage, a warm, pleasant personality and a neat and precise appearance (for television). A good blend of a pleasant appearance and voice with an appealing style usually determines success.
The anchor should be telegenic, articulate and should have control over delivery of words. Besides diction and a quality of expression suitability to the programme is important. Comperes have to be versatile. With an outgoing temperament, excellent communication skills and a smart disposition they can do well. Reaction time should be rapid and general mental ability good. Good perception, leadership qualities are an asset as is a good appearance.
DJs And VJs must have strong interest in music, lively inquiring minds, good communication skills, pleasant, well-controlled voice, good timing, excellent pronunciation, and correct English usage (Hindi/other regional languages for regional audiences), total lack of self-consciousness, plenty of verve and vivaciousness are other attributes which are essential.
Employment opportunities exist both with privates and national media. While private channels scoot for talent the national media has structured recruitment.
Producers, production assistants, floor managers, researchers and scriptwriters are graduates who have an interest in this field of work. They could be post graduates in Mass Communication or trained from the Film and Television Institutes. Doordarshan recruits Programme Executives (PEs) through the UPSC. This is a Group ‘B’ post and postgraduates in Literature, Music, Dance, Education etc. in the 21-30 age group are eligible. The Programme executives are from the Transmission Executive cadre. Production Assistants - The official media recruits directly graduates/post graduates who have knowledge of a regional language besides English and Hindi. Knowledge of cultural traditions of India and some production sense are useful. There is scope of free-lancing both in official as well as in private Production. Selection is on the basis of an interview.
Cameramen- Cinematography, Videography are desirable qualification. In DD Grade II recruitment for cameraman are made through UPSC.
Script Writers- Script Writers for the electronic media need a special approach.Formal training helps in effective writing. Creative writing course is conducted by Indira Gandhi National Open University.
Sound Technician/Engineers - The Sound Engineer is required to be a Graduate in Physics or Electronics. An interest in audiography, degree or diploma courses in the subject are useful. Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, the Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu, Chennai and the Bangalore Institute of Film and Television Technology, Bangalore, Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi conduct a course in mass communication. Details of Institutions are given later in this Chapter.
Generally, a science background at +2, is preferred for admission to the audiography courses.
Transmission Executive with National TV and All India Radio - In order to join this select group, one has to be within 21-30 years of age and at least a graduate. These posts are advertised in the newspapers from time to time. Since the nature of this work is closely related to the arts and the current trends in the country and the world, a prospective transmission person should have had some experience or training in advertising, copy-writing and journalism.
A written examination is conducted by the Staff Selection Committee (SSC) organised by the UPSC. The test consists of papers in English, Hindi, reasoning ability and general knowledge. There is no test of mathematical ability and hence candidates with a flair for literature and the humanities can volunteer for this examination.
The selection of these officials is conducted zonally and postings are given within their zone of recruitment. Thus a Transmission Executive for Delhi stations is kept within the Delhi Radio Station in various sections for on-the-job training. He may be posted to the Delhi 'B' Station, which broadcasts to the local station of Delhi. He can be a part of the national channel or can join the External Services Division of the Radio. In addition, there are other areas of transmissions like Commercial Broadcasting Service and the educational broadcasts for schools and colleges.
Promotions - A transmission executive after seven to ten years is promoted to the level of Programme Executive. The next jump is to the post of Assistant Station Director, followed by the senior scale appointment of Station Director. At this stage the officer enters into the cadre of selection grade appointment. While the post is still that of Station Director, the job carries much greater responsibilities as this officer is given charge of major stations of the AIR. By this time, the officer has had exposure of working in all the major areas of the broadcast network and his next appointment is, therefore, to the rank of Deputy Director General. From then on, the topmost rung is of Director General.
Radio/TV Announcers and Newscasters - For All India Radio and Doordarshan selection is made on the basis of a written test. Voice test, screen test and interview for All India Radio and for TV are also taken. The test may involve writing announcements, presentation of scripts for special programmes, audiences, etc.
A newsreader is expected to have qualifications similar to those of the announcer with added emphasis on general awareness and good pronunciation. Since news is always 'live' quick responses to unexpected situations is required.
Entry into private production is possible as commentators, comperes, interviewers and script readers. Doordarshan also empanels stringers, which is done by individual stations.
Reporters and Correspondents for radio/TV news - People with good command over language and a feel for the medium are recruited for these positions to feed information from various places. Correspondents are employed by PTI and by video magazines like Newstrack, India View and Eyewitness. A Degree or Diploma in Journalism or Mass Communication is necessary. Sound Technician is a B.Sc. in Physics/Electronics or a Diploma Holder in Electronics. The camera assistant is required to have passed the 10+2. The camera assistant generally learns on the job and quite often graduates to the position of a earneraperson. A steady hand is a must for becoming" a camera assistant as he may be required to hold up lights for a longtime at a stretch.
Editors- For editing professional training can be attained after graduation, preferably in science subjects. The best places are Pune, Bangalore and Chennai Film Institutes. Jamia Millia Islamia imparts adequate training in the mass media communications.
Comperes/Presenters- The only course for compering in the country is conducted by Xavier Institute of Communications in Mumbai and is called ABCD, which stands for Announcing, Broadcasting, Compering and Dubbing. The course, however, only helps in teaching the craft. The art itself is innate, embodying phrases and inflection, complemented by body language that transmits a compelling message to the assembly.
The presenter's job is rarely advertised. Sometimes, however, the radio stations and television studios do insert advertisements in local/national dailies or electronic media-related journals/publications.
DJs and VJs jobs come through with participation in talent scouting contests or with contacts who can provide a lucky break. You can audition for radio and television broadcasting stations/radios.
Refer to courses given in the chapters 'Print Journalism' and 'Film Making'.