Jane Garvey, John Humphrys, Nicky Campbell, Clive Anderson. They may be familiar to us as the on air talent but who is the talent behind the scenes, pressing the buttons and making sure the presenters and their guests sound fantastic on air?
Denise Roach talks to three radio studio managers, Ian Deeley, Bob Nettles and Ian Painter, about why the studio manager is so integral to speech, news and other radio recordings. They give their tips on sound recording and editing for anyone wanting to create great sound, whether they’re a radio producer or a bedroom based podcast maker. From getting the recording levels right to advice on digital editing, they talk about the skills needed to oversee the running of the studios and handle live output as well as edit and mix pre-recorded packages and shows. They also reveal how the role is often much more than getting the sound right, as great interpersonal skills are needed for working with producers, talent and guests to get a show on air.
"We're like the glue between the presenter and the producer." – Ian Deeley
The panel also talk about routes into the studio manager role, and explain how there are many similar career paths in the commercial sector, including working with audio outside of radio altogether. And although they were an all male panel, all are keen to point out their many female colleagues working successfully in the field.
Ian Painter is a studio manager specialising in recording live music sessions for BBC Radio1, 1Xtra, 6 Music and Radio 2. His department, BBC Music & Entertainment, covers comedy recordings, classical concerts and live music sessions across BBC Network radio.
Bob Nettles is a senior studio manager with over 32 years at the BBC. He works for radio and music factual producing programmes as diverse as Woman’s Hour, Outlook, Loose Ends and Desert Island Discs (including the Aung San Suu Kyi recording in Burma). He’s also worked in sport and on big ceremonial occasions, with career credits including the Atlanta Olympics, Princess Diana's and Margaret Thatcher’s funerals and the election of George Bush Sr.
Ian Deeley works on radio news programmes across BBC Radio 4, World Service and the Asian Network. Previously he’s worked on BBC Radio 5 live, Radio 2, as a producer at Radio 1 & 1Xtra and for local radio stations BBC West Midlands, Radio Gloucestershire and Heart West Midlands.