METRO FM: So, sitting here with Prudence? What is your official title, Prudence?
Prudence: Well, some call it “The executive producer,” but I’m the content producer of The Great Escape – the new content producer of The Great Escape. Only started on Monday, yeah.
METRO FM: So how long had The Great Escape been going for before you got involved? Just to give me some context here.
Prudence: An idea? Let me see… I started off here at Metro FM as the producer of ‘The Touch Down’ and at the time Amon was on between twelve and three but, at the time he was with Thato, and I think they called it The Secret Ingredient, TSI, yeah… So, it was TSI with Thato and then they changed the name but Amon stayed when Siphokazi joined Amon.
METRO FM: So how long ago was this?
Prudence: I started in 2011, right here on Metro FM. Amon was here at that-during that slot 2011 but, the name changed but Amon has been there so he’s the founding member [Laughs].
METRO FM: So, he’s the furniture? One of the mics sitting here?
Prudence: Yeah, yeah!
METRO FM: Okay, look, form a fans perspective, what they don’t know about, is that, and I have only been proven to this in the last few days, is that you hear everything on the radio and it sounds spontaneous and it sounds like everything is just, you know, top of the head sort of stuff, however, there’s producers behind the scenes here. Give us a day in the life of a producer. What does it take to get one of these shows airing?
Prudence: Okay, so normally it takes a lot and the production normally takes a day prior the actual show. So, uh, pre- the day. So, let’s say, uh, maybe on a Monday the show is gonna end between twelve and three, on Sunday, I as a producer will then start gathering then the content or get an idea of the kind of content we’re gonna be covering.
METRO FM: So, for the entire week or?
Prudence: No, for the next day. For just three hours.
METRO FM: So, Sunday is a work day?
Prudence: Yeah! Every day is a work day because you have to obviously foresee what’s going to happen, so what happens is that you’re gonna plan for the entire week, entire month and the day. But you don’t have to be putting everything on paper, like jotting it down word for word for the month or week, but for the next say you’d have to. So, for the next day you’d start gathering content that you would put into a script and obviously, there’s a skeleton that we utilise because everything needs to happen at a particular time because obviously there’s news, there’s Sports at the Top of the Hour, uh, sorry, uh, geez, The Great Escape. So, from twelve, one two we have our news and sports and uh, ten-past, twenty-past, twenty-to, ten-to, that’s the ad break and then we would have everything in-between and then obviously making, uh, provision for songs and content that needs to then be added. Because with everything that I’ve mentioned, that’s then we would then slot in the content and the content would depend on the day.
The days are themed so, you would decide that on Monday you want to cover current affairs, Tuesday lifestyle. So, it depends. And obviously in terms of the features. Each show has features of that segment that you do. Either on a regular basis or a daily basis. Those are called features. So, you would then, put the script together in accordance to what the show is doing for that particular day and then find content. So, its interviews, getting the person that you’re gonna be interviewing, getting the profile and, uh, putting a structure of how the interview will go. So, having a direction for the interview so that is not really nearly over the place. So, it needs to be structured, coming up with some of the questions and obviously getting competitions. Competitions we get them from sales.
METRO FM: Oh, from commercial enterprises, etc.?
Prudence: Yes. Exactly. So, we put the competitions into the script, knowing where exactly they would go and then obviously then put the fillers, which is like the links, maybe we’re gonna chat about what’s happening on that day. So yeah…
METRO FM: So, like the new website a million times a day?
Prudence: Yeah! New website, exactly. So, that’s how we’d put the whole show together.
METRO FM: Okay but, obviously, this all very collaborative with the hosts, right? Or is this more like you create a structure of which you then you work with them to sort of fill that structure, so to speak?
Prudence: Okay, ordinarily, what happens as a producer, you would have a conversation with the presenter and the host that this is what you wanna do and you need obviously their buy-in, because obviously they’re the ones that are executing, so normally, I would then come up with everything got the show then, uh, get their buy in, they check and when they are happy – thumbs up – we execute and at times they would obviously then contribute and then I would utilise that, add it to the script and then we are all happy.
METRO FM: Okay, cool. So, coming back to what I think the most important part of radio is, but is also subjective, how is the playlist put together? Who puts together the tracks? How does that all work?
Prudence: Okay, so there is a music compiler. That’s the music department. So, we don’t even touch it down here and people are not aware of that. We don’t touch the playlist, unless obviously have features that are music features, that’s where then we would have to add songs, change songs around, switvh them up, but that is for features, but in terms of the entire track-listing for the entire day or the entire show, it’s the music complier.
METRO FM: Okay, so, we’ve got a far better perception of what goes on behind the scenes. Uh, I mean the great escape. It’s really cool man, I mean there’s a lot of chemistry that goes on between those two, they are a good pairing, right? How is it working with them? Does that chemistry extend to the backroom?
Prudence: It does, it does. Oh, before I forget – so, we mentioned what happens prior to the show in terms of production, but during the show, the producer now becomes a director. So, you direct the entire show, make sure they follow the script as is, especially in terms of time. Playing ads on time is vital, because you know clients are listening and they’ve paid a lot of money for that so you need to make sure that ads play on time and music is played in accordance to what is on the playlist and if it means we have to drop certain things to accommodate others, that exactly what you do. So, you direct. Also, ensuring that things don’t go overboard like an interview. Sometimes people get excited, especially as a presenter, because I’m also a presenter, you lose track of time, then you carry on with an interview – you’re not seeing the time – so, the producer also plays the role of being the director in ensuring that things are done appropriately. Calling listeners to make sure that they are participate in topics or for competitions. Make sure everything runs smoothly. There are actually multiple roles put together into one, hence they would actually call it an executive producer.
METRO FM: You’re the mother of the show, you keep the kids in line, right?
Prudence: …and you know what’s the funny thing, normally the producer is the youngest in the team but, they mother everybody. But yeah, the great escape is awesome. The good thing is that I’ve worked with the team already. I’ve stood in a couple of times when the previous producer was not around. So, I’m familiar with the team, with the structure of the show. Although we will be making a couple of changes, just to add that ‘Prudence Spice’ but, the chemistry is amazing. I know Amon and Pearl separately, individually in our own personal capacities. So, working with them is just amazing – they are amazing people generally. On a professional front, they are very professional so it makes work seamless, smooth, lovely and I guess we are all very open people, spiritual people, so we get along on a lot of fronts. So, it’s been a very exciting. I know, it’s been three days, but I’m loving and I know by next year, this time, I’ll still be saying the same thing.
METRO FM: That’s great, that’s awesome.
Prudence: …and they paid me to say that [laughs].
METRO FM: Okay. Ending off the, I guess, my final question to you is, uh I admit I don’t know that much on how the radio works, but I believe you have your own show as well on the weekends. Is it pretty unique-a-case that a producer has their own show as well? Is it, you know, do producers generally have a day job and then a night job? How does this work?
Prudence: Okay. To be honest with you, they go hand in hand. When I joined Metro FM, my background was of a presenter. I was a presenter before I was a producer and then I went back to presenting and its quite normal to come across a producer-slash-presenter. It happens in TV and it happens in radio. I know I’m not the only one here at Metro FM. Okay I’m a content producer, so there’s also Naked DJ, he’s the technical Producer of the front row and he’s also a presenter on his own show, The Audiogasm and with me the producer on The Great Escape, presenter of The After Party. I can’t think of a lot right now but I know a lot of the producers have stood in as presenters right here on Metro FM, even on TV it happens. Sometimes they even present insets that they produce. It’s a package deal. Like me, I’m a trained speaker, so I come from a speaking background so going into production was just the business side of it. And yes, most of us here at Metro FM, we have a lot of things that we do on the side. You find a lot of the presenters have office jobs, not necessarily in the corporate world, but we do other jobs. So, it’s very usual and normal to come across that.
METRO FM: Okay. So, fans what we have to take from that is the producers are the swiss-army knives.
Prudence: and especially the females. We are going to take over this industry! Presenters-slash-producers, we are taking over.
METRO FM: there you are. Bring it on. Stay away, she can fight!