What sort of training for new presenters do stations deliver?

I received a bizarre email yesterday from a station that I help from time to time about training.

They are based the other side of the country to me and a couple of months ago a couple of their management team were speaking to me about training and so I invited them along to a little Ofcom course I run and gave them all my training material.

They went off happy and I have updated them with the material as I do revisions. I thought they were using it.

Anyway they are rather upset as someone had sent them a recording of their breakfast presenter making a serious mistake on air which apparently has now been sent to Ofcom also. I am not going to name the station or describe the mistake but it is enough to say it is blatantly obvious the training has not been delivered.

I did question this and they said they did not have the time to deliver a multi hour course for me presenters so instead do a 10 minute induction course.

The presenter involved apparently is now threatening the station because they feel their career has been damaged due to lack of training as they rightfully say even the most basic training would have prevented this mistake. They blame the management who they say they trusted. They are threatening legal action against the station now.

Long story short. What sort of training do stations deliver? I deal with stations generally (or so I thought) that have an extensive training programme. However I am aware of others locally who deliver nothing, particularly for RSLs. One routine RSL locally does no training and cuts presenters off mid conversation if they transgress (I have heard this myself on one occasion).

Do stations generally wing it? Is this just reflective of a laid back management style? Are Ofcom even much bothered?

I do note both community and commercial licences place great emphasis on training. Is Ofcom detached from the reality of what goes on?

Any thoughts on this appreciated.


I doubt that the trainee presenter would have any case against the station with regard to their career being damaged. On what grounds - loss of future earnings? That would be impossible to prove.

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True enough, Bill - but it is a salutary warning to us to make sure we have accurate and up-to-date training records…!


I do wonder to what degree stations do training however. How do stations strike the balance between ensuring education and compliance and also keeping the presenter’s unique style?

How many stations see unique style as a good thing or a bad thing?

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While each station will want to deliver it’s training in a way that is suited to its local resources, needs and the cultural fit of the volunteers, it might be useful to think about a set of common standards and quality thresholds that can be used to define the learning process in a way that is accessible and achieves the required results - a well informed group of volunteers who can broadcast safely, while still developing engaging and chalenging content.

In schools, colleges and universities, this kind of learning is being practiced all the time. To hear from active and experiences practioners and trainers, such as @TerryLee @Richard_Berry @salvatore.scifo @gkhamkar @CarolineM, and @JoC (and many more), would be increadibly valuable. Perhaps this could be a topic of discussion at a joint event with the Radio Studies Network?


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Hi Rob
Thank you for highlighting that the community sector itself might also be interested in how we teach radio practice. We have discussed holding an event on this theme already amongst a number of Radio Studies Network bods and indeed there are plans afoot but nothing immediate. Some of us are meeting up on Monday in Sunderland for the Radio Day at the University there, I’ll try to pick some brains!
Best wishes

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