Lauren Taylor is independent Melbourne radio station Triple R‘s Live to Air Co-ordinator. Her responsibilities include managing live performances at the station, as well as co-hosting the Breaking and Entering program every Thursday.
Having kindly offered us a window into her world this week, Lauren shared with us, in her own words, what went down. Read on as she bids a sad farewell to a co-worker, debates the merits of Pavlova for breakfast, and shifts into research mode in preparation for her interview with the incomparable Peaches…
As the Live to Air Co-ordinator at Triple R, my role includes producing all the activity in our live Performance Space, as well as managing the station’s Outside Broadcast events. Every week is different, and while my hours are pretty regular they do tend to change around a bit depending on what Live to Air we have that week. Sometimes it can involve weekend work, sometimes super late nights or particularly early starts given Live to Airs can fall in any show – we make radio 24/7!
I really enjoy the role as it allows me to be creative and work alongside our fabulous broadcasters to produce content that reflects and celebrates our diverse music and arts communities. I also present Triple R’s Thursday drive program Breaking and Entering with my Co-Host Simon Winkler which focuses on new releases.
Kick start my week on a sugar high with an incredible Pavlova breakfast in the Triple R kitchen for a long term colleague who sadly finishes up today after seven years with the station. Then go back to my desk and crash pretty quickly in a sugar coma.
With things really ramping up at this time of year in my role, I become slightly anxious that I may not have enough hours to get everything done that I need to accomplish. With the public holiday on Friday, a short week looms ahead, which really isn’t helping the situation. I concede that a giant slice of Pavlova first thing in the morning, (while it felt so right at the time) may have not been the smartest move.
I reflect on the fact that it’s only Monday morning and I’m already making some bad life decisions. But I push forward.
Monday mornings are normally pretty busy for me. Our e-newsletter goes out at lunchtime and I make sure everything I need to promote as a priority is listed in the brief. We’re just about to announce this morning that Robert Forster will be Live in Conversation during Wednesday drive show Test Pattern, and as details were only finalised on Friday afternoon, most of my morning is spent putting the promotional campaign together for the announce. This includes scripting for online and on-air spots, putting together the online competition and scheduling live-read giveaways across various shows. On Monday mornings I also look at how giveaways and competitions for Live to Airs have gone over the weekend and work out if anything we’ve got coming up needs some extra attention.
I’m really lucky that as part of my role I get to work with an incredible team of dedicated volunteers, and look forward to catching up with them for our weekly Live to Airs. There’s one coming up this week on Wednesday, so I also take a look at my call-out email for volunteers to make sure I have a full team. If not, I’ll send follow ups targeting specific roles that still need to be filled.
I also make sure I’ve received everything I need to in terms of paperwork and tech specs for the upcoming Live to Air and prepare the team run sheet, which I’ll send out first thing Tuesday.
The rest of the day is filled answering emails, planning for upcoming live to airs, putting together contracts, and looking ahead for future options.
Things do get emotional toward the end of the day as all staff gather around to farewell my quadrangle buddy and our Volunteers Coordinator, Lyndal Peake, who’s winding up at Triple R after seven years with the station. Speeches, hugs and tears aplenty as we celebrate her incredible contribution to the station.
I head home to do some preparation for my radio show which is coming up on Thursday, and put the final touches on an edit of a pre-recorded interview I conducted last week with LA experimental pop artist Julia Holter.
I send out the run sheet for tomorrow’s Live to Air and make sure the crew, band and broadcasters are across all the information they’ll need. I then do a call-out via our Live to Air volunteer list so I can start putting together the team for the Robert Forster event next week.
With most of tomorrow taken out with the live to air, and Thursday a shorter day for me due to my radio show, I try to smash out as many emails and as much work as I can in advance. This covers all of our upcoming Live to Airs scheduled over the next few weeks, including Robert Forster, a live to air we’re about to announce with Dan Kelly and an upcoming Outside Broadcast at Out on the Weekend Festival.
I have a weekly meeting with my Station Manager on Tuesday afternoons, so I finalise my list of notes to go over with him. I also catch up with our Venue Manager today about our upcoming live broadcast at Out on the Weekend – we talk through the gear and vehicles required, and work out a of a plan of attack.
After work I go home to relax for a bit and then do some more work on my radio show. I have an interview scheduled on Thursday with electroclash icon Peaches, which I’m quite nervous about. I know it will take many hours of research as there’s so much to cover, but get to work on watching and reading all I can in preparation.
It’s a particularly early start at work today, 7.45am, as I make sure everything is prepared for this morning’s Cry Baby Session with the wonderful Emma Donovan and The Putbacks. I buy a box of freshly baked muffins for my hard working crew from Milkwood, a lovely café across the road. The band are due to arrive at 8.30am for a sound-check with our team.
There’s a lot to be done before the Live to Air kicks off at 11.30am, and we’re expecting a full room of parents and kids for this school holiday event. First priority is to make sure everyone in the band has arrived with all their gear and that they’re well caffeinated before starting sound-check. I brief the band as to how the event will run and grab a setlist for our team to follow.
While the band sound-check, other pre-show preparations today include charging video cameras, testing and distributing walkie talkies, scheduling social media posts, recording radio IDs to play mid-set, sharpening pencils and laying out some colouring-in material for the kids, moving the baby-change table into the Performance Space cubicles, and making sure we’re all ready when doors open for show time.
A big part of my role is artist liaison and checking in with everyone to make sure they have what they need. I need to be across every aspect of the show, to make sure each part is running smoothly in the lead-up and during the event. For this job you have to constantly think ahead about any issues that might arise, to carefully anticipate anything that could potentially go wrong with any element of the broadcast. However, it’s a given that even when you feel you’ve prepared for the worst, something unexpected normally comes up, so it’s important to remain flexible and be able to think on your feet when you’re faced with a situation beyond your control.
I also work with our broadcasters to not only curate the Live to Air events, but also to make sure they’re comfortable with the process, which involves crossing to the Performance Space during their show and introducing the band from the stage. We’ve been thrown a bit of a curveball this morning with how we’ll cross back to the studio from the Performance Space, needing to time it precisely with the RMIT news at the top of the hour. The studio monitor, broadcaster and I work together to come up with a few different plans around this and act out a few possible scenarios.
I run a team pre-show catch up with the Live to Air team to make sure we’re all on the same page and that there were no issues during sound-check. I have a last minute catch up with the band before getting them on stage, then 11.30am sharp and it’s show time! The band are fantastic, the kids are loving it, it’s a great vibe in the room and I ’m relieved when the show runs completely smoothly and turns out to be a great success. Given the early start this morning, I’m able to get out of work slightly earlier than normal and head home for a listening session and finalise preparations for my show tomorrow.
Thursdays I only work a half day in the office because of my radio show and make up those hours during the week. Before work, I catch up with my co-host Simon Winkler to go over some questions before our interview today with Peaches (which we’re both slightly anxious about being big fans).
A much as I can I try to tie everything up work wise, as it’s my last chance before the public holiday tomorrow. I thank the band for everything yesterday and organise to get them a copy of the recording. I also have a quick check-in with members of our programming and music department as we’ll miss out on tomorrow’s regular meeting.
Before my show I have a last minute listening session in the afternoon, going through some new releases and preparing some track brackets and notes . Simon and I are relieved when the phone interview with Peaches goes really well. I’ll prepare the edit over the weekend to play on our show next week. 4pm, we hit the Triple R airwaves with Breaking and Entering, presenting three hours of new music with a special feature on the work of Julia Holter. Each week Simon brings along a new snack to try, and I spend a lot of time off-air today eating popcorn in studio (not the best idea when you’re about to talk on the microphone, but together it seems we’re learning that I make some bad life decisions occasionally).
The glorious long weekend begins. Gardening, swimming, catching up with friends and blissing out in the sunshine.
The above was pretty good I’ve got to say!
Can’t think of a particular lowlight… maybe falling off the wagon at the start of the week and learning to live with early morning pavlova. regret.
Words of wisdom
Be willing to experiment and occasionally fail. Set your intentions and work hard, but try to have a healthy detachment from the outcome.