It is important that community radio has clear standards or benchmarks for what we consider to be competence at the various certificate levels.
A network of Registered Training Organisations in community broadcasting (BIMA, Radio Adelaide and CBAA) is currently working on examples of completed assessment tasks which work as “benchmarks” so that assessors around the country are on the same page. In this article we look at one of the more difficult decisions for an assessor to make in a radio station. It’s all about a learner’s performance as a presenter.
We all know that learning how to present a radio program is no easy task. Only exceptional people take to the microphone like a fish to water. Most people require at least two sessions of training to start to understand engaging presentation techniques, this is quite aside from the skill of being able to do it. In addition to this, they also need to practice outside of class to get over their nerves and to develop the skills required for a range of presentation styles.
So how good is good enough for the purposes of assessment?
First of all it is important to look at how the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) sees the two certificate levels.
|Demonstrate basic operational knowledge in a moderate range of areas||Demonstrate some relevant theoretical knowledge|
|Apply a defined range of skills||Apply a range of well-developed skills|
|Apply known solutions to a limited range of predictable problems||Apply known solutions to a variety of predictable problems|
|Perform a range of tasks where choice between a limited range of options is required||Perform processes that require a range of well-developed skills where some discretion and judgement is required|
|Assess and record information from varied sources||Interpret available information using discretion and judgement|
|Take limited responsibility for own outputs in work and learning||Take responsibility for own outputs in work and learning|
|Take limited responsibility for the output of others.|
The table above gives some insight into the different learning outcomes expected for Certificate II and III learners but what does this mean if I am looking at someone’s presentation skills? The unit for presentation is CUFAIR201A Develop techniques for presenting information on radio. You can check for the details at the NTIS website. The unit is available to both Certificate II and III learners.
The following table looks at what might be the differences between a Certificate II presenter and Certificate III presenter. They are only examples, we could make many more comparisons but it is designed to give you some idea of the different benchmarks.
Possible learning outcomes
|Certificate III||Possible learning outcomes
|Demonstrate basic operational knowledge in a moderate range of areas||Knows how to turn a mic on and off, how to handle hand held mics||Demonstrate some relevant theoretical knowledge||Understands the pick up patterns of mics, different types of mics, understands the concept of talking to one person|
|Apply a defined range of skills||Able to present a music show with simple talk content, live read of a community announcement||Apply a range of well-developed skills||Able to present a radio show with talk content including interviews, ad lib intro to guests, live reads, sponsorship etc.|
|Apply known solutions to a limited range of predictable problems||Popping ps, too loud, too close to the mic, mic noise, wrong mic on||Apply known solutions to a variety of predictable problems||Popping ps, too loud, too close to mic, changing from stereo to mono, mic att, connections and leads problems, mic noise, wrong mic on, adjusting guests' mics etc.|
|Perform a range of tasks where choice between a limited range of options is required||Read a series of community announcements given to them arranging the announcements in their own order.||Perform processes that require a range of well-developed skills where some discretion and judgement is required||Compile and present a community announcement bulletin from a series of sources.|
|Assess and record information from varied sources||Reporting mic faults||Interpret available information using discretion and judgement||Checking that mic is connected properly, fader is on etc before reporting fault|
|Take limited responsibility for own outputs in work and learning||Can be left in the studio alone but requires some monitoring||Take responsibility for own outputs in work and learning||Can be left in the studio alone with no monitoring required|
|Take limited responsibility for the output of others.||Can deal with guests on air and co-presenters|
Taking the above into account, it should be emerging for you that someone who is being assessed at a Certificate III level for presentation would need to show evidence that they are capable of presenting a radio program with a variety of talk content including:
- Community announcements and live sponsorship reads
- Ad libs- introductions to interviews, songs etc
- Scripts –read in a manner which sounds conversational
- Interviews-dealing with guests and co-presenters
They should also understand how a microphone works, the fundamentals of media law as it impacts on radio presenters and the principles of what makes a good talk segment (ie length, structure etc).
It should be becoming obvious that for someone to successfully reach a Certificate III level as a presenter, they should already have been presenting a radio program at your station for at least three months and preferably for longer than 6 months.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule…the people who take to the microphone and the art of presentation quickly. In these cases you may find that their prior experience includes theatre or performance, facilitation and training or some activity(skill) that requires addressing audiences. Also, people who have grown up listening to a lot of radio often understand (knowledge) of what makes a good presenter!