THE WBLD OPERATOR GUIDELINES
(Revised August, 2003)
(NOTE TO ALL RETURNING DJs: There have been numerous changes in the operator guidelines. It is MANDATORY that you read, understand and follow the procedures outlined in these Operator Guidelines, regardless of whether you are a "veteran" of the staff)
THE WBLD MISSION STATEMENT
"Radio Station WBLD is a hands-on broadcast educational facility that ensures that all students in the West Bloomfield School District be provided the opportunity to learn the field of Radio Broadcasting and its various adjacent fields. This includes, but is not limited to, public speaking, audio and music production, studio operations and technology, and related fields."
WHAT IS WBLD-FM?
WBLD IS A Federally licensed, student-operated FM radio station (89.3 Mhz) that broadcasts in and on behalf of the West Bloomfield, Michigan school district. WBLD is on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week during regular school sessions, and for a limited time during the summer months.
WBLD radio offers both after school and lunchtime air shifts for all students enrolled at West Bloomfield High School for activity credit. Shifts during the school day (3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th hours) may be taken as an elective English Independent Study credit; however both the Station Manager and Counselor must give approval.
WBLD is a member of the Michigan Association of Educational Broadcasters, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and is a reporting station for CMJ Magazine (The College Music Journal)
Everything that YOU, as a DJ on WBLD-FM, do ON and OFF the air (the music you play, the way you treat callers and visitors, and your overall conduct on the air) represents WBLD, THE West Bloomfield School District, its staff and the community.
The Federal Communications Commission (or FCC, the governing body that grants and regulates on-air broadcasting rights) considers the granting of our license a PRIVILEGE, and you should treat the radio station as such. Comparatively speaking there are only a small number of High School FM Radio Stations in this country, and West Bloomfield Schools is fortunate to be one of those licensees.
Air Staff Requirements
ALL on-air work on WBLD is to be done by students who are currently enrolled at West Bloomfield High School of the West Bloomfield Schools. NO ONE ELSE may be on the air, either as a guest or a DJ without the specific permission of the Station Manager. This includes, but is not limited to, WBLD/WBHS alumni and community members.
Your conduct on WBLD
It is expected that WBLDíS announcers conduct themselves in a MATURE fashion both on and off the air. This includes: what you say on the air, following the instructions of the Station Manager and other District staff members; and your behavior at school functions while representing WBLD and the District. You are expected to follow all school and district rules and regulations at all times while on the premises of the radio station. Any violation of school and district rules will result in your suspension or dismissal from the Radio Station staff and possible other disciplinary action, including suspension from school. Donít embarrass yourself or the radio station and school staff by acting in an unprofessional manner or doing childish stunts on the radio station or in the studios. IT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
Training and Auditions
It is STRONGLY recommended that any student who wants to be a WBLD DJ take the Broadcasting I course offered at West Bloomfield High School before attempting to go on the air. This course offers a valuable overview and necessary information about many aspects of broadcasting and radio utilized on a daily basis at WBLD.
There is no formal audition necessary for anyone who has taken Broadcasting I or II who wish to be on the air as a WBLD announcer. However, these students must still be trained in the basics of on-air broadcasting as they apply to WBLD and its equipment. If a student has NOT taken either Broadcasting class, both an audition and a training/probationary period will be necessary. That process is described in another section of this Guideline.
It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the radio stationís Production room. The Production room is used for producing the morning announcements and radio station promos, edit music, record interviews and portions of programs for later airing. We have recently upgraded the production room to include an Akai DR-4 (multichannel Hard Drive recorder) and Eventide DX-3000 (an effects processor)
If there are more students than shifts available, returning staff members will receive their choice of shifts based on seniority (the date of their first, formal assigned shift on WBLD). Those prospective DJs who HAVE TAKEN Broadcasting I or II will receive priority on the remaining shifts over those who have not.
AT NO TIME is anyone GUARANTEED an on-air shift, regardless of past experience on or off WBLD.
ALL on-air shifts will be made entirely at the discretion of the Station Manager, and his decision on scheduling is FINAL.
As stated above, seniority is based on an announcerís first official assigned shift on WBLD. If someone is a guest on a DJís show on WBLD and goes on to become a DJ themselves, the seniority date will still be the FIRST scheduled solo shift.
Effective March 25, 2002, and upon returning to the air November 12, 2002, WBLD has gone to a 24-hour a day, 7 day a week operating schedule. We are generally "live" from 9:00am until 5:00pm every day school is in session, with the remainder of the schedule an automated, prerecorded format. The weekly live schedule is posted at the Station Managerís desk and on the door to the studio, and generally doesnít vary from week to week.
During summer, WBLD operates on a limited basis, with expanded shifts and an abbreviated live schedule. All staff members are welcome to continue their broadcasting experience when school is not in session for the summer.
Above all, and most importantly: EVERY ANNOUNCERíS SHIFT IS HIS OR HER RESPONSIBILITY. If you, as a DJ are scheduled for a shift and fail to show up or at least notify the Station Manager, you will receive a verbal warning. The second such occurrence will result in a verbal and written warning. The third unexcused missed shift will result in an indefinite suspension pending a meeting between the DJ and the Station Manager after which time the Station Manager may or may not reinstate the DJ.
It is extremely important that you show up for each and every one of your scheduled shifts. There may be others who want to be on the air and unable to because there are no available shifts. It makes no sense to have no one on the air when we could have because a DJ has neglected to show up for his or her shift. This is not tolerated at a commercial radio station, and will not be tolerated at WBLD.
Itís ok to miss a shift once or twice during the school year for a good reason, but we need at least 24 hours notice of the absence. Try not to make a habit of missing your shift, or else it will be determined that you are not interested in a regular shift, and your status on the WBLD staff WILL change and you could find yourself off the air.
Until we are able to procure a set of mailboxes for the radio station, all announcers must check in at the radio station on a regular basis for any memos or other important information available. We also require every DJ to submit a valid e-mail address and will attempt to keep you up to date via email, through the stationís website (http://wbld893.tripod.com) as well as through our message board. The message board is located at http://pub90.ezboard.com/bwbldwestbloomfieldhighschoolradio.
The radio station telephone is for incoming requests and for business directly related to the radio station ONLY. The studio telephone is designed to take ONLY incoming calls, and no outgoing calls can be made from the studio telephone.
For some reason, throughout the years there has been a major problem with distinguishing WHEN and HOW the radio station telephones are used. This is the rule:
NO PERSONAL PHONE CALLS, EITHER INCOMING OR OUTGOING. PERIOD.
We try to be as lenient as possible, but the phones are often abused as a result. Frivolous and unnecessary phone calls are expensive and NOT permitted. This also includes calling home for a rideóthis is something that should be arranged in advance of your shift. We have several pay phones located throughout the school for emergencies. DO NOT ASK OR MAKE PERSONAL PHONE CALLS FROM WBLD.
Visitors to the radio station, especially to the main studio, tend to distract the DJ on the air, get in the way, cause disruptions and do not observe studio etiquette. Visitors are NOT allowed in the Main Studio without the expressed permission of the Station Manager. In any event, no more than three (3) people at a time are permitted for any reason in the Main Studio, for any reason. Also, you must be familiar with the on-air rules concerning off-microphone voices and studio decorum. We expect your cooperation in the matter of in-studio traffic.
BASIC OPERATIONAL LOGISTICS
The LOG is the legal record of everything that is done on the air: music, public service announcements, promos and special programs. It is NOT a doodle or scratch sheet. You must follow the log and air the various scheduled programs and material at the time listed on the log. Unlike in past years, It is no longer necessary to fill in the artist and title for every song you play on the air. Merely sign your name for the appropriate hour on the proper log sheet. This is MANDATORY (per the FCC) and must be your REAL NAME (not your air name). Your signature on the log sheet ensures that all programs, PSAs, Promos and information that were scheduled to run during that hour did, indeed, run. You must sign your log sheet at the time you are on the air.
Speak clearly and directly into the microphone. No "off mike" (away from the microphone) voices are permitted. NEVER attempt to have an on-air conversation with another person unless that person ALSO has a microphone. Be aware of your voice and microphone levels as well. Do NOT "over-modulate" your voice (so that it consistently peaks into the RED on the VU. meters) because it sounds distorted when it goes over the air.
The "BOARD" is the mixing panel in which all inputs (Microphones, CDs. MDs, Phone, etc.) are "mixed" for broadcast. There are generally two switches (The RED "On" switch and the YELLOW "Off" switch) for every input used. There are also "cue" switches that allow you to preview a song off the air without it actually being broadcast.
It is important to remember that, when you turn your microphone on, the studio monitor speakers will be muted to avoid feedback. To avoid mistakes and dead air, you MUST ALWAYS WEAR HEADPHONES when you are in control of the main board.
The VU Meters
The VU meters on the board are to help you maintain a constant broadcast level. NEVER allow the meters to peak into the red area with your voice or your music because the output will be distorted. Watch the VU meters often to keep the appropriate level on your music and voice.
Avoid "Dead Air"
There should NEVER be "Dead Air" (extended silence) at ANY time on the radio station while you are on the air. There should either be music, other sound or the mellifluous sound of your own voice on the air ALWAYS! It is a good idea to have two songs ready to go at any one time because of the possibility of mechanical failure.
A SEGUE is a SMOOTH transition between two songs with no talking in between. As the first song fades, the second song is started and faded in. NEVER wait for a song to completely end before starting the next song or beginning to speak. Strive to make a continuous mix of music, voice, and/or prerecorded material.
You MUST play the ENTIRE song
Choose your music carefully. You must play the entire song once you have started it. There is absolutely NO reason (except in the rare instance off an emergency or a fire or tornado drill) to stop or fade a song before it has completed. Make certain the song you play is the song you want---otherwise you are stuck with playing the whole song! STOPPING, EARLY FADING, or otherwise playing the song in any way other than it was intended (I.E. speeding or slowing down) is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE and will NOT be tolerated under any circumstances.
Other Programming on WBLD
Music accounts for approximately 75 to 80 percent of WBLDíS programming. Additionally, the following programs and features air regularly on the station:
The West Bloomfield Report. This is the regularly scheduled local news and sports report that is produced by the Broadcasting II class.
Earth and Sky. Hosted by Joel Block and Debra Byrd, "Earth and Sky" is an informative 90-second capsule of information about the universe we live in. The show airs every weekday at noon on WBLD.
Public Service Announcements and Promos.
Once an hour during live radio, WBLD runs a PSA (Public Service Announcement) for local organizations such as S.A.D.D., The Humane Society, the Red Cross and the like. Also, once an hour during the broadcast day, a station promo is run. Each student on the air is expected to write and produce a: 30 to :60 second promotional announcement for his or her show within two weeks of their first air shift of the school year.
Concert Information and Weather. Once per hour, WBLD runs local concert information (DTE Theater, The Palace and so on), as well as local live weather, updated from the Weather Channel.
The WBLD Radio-a-thon. Nearly every year, WBLD runs a 32-hour long radio-a-thon on behalf of a local charity. The radio-a-thon began in 1995, and has raised nearly $5000 for various organizations such as the Michigan Humane Society, The Pontiac Rescue Mission, Juvenile Diabetes and so on.
Music Selection and Programming Standards
Unlike other commercial and many non-commercial radio stations, all music that airs on WBLD is selected by each individual announcer based entirely on his or her own musical tastes. High School and College Radio is unique in that it is not run with playlists or a tight air format, but rather allowing the individual to be completely in creative control of his or her program.
However, all music that is aired on WBLD is ultimately subject to the approval of the Station Manager. Literally thousands of songs are available in the radio station's onsite music library; however if you have any music you would like to add to the stationís library or for your show, you may burn a CD or put it on a mini disc. Announcers are always encouraged to broaden WBLDís horizons with their own music. However, WBLD and its management cannot be responsible for any personal CDs, tapes or Minidisks that are left in the Station.
At NO time will any unapproved or unedited music be permitted on WBLD per the standards outlined below. Any willful or repeated violations will result in your dismissal from the radio station staff. DONíT TAKE CHANCES and DONíT ASSUME THAT YOUR MUSIC IS ACCEPTABLE IF IT IS BORDERLINE!
THE BOTTOM LINE:
HERE IS THE BOTTOM LINE OF WHAT IS NOT ALLOWED ON WBLD:
No obscene or foul language, either from your own mouth or from the music you play. No double entendres (lyrics that could be taken two ways). No graphic sexual references, offensive group names, any music that condones sexual deviance, drug or alcohol abuse or gratuitous violence. And of course, the regular words you canít say on the air.
If you have even the SLIGHTEST doubt as to what you are playing is unacceptable, ASK THE STATION MANAGER. And, as always, USE A LITTLE COMMON SENSE.
All in all a certain amount of trust must exist between Radio Station Management, the school district and the announcers on WBLD. Trust is the absolute basis for running a "Free Format" radio station. If that trust did not exist, management would be forced to tightly format and playlist the radio station, thus defeating our entire purpose and going against the philosophy of the radio station Management.
WBLD is unique in that there are very few on-air radio stations available to High School students in the country. It offers students the opportunity for self-expression, developing life skills and communication skills as well as sharing the latest music and broadcasting trends with your audience and fellow staff members. It is the sincere hope and desire of Station Management and District Administration that the radio station is utilized to its fullest to prepare the students of West Bloomfield High School for their future, whether within the broadcasting field or in other careers.
If you have any comments or questions about this Operator Guidelines, please contact Paul Townley at 248-865-6754 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.