To OB, or not to OB? That is the question…Whilst many radio days can be completed from the comfort of our lovely Bloomsbury studio, there are some which can benefit from the atmosphere of an outside broadcast (OB).
An OB typically consists of studio equipment which is set up in a remote location, outside of a studio. It means live and pre-recorded interviews can be conducted with more context and atmosphere. Potentially (technology allowing) it can be done from anywhere: an event, a ship-launch, a field…you are only limited by your imagination. So, if you’re tossing up the pros and cons of an OB for an upcoming campaign, this should give you more of an idea of what it’s all about.
Benefits of an OB
Giving stations a chance to be part of an event is very special and should not be underestimated. Radio is a medium which relies entirely on audio, so sound quality and sound effects are crucial to listener enjoyment. Think about what you’d rather listen to – a standard radio interview being done from a studio, or a more charismatic interview being broadcast from a live event where you can hear background noise and true excitement in the spokesperson’s voice. Not only can it benefit listeners, but an OB can also allow presenters and spokespeople to conduct interviews in a new light. Sometimes getting everyone out of their comfort zone puts them on the spot in a positive way, demanding their absolute best.
Hosting radio interviews from a remote location is an investment and means you need to be on top of your game. The biggest challenge is always technology. For a radio OB you either need a strong broadband connection or, failing, that, a portable mobile 4G kit – a piece of equipment that works in a similar way to a mobile phone.
Organising logistics in advance is an absolute must and you should always have a technical recce well in advance, allowing enough time, should you find a problem, to put it right. We recommend having a plan B (probably the mobile 4G kit) and even a plan C (such as a landline telephone).
The right kit, efficient technology and a can-do attitude should help you overcome most challenges!
Case Study: The Camping and Caravanning Club
One of our clients, the Camping and Caravanning Club, regularly conduct live outside broadcasts from the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham. This is partly to make the day easier for the spokesperson (the TV presenter Julia Bradbury) who is also required to present on the main stage at the show. They find an OB is the best way to maximise radio results whilst making full use of the time they have with Julia at the show. In our most recent outside broadcast with them, we arranged 15 radio interviews, which included BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio Wales, alongside several other BBC and commercial regional stations.
If you’re interested in finding out more about OBs, or you’d like to hear about more examples, do get in touch: Kate@shoutcommunications.co.uk or call 020 7240 7373.