Technology & Events
Similar to: Technical Producer
Career Level: Mid-Level
What Do They Do?
Studio Managers are highly skilled technical producers with a deep knowledge of broadcast equipment. They provide creative and technical support to show teams to make sure that what comes out of the radio is as high quality as possible. This may mean sound-checking a band, handling outside lines or “driving” the radio desk, editing pre-recorded material, mixing documentaries and packages, and running recording session over the internet.
Not every radio programme is blessed with a Studio Manager (as some shows are self-operated, meaning the presenter or producer drives the desk), but the ones that are benefit hugely from a Studio Manager’s technical expertise. As well as working on shows they also work on Outside Broadcasts – events and music festivals where they may mix bands and orchestras from stages into OB trucks, which will then go live to air.
A Studio Manager’s daily tasks will vary hugely depending on the show, network or project that they are working on.
For example, if the Studio Manager is tasked with driving a studio desk in a straight-forward music radio programme, their tasks might include pre-fading music to check levels, getting a line through to a guest (either over the phone, internet, or ISDN), playing clips, liaising with news / travel and checking their levels, taking network from the previous show and handing it over at the end.
In larger organisations like the BBC there may be different teams of studio managers that specialise in different areas like music, speech, drama, news and sport – and even into more niche areas like classical music or comedy.
Who Do They Work With?
- A Studio Manager will work closely in the studio with individual show teams, and will be expected to parachute into recordings on an ad-hoc basis.
- They will also liaise with members of their own studio management team, including schedulers and operational co-ordinators who make sure that the output is staffed by people with the right skills.
- Studio Managers may also work closely with Outside Broadcast engineers who are highly skilled in the technical operations of broadcasting on location, using a fleet of broadcast trucks.In some regional areas, these roles may combined, or the role may involve working on both radio and TV as an Audio Supervisor.
What Skills Do I Need?
- Studio Managers will have significant experience of driving a desk and knowledge of the technical aspects of working in a live radio broadcasting environment.
- Studio Managers are able to prioritise, problem solve and remain calm under pressure.
- Studio Managers are passionate about the output of the stations they work for, and knowledgeable about production processes
- Studio Managers are able to adapt to different broadcast environments and work flexibly as part of a team that changes daily.
- Studio Managers are enthusiastic about learning new systems and absorb new processes quickly.
- Studio Managers have a thorough knowledge of broadcast systems and technology, health and safety protocols, and broadcast workflows.
- Studio Managers are flexible and willing to work long and sometimes erratic hours.
How Do I Get This Job?
There are no specific qualifications needed for this role, but experience is really important – the expectation is that you will have worked or volunteered in some sort of technical role previously – either as a tech op, broadcasting assistant, DJ, theatre audio technician, live music sound technician or driven your own desk while radio presenting. Lots of experience can be transferred into a job like this but understanding how radio works end-to-end can be priceless knowledge in this role.
Experience in dealing with production safety and undertaking risk assessments can be extremely beneficial as Health and Safety is such a vital part of this job. Training is provided to ensure Studio Managers are familiar with specific broadcast equipment and any unusual show team requests.