An hour by hour look at producing breakfast radio with the producer of Melbourne’s Fifi, Fev and Nick breakfast show
“We have a lot of coffee to get us through the show,” says Renee Buckingham.
It all starts with the morning coffee to keep Renee’s mental acuity at peak performance for the day ahead. But coffee isn’t the only thing plentiful at Melbourne’s TheFox101.9, there are a high volume of ideas and team dedication that keeps the breakfast show running like a well-oiled machine.
Renee Buckingham, a producer at Melbourne’s TheFox101.9 breakfast show with Fifi, Fev and Nick, gives radioinfo reporter Bray Boland a behind the scenes look into how the show is planned and produced.
Renee began her radio journey at Sydney’s Hughesy and Ed on 104.1 Today FM before joining the production team with Fifi, Fev and Nick.
“I was lucky enough to work on today FM Sydney’s breakfast show. Every show is different, but right now at TheFox it also depends what producer role you’re in. I’m a producer, there’s a senior and guest producer, there’s an executive producer, a digital producer and an audio producer,” says Renee.
Today Renee takes us through a day with her and the rest of the team at Melbourne’s TheFox101.9.
03:45 – Rise and shine
“As a producer I get in about 4:30am, which means I wake up about 3:45am,” says Renee.
04:30 – Arrive at the office
“I’m usually the first person in the office and what I generally do is have a quick skim of content that might have happened over night globally,” says Renee.
04:45 – Production team begins to arrive
Once the rest of the production team arrives, collaboration begins and the content ideas are compiled and prepared to be showcased to Fifi, Fev and Nick through what the team call, ‘the content games.’
“The senior producer will get in, the audio producer arrives, then our executive and video producer. All the content we’ve got for the show we generally find the night before so then we put that together into a bit of a list of what we call the content games, then that’s what we pitch to the talent,” says Renee.
“My role is essentially bringing out all the quizzes we might have, any information we have for the show, setting up the studio, setting up all our phone boxes and our whiteboard with our brainstorms, so that when everyone gets into the studio, or ‘the airlock’ as we call it, it’s all set up, comfy and ready to go.”
05:30 – Preshow meeting
Fifi, Fev and Nick join the producers for the pre-show meeting where the content ideas are then pitched, and the teams play around together with the talent to collaborate on building ideas from the content produced.
“At about 5:30 we have our pre-show meeting with the talent, Fifi, Fev and Nick, who are amazing,” says Renee.
“The producers show all the articles that we found the night before and ask, ‘what do you like the look of?’ They might choose things that work really well like, the things you should be doing to get better sleep or, the one word you should never say when breaking up with someone… those kinds of things that are very click baity, but also fun for our audience.
“Then we put together a run sheet and go through it with them… do they have any personal stories that’s happened overnight with their kids that they want to share or talk about on air. Then we go through today like, okay so what’s an opportunity for someone to call, then we will figure out what’s a phoner (call in opportunity) and what’s just like a rave, as we call it, a closed discussion with the talent.”
“At about 5 to 6 the guys will get into the studio, and then we get straight into the show at 6.”
06:00 – The Breakfast Show with Fifi, Fev and Nick begins at TheFox101.9
Renee keeps the coffee and spreadsheets flowing for the team, preparing anything that Fifi, Fev or Nick might need during the show – information on a topic they’re speaking about or any last-minute changes in content.
“We never really stick to the run sheet, ideas pop up, content might pop up like, Brittany Spears got engaged the other day during our show, so all of a sudden we moved things around to push what’s most timely or what’s breaking news,” says Renee.
This also gives the production team opportunities to devise any stitch ups to play on the on-air crew to keep the laughs going for the team.
“We like to play surprises on talent as well and trick them,” says Renee.
09:00 – Breakfast show ends
After the show ends and while Fifi, Fev and Nick are still in, ‘the airlock,’ Renee gets the crew to read any extra liners that may be needed for ads.
9:30 – Post show meeting
The wider team get together to debrief on what worked, what didn’t work and to catch up on any competitions that may be running and what content could be expected for tomorrow’s show.
10:30 – Post show meeting concludes
The on-air talent leave the studio not long after the post show meeting finishes, the production team continue to work on tomorrow’s show, keeping the revolving circle turning to produce to the high standard expected to achieve the best ratings and keeping in touch with the talent if needed.
“I’m in the office until about 1 o’clock, you know, sourcing content for the next day or coming up with ideas or in meetings with our promotion team,” says Renee.
“We work hard to make sure the contents for the next day is pretty much good to go, then go home…”
13:00 – Home time
Renee’s morning shift comes to a close, briefly, before having one final content brainstorm session with the team for tomorrow’s show at 16:30-18:00.
“The thing is with producing you’re always across the news, you’re always looking at funny content, you’re always thinking about funny content you can pitch to the guys,” say Renee.
“You’re always ‘on’ and always thinking about content. Always looking for content and always consuming it.
“Realistically the only day you would have off as a producer is Saturday, because Sunday afternoon you’re just spending the day getting content ready for the next day, so it really is an ‘on’ job, and our job is to make the lives of the talent as easy as possible, so whatever that looks like, we just do it.”
16:30 – 18:00 – Final content preparation brainstorm
“At about 4:30 – 6:00pm that same day we go through, and I skim about 5 to 6 different news sites like pedestrian or BuzzFeed or Daily Mail looking for content that could be good for the next day’s show, then we pop it in a WhatsApp chat with everyone in it so they can have a read and think about what they want to do the next day,” says Renee.
A fast paced job in a highly competitive industry that clearly is not for the faint of heart, but a place for professionals with a genuine love for the industry.
“Every morning I’m like how did I get this and how did I get to work with the best team. It’s a really cool job and a really special place to be in terms of learning about the industry.”
About the Author
Bray Boland is currently studying journalism at TAFE and soaking up the sun on the NSW Central Coast.
He previously worked as a roofer and travelled at home and abroad.
When he graduates Bray would like to work in media interviewing musicians and travel writing superb stories.