Wednesday, January 06, 2010

647 The Producers

647 The Producers

Great movie. Pretty good B'way play. But what does a producer do?

The job description is kind of vague in radio and in television. And even those of us who have been TV producers aren't quite sure what that means.

There are sub specialties within in the species. The Executive Producer is the top dog of the show. That means, in the immortal words of one-time Executive Producer Mike Clancy "I delegate and second guess." After that, it gets kind of vague. These days, there are co-Executive Producers. No one knows what they do. Ditto for Senior Producer, Line Producer, Post Production Producer, Supervising Producer, Segment Producer, Associate Producer, just plain-old Producer and dozens -- maybe hundreds -- of other title variations.

The radio magazine, Bloomberg on the Weekend, had a producer. The host had no idea what she did most of the day. But he knew full well that when she didn't do whatever that was, little to nothing got done. Asking her what she did boiled down to one basic word "stuff." If you asked for elaboration, the answer was "all the stuff that needs to get done and that you don't do."

Fabulously enlightening.

At the Today Show, the news producer edited all the newscasts and sometimes went into the control room to make sure everything got on and off the air as scheduled. The segment producers did much the same thing for the features and the interviews. But it was easy to wonder what would -- or wouldn't -- happen if these people decided to take the month off.

At the radio networks, the producer picks the "sound" or recordings that go into a broadcast and edits the copy. That's pretty straight forward. Except sometimes they don't do that and we haven't figured out yet what they do do. Radio -- even network radio -- is a lot less complicated than TV.

But this may be the only job in America (with the exception of Carpenter Foremen on construction jobs that don't use carpenters) where the people who do it don't really know what the job entails -- even when they're doing it. Even when they've stopped doing it.

The radio broadcast associated with this blog has a staff of one. But in today's age of bureaucracy, that seems so, well, plain. So the program has a staff of imaginary people including an Executive Producer, a director of research, a director of music, a director of security and three bogus meteorologists. Theater of the mind (less.)


--Stolen shard: A friend who hates winter describes it thus. Winter is like hell only the air conditioning's turned up too high.

--Warm the year round in America? Lots of places. Most of them either too crime ridden or too Confederate, so someone please turn down the A/C.

--Of course, there's winter, and then there's WINTER. A trip to Denver or Minneapolis would probably make the northeast seem like a tropical paradise.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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