Lesson 5. Formatics, Programmatics, and Production

The Station Programming Grid: What do we broadcast? When and why?

  • Single format is the winning commercial formula – easier to image and sell. But WKPS was founded with the intent of providing “cultural and alternative programming,” allowing for a variety of independent genres enjoyed by students and the community, traditionally not found in the commercial market. So there has to be a sensible and effective way to arrange, organize and consistently deliver the many different styles so as to maximize listenership and sponsorship.
  • The two main daily program styles, divided by talk‐format.
  • Consistency and symmetry in the weekly programming grid.
  • A Grid not designed to maximize listenership. (Understand why?)

Anatomy of the Stop‐Set / Stop‐Break

  • What are all the audio elements, or carts in a set?
  • What is their arrangement and reason for it?
  • Two stop sets ‐ top and bottom of the hour.

Programming Paper Log

  • The daily program Log is a Legal Document used a record of each day’s broadcast
  • Serves to BOTH prescribe inventory in stop‐sets and be a written record of aired spots.
  • The main body of the Log is a guide to what spots (PSAs, promos, liners, etc) to play when
  • DJs must timestamp and initial the log for every element played
  • The station is contractually (legally) obligated to document the playing of underwriting spots
  • The last (Discrepancies) page of the Log is used to note missed and/or missing spots.

Talking In/Out of Breaks

  • Talking into a Break: Cracking the mic (turning on the microphones and going on‐air) before playing a stop‐set
  • The theory behind this approach is that talking into the break “softens the blow” of the commercial interruption, and after the break, listeners want to hear more music, not talk
  • Talking Out of the Break: Waiting to crack the mic until directly after a stop‐set
  • Provides the DJ an opportunity to “tease” the content to be played in the next segment and then transition into it directly, creating a stronger connection in listeners’ minds.
  • Frontselling: Telling the listeners what song you’re going to play before you play it
  • Backselling: Announcing what songs you’ve played after the fact

Talking between songs:



  • Know your music: Hard Stops & Starts vs. Soft Stops & Starts
  • Eliminate dead‐air, talk over fading slopes
  • Start next track as previous fades out – manually set End Of Mark settings (automation)

Basic On‐Air Policies

  • Do not decry the station. Internal station affairs remain internal, and don’t get aired. If you have issues with any aspect of the station please address them to the appropriate parties and student officers.
  • Adhere to all of the guidelines presented in the Matt Jackson lecture – obscenity, profanity, indecency, defamation, slander, etc.
  • Don’t announce false information, knowingly at least, over the air.
  • Make an effort to work in the name of your program/staff and, if applicable, your show
  • ALWAYS “ID” the station when talking on the air, and ONLY do so as “The LION 90.7fm”
  • The only time you ever would recite the Call‐letters are if saying the legal ID, or giving out the studio request line.
  • Be sure to plug the station’s request line; it is 814-865-WKPS (9577)

Station On‐Air Guidelines

  • Instrumental music played softly in the background (bed music) is a great idea
  • Play “dry” spots with a choice of your own bed music, i.e. Weather and PSAs.
  • Also plug your staff’s AOL IM screenname and the station website (www.LION‐ radio.org)
  • Work in interesting information about concerts, music news, local stories, etc.
  • Remember, people listen to radio, especially to The LION, for the music – be creative and find ways to have fun and engage your audience, but keep your talk breaks BRIEF (3‐4 mins max)
  • Further Reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice‐tracking

The LION 90.7 FM Programming Schedule

  • In order to provide diversity/alternative programming, The LION is multi‐formatted.
  • Our programming grid is set up to best suit the target audience of each show.
  • The LION features Jazz, Indie Rock, Classic Rock, Public Affairs and Sports Talk, Gospel, Dance/Electronic/Gothic, Urban/R&B, Loud Rock/Metal, African, Latin/Salsa, & Classical.
  • Why we have what programs on and when: continuity, symmetry.

Example Program Grid


Traditional Programs

  • Jazz Spectrum (M – S, 9:00 am – 11:00 am): Jazz Music.
  • Rockin’ Culture (M – F, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm)
  • State Your Face (M – F, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm): Classic Rock/Jam bands, Local acts, etc
  • On the Good Foot (SYF) (Fri, Sat: 3:00 pm – 5: 00pm): Funk / Soul
  • Homegrown Music Show (SYF) (Su: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm): Bluegrass, Jam bands, Folk, Local
  • Radio Free Penn State (M – F, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm): Local public affairs talk radio
  • The Sports Blitz (M – F, 6:00 pm – 7: 00 pm): Sports talk radio (includes live coverage of PSU sports).
  • Indie 500 (M – F, 7:00 am – 9:00 pm): Indie Label Rock, Pop, Punk/Ska/Emo
  • Jam 91 (M– Su, 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm, until 1:00 am Fri & Sat nights): Urban/Rap/Hip‐ Hop/R&B/Reggae
  • Metal Machine (M – Thu, 11:00 pm – 3:00 am) Heavy Metal, Loud Rock, Metal Rock
  • Avant Garde (Sat – M, 1:00 am – 5:00 am) Experimental/Ambient/World music, etc.
  • Classical Hour (Sat, Sun: 7:00 am – 9:00 am): Ethnic African
  • Kumekucha (Sat: 9:00 am – 11:00 am): Ethnic African
  • Latin Mix (Sat – Sun, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm): Latin Music, Salsa, Meringue, etc. ‐
  • Totally Gospel (Sun: 9:00 am – 11:00 am) Religious & Black Gospel Music, Urban Contemporary Gospel.
  • RPM (Sat, Sun, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm): Dance/House/Trance/Rave/Electronic/Gothic Industrial


  • The Lion was the first outlet to provide student broadcasts of PSU sports (1999)
  • We provide coverage of football, ice hockey, men/women’ s basketball, and baseball
  • Live sports coverage is a vital way of connecting with both students and alumni
  • Broadcast team consists of one play-by-play announcer and two color commentators:
    • play-by-play – description of the in-game action, including scores, player names, etc.
    • color commentary – extra info to “flavor” the broadcast, i.e. game analysis, stats
  • A good sports broadcast describes the game and informs and entertains the listeners An important aspect of this is consistently updating score and time left in the game
  • Remote equipment allows the station to broadcast from local venues