Broadcasting is an essential part of life in any society. Despite the emergence of internet technology leading a proliferation of online news platforms, majority of people in the world still do not have access to this technology. Broadcasting, especially radio still has the power to penetrate every nook and cranny of any society, particularly the hinterland. Many people still rely on the broadcast media for programmes that keep their life going on, which also help them adapt to evolving nature of the society.
A crucial aspect of broadcasting is programming. Broadcasting is aimed at informing, educating and entertaining audience members. These goals are achieved by radio and television stations through their programmes.
What is a programme format?
This refers to the structure of a programme. The format determines how the theme of a programme would be disseminated to the audiences. A programme format is a layout of a programme that explains how the theme of a show will be packaged and presented in audience consumable state.
Kinds of Programme Formats
There are different programme formats used by the broadcast media to entertain, educate and inform the audiences. To have a successful career in broadcasting you need to know the basic programming format that broadcast stations use. Not all the programming formats are used by every broadcast station. Some broadcast stations air all formats while some others restrict their programmes to one or two programming formats. Hintng.com lists some the basic programming formats used by the broadcast media in any society.
This is one of the most common programme formats you will find in almost every broadcast station. News programmes provide the audience with timely information about things going on within and around their environment. News is an essential part of broadcasting because it serves one of the primary functions of the mass media, which is to inform. This is a programme format broadcast stations use to keep their audiences abreast of evolving events in the society.
Music is another very crucial part of broadcast programming. Music is a universal language which uses rhythm and lyrics to excite the audiences. Various kinds of music are aired on music programmes, from Jazz to rhythm & blues, hip hop, pop music, soul, indie, and many more. Audience members love listening to songs, watching music videos and getting excited over performances by their favourite artistes. There are broadcast stations that only air music programmes. Examples include MTV, Hip TV, Sound City radio (in Nigeria), among many others.
Documentary is a nonfictional narrative on radio or television which disseminates information primarily aimed at informing and educating the audiences, including maintaining historical records. Topics on documentaries could be on different subjects that inform and educate the audiences. Documentaries are in-depth and detailed with rich content. They feature interviews, sound effects, music, dramatization, animation, extracts and more. It could come in different types such as observational, expository or participatory documentary format, among others.
Reality TV is a genre of television programming that presents unscripted real-life situations, often involving unknown individuals rather than professional actors. It is called reality TV based on the notion that it is an unscripted programme. Some reality programmes feature the real-life activities of prominent celebrities that the public are interested in knowing what their private life is like. Among the most successful reality TV programmes are X Factor, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, America’s Got Talent. In Nigeria, the Big Brother Naija show is a very popular reality television show among diverse segments of the audience.
This is animation programme which popular among children and some adults. An animated cartoon is a film for the cinema, television or computer screen, which is made using sequential drawings. Most cartoons are colourful and bright making it more attractive to children. Cartoons are enjoyed by both old and young audience members. Such programmes are scheduled during the day when most kids are expected to be available to watch television, except for cartoon-only television channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Nickelodeon, among others which air round he clock.
This is one of the programming formats very popular among the audiences, which also earns so much revenue for broadcast media houses. Because sports is one of the most watched programmes in the world it rakes in so much revenue for stations. Sports programmes feature sports news, commentary, games and awards. The programmes focus on different sports like football, basketball, baseball, cricket, swimming, athletics, horse riding, cycling, formula 1, among others. Sports programmes could be live phone-in programmes or pre-recorded shows.
A drama programme in broadcasting is a genre of narrative fiction (or semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama is an essential programming format because it makes room for the numerous films produced and released annually. Though drama is also a film genre, there are numerous types of dramas. They include historical drama, docudrama, political drama, horror drama, melodrama, comedy-drama, teen drama, romantic drama and military drama.
This is one of the interesting programming formats used to captivate broadcast audiences. A soap opera is an ongoing drama serial on television or radio, featuring the lives of many characters and their emotional relationships. Numerous soap operas fill the media, and it is one of the most watched programming formats. The term originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers. Several soap operas exist on television especially targeted at specific audience segments across countries or regions of the world. There are several cable television channels which air only soap operas. Such channels include Z-World, and Telemundo, among others.
These are also similar to talk shows. Discussion programmes are very common in many broadcast media houses. A discussion consists of two or more discussants talking sharing their opinions on various issues with a moderator anchoring the programme. Interesting topics or issues form the theme of discussion. Discussion programmes provide the viewers with detailed information and different point view arguments on a topic so as to make better-informed decisions. It could be recorded programme or a live, phone-in programme where audience members have the chance to ask guests questions or make contributions to the topic.
This programme format features an interviewer and an interviewee. Prominent personalities or some other newsworthy individuals are interviewed on specific subjects or issues. The interviewee could be a celebrity, politician, a skilled person in the topic field, or a person of interest at a given time. Interviews help elicit information about and from the subject that the viewers would like to know. More than one interviewer could be involved in a particular programme depending on the type or structure of the show.
This is a programming format that features religious programmes. Religious programmes are centred on religious news, commentary, films and more. It could be on any of the numerous religions in the world – Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, African Traditional Religion, etc. It could be a recorded or live programme.
These are among the basic programming formats used by various radio and television stations to keep their audiences informed, educated and entertained. You should understand what these programmes are about if you want to have a successful career in broadcasting.
The basic purpose of the station or network is to provide programming content that will appeal to various segments of the audience. The programming strategies of any broadcast station are crucial to its viability. This underscores the need to choose the most appropriate programming format that will appeal to diverse audience members of a station.