Program Evaluation and Planning Meetings

Working under tight deadlines, radio management and producers often struggle to monitor broadcast standards and develop new programming ideas. Producers often don’t collaborate with their peers or they are not encouraged to do so by supervisors. Management has stated that producers are there to work, not talk to colleagues. Producers become dry and lack vision without refreshing, creative stimuli. In one studio, over half the producers had never heard their colleagues' programs. When they began using PEPMeet (Program Evaluation and Planning Meeting) they established and maintained new levels of productivity and enthusiasm.

What is the PEPMeet Process?

Producers regularly meet to evaluate and discuss each others' programs, with the aid of the PEPMeet checklist. Colleagues suggest to the program producer improvements and ideas or topics for future programs. Finally, the producers discuss ways in which that program could be linked or integrated with other programs in a program schedule.

Why do PEPMeets Work?

  • A specific time is regularly set aside to evaluate programs and plan new ones.
  • Individual producers learn new things as they listen to, discuss and evaluate colleague’s programs.
  • PEPMeets are efficient. Time is saved and more is achieved when producers brainstorm or suggest a wide range of ideas.
  • A sense of community develops as producers become familiar with each other's programs and understand the purpose of other's programs. They get a sense of where their own program fits into or contributes to the overall programming picture.
  • Producers can share resources.
  • PEPMeets strengthen a programming schedule as producers coordinate topics and programs, avoiding overlap.

The Eight PEPMeet Steps

1. When to meet?

Decide a suitable time for all producers to meet together. One-to-two hours, once a week is preferable. Choose someone (not that program's producer) to facilitate the session. Give everyone a copy of the checklist.

2. Play a program

All participants evaluate the program, using the checklist as they listen. All producers should present their programs in turn over a period of time. The frequency depends on how many programs are produced in the studio, and the length allocated for the PEPMeet. Programs can be randomly selected. Or, you may want to consider evaluating in the same PEPMeet, programs that contain similar components. The advantage of a "thematic" approach is that you get an overall perspective of content and producers' competencies in that area.

Note: The steps that follow, steps 3-8, should be quick but not superficial, thorough but not laborious. Fifteen or 20 minutes is usually adequate. The purpose is to raise ideas and issues. The individual producer can have extended discussion with colleagues after the PEPMeet. Any emerging serious issue should be dealt with at another time.

3. What was liked?

Ask participants to say what they liked in the program and why they liked it. Comments can relate to checklist items or other elements. Invite anyone to state anything they might have learned about production or scriptwriting techniques (eg., "I liked the way you asked that question in the interview. I'll shape my question like that in future...". Or, "I realised that...." or "I learned...." etc).

4. What could be improved?

The purpose of this step is to identify things about the program that could be improved. The checklist will help identify weaknesses. However, the facilitator must restrict the participants to stating their views in a positive way. Negative, unrestrained criticism of the program or producer will not serve the purpose of the PEPMeet as a helpful mechanism. The facilitator should insist that participants begin in ways such as these: "If I were to make this program I would (positive suggestion)" or "Next time, you might want to think about (positive suggestion)."

5. The producer responds

The program producer quickly responds to the previous comments, explaining why certain decisions or actions were taken, or giving details of difficulties and problems faced when making that particular program. The facilitator can encourage some question and answer, discussion and sharing of ideas or experience.

6. Brainstorm

Allow several minutes for participants to suggest to the producer, new topics, resources, people to contact and any other ideas or suggestions related to the program. We have found the producer is kept busy writing!

7. What cross-program linkages are possible?

The program producer should mention upcoming programs he or she is planning. Are other producers thinking of a similar topic? What resources can be shared? How can they be coordinated? In one studio, three producers were unknowingly planning the same topic at the time of a PEPMeet. Coordinated efforts save preparation time and demonstrate unity within a program schedule. Encourage producers to cross-promote programs, especially when topics complement and supplement each others’ programs.

8. Continue the process

Return to Step 1 to evaluate another program or make arrangements for the next PEPMeet. Select another facilitator and decide which programs will be evaluated.

The PEPMeet Checklist

Use this checklist to evaluate the radio program as you listen to it. Add to or modify the checklist to suit your requirements.

  • 1. Who are the intended Listener-learners?

    2. Overview

For each of the items below, circle the score that you think matches the broadcast standard:

Above average broadcast standard - ABS

Broadcast standard (The normal requirement) - BS

Just broadcast standard (This item needs improvement but the program can still be aired) - JBS

Not broadcast standard (The standard of this item is so poor it prevents the entire program from being aired) - NBS


2.1 The Listener-learner will find this program easy to understand


2.2 This program provides an accurate reflection of the Listener-learner’s situation


2.3 This program demonstrates enough research of the topic


2.4 All relevant themes or benefits or disadvantages appeared to have been included


2.5 Listener-learner response was encouraged


2.6 Interactive or participatory learning techniques were well-used


2.7 This program demonstrates adequate preparation time


2.8 The program is well organised. Thoughts flow clearly


2.9 Technical quality is satisfactory


2.10 The music is appropriate


2.11 The purpose is clear (Or, does content obscure the purpose?)