Last week I was at the Student Radio Awards in London and the evening was a reminder of radio things past and present.
But my first proper experience behind the microphone was at the student radio station Insanity back in February 1998 presenting an afternoon show on a Saturday and doing roving reporting via a mobile on Matt Deegan’s weekend breakfast show.
Back then it was a case of selecting CDs and learning how to work the faders after a bit of ‘training’ (i.e. a 10 minute session in which I realised how confusing a Denon Mini-Disc player was) and then basically doing a two hour show.
I have to be honest and admit that I did it because it it seemed like fun and I’d listened to a lot of radio in my first year as I didn’t have a TV.
Anyway, in early 1999 I managed to get some work experience on the Ian Collins show on Talk Radio and was lucky enough to get a shift reviewing films every week, which lasted in various forms on various shows until last year.
But there is no doubt that doing student radio and facing the regular task of filling the airwaves with speech or music helped me enormously when I went into a professional environment.
One of the many nice things about the awards evening was seeing various people who’ve helped me in my radio journey:
- Steve Harris of XFM was the producer who replied to my faxed requested for work experience at Talk Radio back in 1999
- Mike Hanson of BBC 6 Music was the producer of the Ian Collins show, which was regular night time listening during those student years
- Marsha Shandur of XFM, who I once saw give one of the best ‘how to get into radio’ speeches ever
- Matt Deegan of Folder Media (and former Insanity presenter and station manager) who I still work with on various things to this day.
- Zoe Ball of BBC Radio 2 (with whom I review films with every now and then) who presented a moving tribute to the late Kevin Greening whilst presenting the award created in his honour.
But the real kick this year was being a judge in the Interview category.
Not only was it interesting to check out what different people had done but it was a real pleasure to see my first choice actually win.
Interestingly, the audio quality isn’t that great but if you read his written submission you’ll see an explanation that actually strengthens his entry.
I can honestly say it is one of the best audio interviews I’ve heard in a very long time, as the questions were well researched and highlighted the inconsistencies in the Government line Benn was trying to defend.
You can listen to the full interview here.
One thing that also struck me about the night was the good vibes transmitting themselves to the radio big cheeses in attendance (some photos are here)
People like Richard Park (Global Radio) and Andy Parfitt (BBC Radio) seemed genuinely enthused by the audience and it made a nice contrast to the gloom surrounding the industry and the world in general at the moment.
Congratulations to all the entrants, winners and organisers at the SRA for putting on the evening.
The whole event was a reminder to me about student radio – its value is not monetary, but lies in the fact that people can achieve a lot when others take the time out to help them.