Student Radio Awards 2009

Last week I was at the Student Radio Awards in London and the evening was a reminder of radio things past and present.

SRA Logo

Last week I was at the Student Radio Awards in London and the evening was a reminder of radio things past and present.

If you have listened UK radio stations like Talk Radio, TalkSPORT and Radio 2 over the last few years you may have heard me talk about films on certain shows at different times.

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.

Insanity Days

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.

I also went on to do all manner of jobs in radio which included interviewing actors and filmmakers, producing sports shows and doing various podcasts.

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:

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.

It was an interview by Joshua Chambers of URY and featured him questioning Hilary Benn back in February about the government’s position on the use of torture in the wake of the Binyam Mohamed case.

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.

Anyway, he won and it was good to see him get presented the award by Steve Lamacq, who has done his fair share of famous interviews down the years.

SRA 2009

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.