Back on air!!

My radio silence is almost over.

Once my DBS check is back, and I’ve got into the studio to learn about the particular way in which the computer system and the desks all link up, then I will be back on air at West Hull Community Radio.

It seems a long time since the middle of June, since I performed my last show, so I’m really looking forward to getting behind the microphone, and doing that chatting and playing music thing.

The plan is to do shows on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to start with, and then see if there are other opportunities to create different types of shows throughout the week.

The key thing is to keep the balance between study, work and radio, but maximise the time available in the week to ensure that all boxes are ticked.

Introduction to Commercial Radio – Bauer Academy at Key 103

As part of my training with the Bauer Academy, I attended a 2 day course at Key 103 in Manchester, which gave a brief insight into the world of commercial radio.

Key 103 is one of the major radio stations within the Bauer City Place group, and is located in Castle Quay, which is located within the Deansgate area of Manchester City Centre.  From the Key 103 studio building, a lot of the network programming is created for the rest of the group.  Most of the radio franchises have 3 individual radio stations, for example, Viking in Hull have Viking FM, Viking 2, and Viking 3.

Viking FM is broadcasts a mixture of local and networked shows, with Breakfast, Mid-Morning, and Drive from the studios in Hull, whereas the rest of the output is from other studios.  Viking 2 and 3 are all produced away from Hull, and have links and adverts targeted at the local audience but are created away from the area.

The course at Key 103 was hosted by Alex James, who is an experienced presenter and has until recently been covering the breakfast show at Radio Aire as well as covering holidays throughout the rest of the Bauer group.

The content of the course, looked at the start of commercial radio in the late 1960’s and 70’s right through to today’s business model and the way in which it serves the local, national, and online audience.

With commercial radio, there are targeted demographics for a radio station, and each of the groups within the course had to look at, and develop a radio station for one of the Bauer demographic groups.  For Bauer, City 1 (Viking FM, Hallam FM, Key103) has an audience of ages 25-44, City 2 (Viking 2, Hallam 2, Key 2) has an audience of 45-64, and City 3 (Viking 3, Hallam 3, Key 3) has an audience of 16-24.

Within the group, we were tasked with creating a new radio station that was aimed at the City 1 demographic of 25-44, and we had to look at all different aspects that go into the creation of a station.  Presenters, Sales and Marketing, Advertising, and Branding all had to be addressed very early on in the session, before moving into the studio to record jingles, beds and sweepers in order to properly brand the on-air sound.

Over the two days, the station developed was known as “Up!”, which was a blend of music, chat and comedy, which the group felt was an untapped market within the UK radio sector.

The sessions were a useful insight into what Bauer would have to look at in terms of developing radio stations within new markets, and also increasing their current market offer.

I will be using this knowledge throughout my time in the Bauer Academy, and also within my degree.  I’ve met people within the industry who are very helpful in terms of sharing skills, and their experiences within the radio industry, and I will be utilising the contacts as I move into the 2nd and 3rd years of my degree and beyond.

Proud to be part of the Bauer Academy

The Bauer Academy is run by Bauer Media, who own various national brands as well as local radio stations across the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Local radio stations in the group include Radio Aire in Leeds, Viking FM in Hull, and Key 103 in Manchester, and the national brands including Kiss and Absolute Radio.

The idea behind the Bauer Academy is to bring forward new talent, in a way that the company can give something back to the industry that they are a major player within, and by giving the students “hands on” experience from within a commercial setting, they can bring forward new blood into their radio stations or into the wider media sector.

I first noticed the Bauer Academy courses earlier in the year, but with the other stuff going on, I didn’t feel able to commit to the sessions offered. Thankfully for me, the courses continue to run throughout 2015.

Initially, I committed to 3 courses at various stations across the North of England. “Step Inside and Present” at Radio Aire in Leeds, “Introduction to Commercial Radio” at Key 103 in Manchester, and “Advanced Presenting” taking place at Viking FM in Hull towards the end of the year. However since my initial foray into the Bauer Academy, I have also completed a further course which looks at News Journalism called “News in Today’s World”.

There are so many good points to the courses, that I sound like a sales agent for the Academy. Not only do you get training from experienced professionals within the industry, but you get to use the systems used in a commercial radio setting. You’re also with other talented people who are looking to break into the industry from a variety of backgrounds and ages, and you learn from them as well, because we have all had different introductions to the industry, be that hospital or community radio, or during their time at college and/or university.

Step Inside and Present is a 6 week course, designed to give an overview of the first steps of presenting a show in a commercial radio station. Led by Ant Arthur, who is both a Regional Producer for Bauer Media, and also a presenter on Viking FM, the style of training is both serious, but light hearted in the same manner, which allows for great interaction between the students and the course leader, both in the sessions and away from the classroom as well.

Introduction to Commercial Radio is a course over 2 days, which gives students an opportunity to record their own jingles, and develop ideas for a new radio station. The course content gives an overview to the different strands that go into developing a commercial radio station from Sales and Marketing, Show Content, Advertising, and Demographics. The course was led by Alex James, the breakfast presenter currently at Radio Aire, and cover presenter for other shows across the Bauer Radio Network.

Today’s News is a course that gives you hands on experience of what is news, and what you need to cover in order to give punchy bulletins to an audience within a 2 minute window.  By going out into Manchester City Centre, looking around for stories, taking vox pops and then creating a 15 minute news package, recorded in the studio, and edited together, it gave a brief insight into what happens in news rooms across the Bauer Network on a daily basis.

I feel very honoured to be part of the Academy, and the contacts made, and meeting and networking with other people in my position, and also with industry professionals has been invaluable.  The skills I have gained, together with my current experience within the industry and the first year of my degree, has given me a lot of additional knowledge and understanding of the way in which radio works in the United Kingdom.

Platform Expo – Work Experience

Platform Expo took place over 14-15 November, and brought together the best in retro, current and future gaming technologies.

I was lucky to have been given free reign over the event, being able to speak to those who are playing a major part in shaping the world of gaming, from Hull and the East Riding.

Being over split sites, meant trying to balance pressures of time and resources, but this is exactly how things would be in the “real world” of journalism.

The session on Friday was very busy, with pupils from various schools across the area attending, and that made things harder to get close to, and view, but it also meant that I could see a cross-section of the next generation of students who will be learning how to use the improving technologies through study at Hull College.

It was a great experience for me, to see how to cover an event such as this, and I will be learning from the pros and cons of it, moving forward into the next couple of years.

 

 

 

Sainsbury’s School Games – Work Experience

I was very lucky to have the opportunity to cover the Sainsbury’s School Games, which took place at St. Mary’s College in Hull back in November.

This event brought the best Table Tennis players together from all corners of the area, to play against each other during this 2 day event.

By engaging with everyone involved, organisers, teachers and pupils, I was able to get hundreds of photographs of pupils showcasing their talents on the table tennis tables within the school facilities, and a true insight into sports photography and journalism.

Being up close, and with a very fast sport, brought it’s own challenges, with having to adjust timings and shutter speeds to ensure that I captured the true spirit of the event.

I will be learning from those experiences, and making sure that if I cover events like this again, that I am able to be fully prepared for everything that is involved with it.  It was also good to make contacts within Humber Sports, and also with photographers from the Hull Daily Mail.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and will be actively seeking out events such as this again during the next 2 years of my course, and beyond that as well.

 

KCFM – Work Experience

I spent Friday afternoons assisting with the news team at KCFM in Hull.  Their team is quite a small one, with only 3 journalists covering bulletins from 6am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and then pre-recorded local bulletins over the weekend.

During my time there, I helped to edit audio files using Cool Edit Pro, and then placing those together with news output into Myriad News.  I also interviewed people for news stories, by telephone, ISDN, within the news studio, and also out in the field as well.

I was also fortunate to be able to practice reading a pre-prepared bulletin, so that I could assess my skills to read the news at the appropriate rate for Radio Journalism.

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I only spent a few weeks there, and during that time one of the news journalists moved on to a new position in Greater Manchester.

I don’t feel that I got out of the sessions as much as I could, due to a variety of circumstances, but I feel that I learnt a lot from the limited experiences that I had there.

During the summer

Assignment may all be handed in, but that’s not to say that things won’t be appearing on the blog.

I intend to keep busy through the summer, keeping abreast of what’s happening in the world, journalism developments, increasing my skillset, and making sure that I hit the ground running come September.

I’ll be hunting for work throughout the time off, because 17 weeks off and doing nothing will drive me crazy.

I’ve started to look again at my Teeline shorthand.  It’s not quite the same as having two taught lessons a week, and then drilling, but any skills I can refresh through the summer will stand me in good stead, ready for the next semesters.

If you have any opportunities coming up that you would like to put my way, then I would be very open to all offers, and if they are paid ones, then that’s all the better!

Work Experience – TMCR – Today’s More Choice Radio

It’s always good to get some experience on a degree course, and I’m very lucky to have my regular shows on TMCR.  Usually I do Sunday mornings between 10 and 12, but as one of the other presenters is a big fan of Chelsea, he’s swapped with me, so that he can watch the game.

On a Sunday, I have a theme on the show, be that “Songs with Run in the Title”, or “Colours”, but at the moment, it’s the A-Z of Music, and this week’s is a tough one with the letter I, as there aren’t that many artists who count in that letter.

It’s great to get hands on with the Myriad playout software, as this is well used within the industry, and nothing beats learning on the job!

If you’re free on Sundays from 10am, Mondays from 4pm, and Tuesdays from 7am, then please tune in at TMCR or via TuneIn.

Thank you in advance.

Work Experience – KCFM

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working with the news team at KCFM in Hull.

Their news team is compact to say the least, and recently one of the journalists has departed for pastures new.

During my time there, I have assisted with editing audio clips, writing news stories for bulletins and the website, and have conducted 3 interviews, 2 of which were over the phone, and one in the news studio.

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It has given me an insight into a small and dedicated local news team, who are producing great content, with very limited resources.

Work Experience Diary – Reading Week

Reading week was to be honest, just the slightest bit crazy! TMCR had set a deadline for the big move of studios for the end of that week, with the big relaunch coming at 9.53am, on the 1st of November. 9.53am, because it’s FM frequency is 95.3, in the North East of Doncaster.

The station has been leased two rooms in a building within the centre of Thorne, which is one of its main areas of coverage, but it needed crafting into a studio and office complex befitting of any commercial radio station.

My first visit to the new studios looked good from the outside, plenty of foot traffic going past, to enable the station to grow, but once inside the enormity of the task started to unfold. The plan was to knock a simple hole in a wall, put an 8 foot window in, build a false wall to allow cupboard space for all the IT equipment, put furniture in, paint a few walls, and that would be that….oh how the best laid plans unravel in an few short hours.

The simple wall that required knocking out, turned out to being 2 sets of double layered brick, with cavities between, and also a big gap between them, as it used to be two separate buildings. Every available hour from the volunteers was going to be required to meet the deadline.

The team mucked in together, with age, gender or ability not getting in the way, because none of us wanted to let the side down.

In this final week, the new mixing desk was installed, sunk into the desk so that it doesn’t just appear as a big lump in the studio, with the relocation of the rest of the IT equipment on Thursday afternoon, the not to small task of rewiring the studio began in earnest. Wires from outside for news feeds, and transmission, wires from desk to CD players, amplifiers, and decks, and also cabling up and over the ceiling, all needed to be fed through the various gaps, and conduits.

The days were long, especially when trying to maintain the station going out to the listeners, so doing a breakfast show at 7am, and being at the new studio until 8pm, was a regular occurence for many, including myself and Maria.

Saturday morning appeared bright and sunny, almost like the weather gods being nice to the team, and with a lot of running around from 7am, finally we all gathered in the studio just before launch time at 9.53, to be greeted with our playout system refusing to run properly. Quickly a CD was put into the player, so that our youngest presenter Ryan, could be the first voice from the new studio.

Ryan finally got to play his track, which should have been the first one heard, but for the problems, which was John Miles – Music….which is a fabulous piece of music, and pretty much summed up the day, and I have to say that a track I wouldn’t have expected a 15 year old to even have heard of! However, I think you’ll be hearing a lot more of Ryan Keeling over the next few years on the radio!

Oh, and you’re trying to work out what the first actual song was…well I quickly decided that it was going to be Yazz and the Plastic Population, and The Only Way is Up….because given all the hard graft, the setbacks along the way, and the system going down minutes before due to relaunch, the only way is up 🙂