2016 review banner

2016 in review

2016 review banner

It’s 31st December 2016, which means that it’s the end of another year. There’s been a lot of talk about the awfulness of the last year, particularly concerning deaths and politics, but I want to look back at the personal positives, month by month.

BBC Broadcasting House at NightJanuary – although it seems like a distant memory, I kicked off 2016 with a tour of the BBC with Media Society, where the people were so bright and cheerful that I knew I wanted to work there. I also wrote a LOT of articles for the Orbital and started doing radio on Thursday mornings. The month ended in Wokingham at the CU Weekend Away, which was a refreshing break.

Louise Jones and Beth Carr, Orbital Magazine award winners
Photo Credit: Laura Denham

February – again, February is very long ago! I used the lack of presenters on Valentine’s Day to do a Valentine’s special of Entertaining History and finished my day off by watching Bridget Jones’ Diary for the first time. However, my ultimate highlight of February, and perhaps my year, was winning Best Journalist for The Orbital at Societies Ball.

March – the month of my 20th birthday and lots of other cool things too! I was in the band for Pirates of Penzance by the Savoy Opera Society and I got elected to the position of Head of Training for Insanity Radio 103.2FM. I also went to my first Student Radio Conference in Cardiff, which was amazing fun, and built a TARDIS out of Lego.

Tim and Beth on Let Them Hear with Lizzy FretwellApril – revision is my main memory of April but I also cut my hair off to raise money for Evelina London and donated the hair to the Little Princess Trust to make wigs for children. Tim and I also successfully applied for a Christian radio show on Insanity Radio 103.2FM called Let Them Hear, which is still going!

May – exams always overshadow May but there were some good points too! Let Them Hear continued and a particular highlight was Tim doing the show solo while I was in an exam. I also gained a position on the editorial board for the Orbital as Deputy Arts Editor, which I had been hoping to achieve for six months.Beth Carr in the Insanity studio

June – so many great things happened this month! I attended the first Interfaith Ball in the Royal Holloway Picture Gallery with lovely friends from CU and amazing tiny bowls of food. I masterminded the pre-recording and summer holiday schedule for Insanity that secured us enough content to cover the whole summer. I started my two regular shows at Coastway Hospital Radio and aired a special show for International Scoliosis Awareness Day on Coastway and Insanity Radio. I also got the chance to cover the EU Referendum for the Argus newspaper, doing my first all-nighter to cover the count in Horsham. Oh, and we saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

July – the first full month of a long summer saw a new job unpacking and plugging in computers and my first major work experience at Create Productions as part of the Royal Holloway Placements Scheme. It was also the beginning of being part of the regional SRA Training Day, alongside Smoke Radio from Westminster.

Selfie with Paul Layzell
Credit: Paul Layzell

August – my dad retired and we went on a short holiday to Bournemouth (I ate a three course meal outside of my own house for the first time in years and I was so proud). I did have the slight misfortune of trapping my finger in a car door but that pales into insignificance compared to the amazing week I had as a small part of leading R4@Woolie! I also went back to the Science Museum for the first time in AGES and it was amazing.

The Insanity/Rhubarb team with the QuarterlightsSeptember – I met Paul Layzell and the Quarterlights, celebrated a whole year with Insanity, interviewed Alex Manzi on the eighth floor of BBC Broadcasting House: if there was one month that shows how amazing student media is then this is the one! I also started my third year with courses that I really enjoy.

October – one of the hardest months as I struggled with anxiety and depression but also one of the most amazing. I met rising star Tom Walker, saw #SRADayLondon turn out amazingly, and joined a brand new family: Voices of Holloway! A Night At The Theatre was a great experience and the following week I went to Come In Your Socs (which is the societies club night at the Students’ Union) with three societies (I started at Voices, then Insanity, then actually arrived with the Orbital but mixed around once we arrived)

Credit: Student Radio Association
Credit: Student Radio Association

November – I kicked off the month at home for a well-earned rest, but also went to the wonderful Sorted, which was a spiritual recharge and accidental R4 reunion. The following week was the SRAs, where we didn’t win but had a fun time together as a radio station, and then the rhubarbTV Training Day, which was a fab day learning about all things broadcast and something Jon and Catriona (the organisers) should be very proud of. It ended with another CU Weekend Away too, both productive and restful. I also started my podcast, ‘Doctor Who and the Dissertation’.

Nativity castDecember – the month just gone has been as busy and good as all the others. I’ve had the Voices of Holloway Christmas Concert, multiple Christmas meals, R4 reunion, the Unscene Festival, Create work experience for the second time, chances to see friends from slightly far, the Let Them Hear Christmas Special with added audio drama, work, rest, study, relax, seeing family…

Of course all of the events above don’t count the wonderful friendships I have made and maintained over the year. From those who have been there for years and years to those who I’ve only just had the pleasure to meet, this year has been one I wouldn’t have got through without your love and support. I couldn’t possibly list everyone for fear of accidentally forgetting anyone so I hope you all know who you are!


Blogmas 18: Chart Show stuff and radio airplay

While I was on work experience last week I got the opportunity to write some scripts for the UK Hit Music Chart Show. The show airs on Virgin Radio Montreal every Sunday and reflects the biggest songs in the UK as defined by their airplay on UK radio.

Although I presented an entertainment show on Insanity Radio for two terms and have listened to countless other shows on multiple radio stations, I don’t really know all that much about popular music. My buying of Now! That’s What I Call Music albums ceased at around Now 77, perhaps even earlier, and my main consumption of mainstream CHR (contemporary hit radio) was via the Scott Mills Daily podcast, which does not include music.

Therefore, finding out which songs are big in radio airplay this week was pretty cool and I was reassured that I am not completely out of touch when I realised that I knew the majority of the songs. Having also spent two days in the office listening to Capital for ten hours a day, I completely understand how certain songs have reached their positions in the charts. In fact, it got to a point where every time 24K Magic by Bruno Mars played, I would predict that Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur was coming soon (it was hit and miss whether I was right but they did both play VERY frequently).

Actually writing the chart show was really fun though, and the show airs in the small hours of Monday morning, so from 1am tonight I will be awake listening in and seeing how many of the song positions I can remember! The best way to find the stream is downloading the Virgin Radio Canada app for Android/iOS and, as far as I know, it’s working!

Blogmas 15: Audio editing and childhood

Today was my final day of work experience at Create Productions and it was another great week of what I hope was valuable contributions to the work of the company. Having been there before, I was able to feed back on what I enjoyed and wanted to do more of, which was audio editing (but actually also a bit of everything!).

Last time I was at Create I spent a chunk of my time editing some poems from a competition, and this time I was allowed to do even more audio editing, which was fantastic. It also showed me how fast the turnaround was for some of the content I was creating. The first set of packages I helped put together were airing on the two following days and the second had a similar ‘deadline’, yet I was never pressured to work faster or finish off swiftly. It also slightly altered my view of childhood character ‘Big Bird’, although having never been a Sesame Street fan I didn’t really mind!

You can hear the Big Bird interview I edited here:


Thanks must also go to Create, particularly Mark, for having me back again and I really hope this is not the last time I associate with Create and Fun Kids!

(In case the embedded player doesn’t work, the link is https://omny.fm/shows/fun-kids/big-bird)

Blogmas 12: Today

It’s day 12 of Blogmas and I thought I’d try a more personal style. I started my work experience at Create and had a wonderful first day doing fun things that actually contribute to projects they are involved in (and two people offered to make tea for me! Usually that’s the intern’s job). One of the best things about it is that they remembered me from last time and my fellow intern, Eleanor, who I hope is doing well whatever she is doing.

However, yesterday I was incredibly anxious, and will probably be the same tomorrow. The good thing is that I packed my sandwiches yesterday so I have food to pick up, plus a drink from Pret A Manger that I didn’t finish AND plenty of croissants to pick up for breakfasts all this week. If nothing else, I’ve tried to be organised!

Tomorrow is another challenge that I know I’ll overcome. I have podcasts to keep me entertained, hopefully a plan to meet a friend after work, and fingers crossed that I don’t get back too late to walk home safely (because taxis are not what I want to spend my money on). There’s a partially edited podcast ready to upload and, although my kitchen has been gutted, I do at least have some food and a microwave to make basic meals.

I don’t really think I’ve said very much in 250 or so words, but it’s a sort of self-expression. It’s okay to be anxious and an adult. You can get through it and be a ‘normal’ person on the outside even though you’re internally screaming (or something like that, I don’t think in screaming terms). Ultimately, look after yourself but don’t be afraid to take the challenges that come.

Now, it’s time for me to go and wash up my baked bean covered crockery and utensils, have a shower, and get my eight hours of sleep ready for ‘work’ tomorrow.


Sound Desk

Blogmas 11: Podcasts

Do not fear! This is not a shameless self promotion post! It is about podcasts but not about any of my own work – I’m talking professional, popular podcasts from iTunes. This week I am back at Create Productions for just under a week of work experience, which means a commute. A commute that nears two hours so a four hour round trip. Safe to say I’ve been looking for entertainment options for the journey, and it may be that this comes in the form of podcasts.

Podcasts are nowhere near a new thing – the first podcast I ever listened to was the Scott Mills Daily back in 2009. However, there has been an explosion of podcasts over the last few years and now there are podcasts on many a subject (including my very basic efforts based around my dissertation!) Far from just being the best bits of a radio show, there are now specially recorded podcasts from a variety of genres. Considering I have around 16 hours to kill on the train, I thought I’d try out a few this week:

  1. Kicking the Kyriarchy – This isn’t a new one for me but Insanity Radio Alumni Elena and Sidonie have a great Intersectional Feminism podcast and I haven’t managed to listen to all the episodes yet!
  2. No Such Thing As A Fish – From the makers of QI, this is the first suggestion I got from my friend when I asked for podcast suggestions so I’m going to try it out.
  3. GLAMOUR Presents: Hey, It’s OK… – I don’t tend to read Glamour but they looked like they had good guests and topics and my friend is interning there so I felt like it could be a good talking point.
  4. The Heptagon Club with Paul Kerensa – Another podcast I was already aware of but haven’t got round to listening to, by the amazing comedian Paul Kerensa and his friends – as soon as he got Miranda involved, I was sold!
  5. Terrible, Thanks For Asking – I mainly chose this because I liked the title. Plus how many times do we say we’re fine when we’re actually not.
  6. Recycled Radio – This looks like a cool use of archive material and comes from the pros of Radio 4.
  7. All in the Mind – Although I study history, the brain really intrigues me and I’m interested to see how much I can learn about mental health.
  8. The Listening Project – I’m a big fan of conversations so having a podcast full of the nations conversations seems like a wonderful idea!
  9. What’s The Craic on Radio Reverb – Brighton’s Irish radio show – This is a podcast from a friend from Coastway and I know very little about Irish culture so it should hopefully be enlightening as well as supportive!
  10. Scott Mills Daily – How could I forget my favourite and oldest podcast?! I’m going to mix a few old classics with Beccy involved with the newer episodes so I can both reminisce and keep up to date.

So there we are: ten podcasts, with links, that I am going to try out this week – I’ll fill you in next weekend on my opinions!

Fun Kids Podcasts

You may remember that back in July I was very excited about the audio editing I did as part of my placement with Create Productions. The poems really were of high calibre, especially impressive for the ages of the children involved, and you can now hear the podcasts on a playlist from Fun Kids online and on iTunes. One of my favourite poems was also the hardest to edit because of its length so I’ve included it below* – if you only listen to one of the poems, this is my pick!

I won’t repeat myself from my previous post but listening back to this, and having listened to a lot of commercial radio over the last couple of weeks, I really enjoy well edited radio and would definitely love to look into doing audio editing as part of a future career – so if you like what you hear from an editing perspective, get in touch! And thanks must again go to Create, Fun Kids and the Royal Holloway Placement Scheme for providing this opportunity.


*I am not confident that the embed link has worked so please enjoy the poem on the link here whilst I rectify this! Thanks for bearing with me as I continually figure out WordPress. https://omny.fm/shows/fun-kids/wildverse-2016-coronation-by-lucy-purbrick 

Wildverse on Fun Kids

I spent the last week on work experience at Create Productions, where I did everything from organise my supervisor’s life to audio editing (and many other tasks in between!) – it really was a great week and a wonderful placement. One of the first tasks I had to do was edit the audio of the entries for a competition on DAB radio station, Fun Kids, called Wildverse. With a collection of poetry books gathering dust all over my family home and what some would see as my own odd passion for audio editing, this was almost a perfect task for me!

Even though I only edited the audio, I am very excited to hear the poems being broadcast on national DAB radio and know that I helped create something which loads of people will hear and hopefully enjoy. The poems are really great too and I would definitely recommend listening in to hear them, even if you aren’t interested in my audio editing.

The winners will be announced from tomorrow (Wednesday 20th July) during The Club with Bex, which is on Fun Kids from 4pm every weekday. You can find out more on the Fun Kids website and listen on DAB, online, via their app (Apple and Android) or on a Smart TV! If you want to know more about Create, where I did my placement, their website is here.