#RadioRobbie – Meg Walker broadcasts live on Insanity Radio 103.2FM for 36 hours

If the title hasn’t already made you aware, there is something very exciting going on at Insanity Radio 103.2FM, and it’s all for charity! Meg Walker, an Insanity Radio alumni, is live on air for 36 hours and it all kicked off last night at 10pm, continuing until 10am on Sunday, meaning that she has a whole day still to go.

Why is she doing it? Well, it’s all in aid of CLIC Sargent and in memory of her friend Rob, who passed away in 2014 after a battle with testicular cancer. This is her second radio marathon, having done 26.2 hours last year, and she’s been doing well overnight!

Why am I telling you? Alongside being a long term Insanity fangirl, I’ve also helped to organise the marathon – sorting out producers, filling out risk assessments and pointing Meg to people more experienced that me in tech and sound to sort out logins and sweepers. Speaking of sweepers, I also did some of the voiceovers for the sweepers she’ll be playing during the marathon (they’re the bits in between saying “You’re listening to Insanity Radio” etc.). Having been a part of making it happen, I am so pleased to see things come together and lots of money already being raised for charity!

You can watch Meg on the player below!

If you want to learn more about the marathon before the marathon, take a look at Meg’s Facebook event, or visit her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/megisrunningforrob.

I’ll be joining Meg as a producer for the overnight shift tonight, 10pm-6am, so keep her (and me!) going by listening and donating over the graveyard shift!

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!

Nativity cast

Blogmas 22: Audio drama excitement

Today was the final edition of Let Them Hear of the year and we presented a two hour show, featuring an interview with Catholic chaplain Father John and a very exciting audio drama of a modernised Nativity story.

This was my first foray into the world of audio dramas and I kicked off the experience with a bang – I adapted, produced and starred in the drama and I loved every minute. We were blessed with a wonderful albeit small cast of Clement Jones, Miranda Hersey and Julia Ingles-Taylor (sorry for spelling) plus my regular co-presenter Rachael Rampat – all of them helped bring the story to life and were complete naturals, despite only reading the script minutes before we recorded.

Once our recording was done, we needed post-production. A few volume adjustments were needed as we were working with five people and only two mics – no matter how hard you try, you can’t situate yourself perfectly with a microphone when you have to share! This required Audacity AND Myriad SmoothEdit but I got there in the end – Adobe Audition would have got the job done perfectly but also has the disadvantage of costing a considerable amount.

One of the most stressful but also most fun parts of post-production was the sound effects. I have been fascinated with Foley since 2005 when I saw an episode of Doctor Who Confidential focusing on how sound effects are made for the TV show outside of the actual sound recording on set – it’s no wonder I’m now looking to go into sound! I’m not sure how far the sound effects we used could actually be classed as Foley but I had great fun wandering around the Students’ Union looking for a good door to show Joseph’s exit and also standing on the platform at the train station on the way to London trying not to look weird with my dictaphone (I did the same at Caffe Gondola but it made an amazing crowd sound!)

The last part of editing our audio drama was to put it all together with relevant music. We were able to showcase a range of lesser known artists featured on Noisetrade with new versions of classic hymns and I think we did a good job of charting the Nativity through both drama and music!

Did you listen to Let Them Hear this morning? Did you enjoy the audio drama? Let me know! I’ll be posting a link to the podcast once it is uploaded (and my internet problems have subsided)

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 13: 3 x 10 List

I am officially over halfway through Blogmas, which must be better than last year’s efforts. Today’s post is inspired by a post on the blog Life Lenses and I thoroughly recommend that you check it out via the link here: http://catrionas-lifelenses.blogspot.co.uk. It is the 3 x 10 List, outlining things about me and my life in 10 lists of 3 – you may find it incredibly boring and I apologise if that is you!

3 things I’m looking forward to
✎ Going home for Christmas
✎ People hearing the Christmas special of ‘Let Them Hear
✎ Seeing lots of friends

3 things I’m not looking forward to
✎ Commuting
✎ Being anxious about work
✎ Potential post-graduation uncertainty
3 things I like
✎ Friends
✎ Kindness
✎ Productivity
3 things I don’t like
✎ Water
✎ Rude people
✎ Pressure
3 things I want to do
✎ 24 hour radio marathon
✎ Drink more water
✎ Go to the cinema

3 things I should do
✎ Write Christmas Cards
✎ Sleep more
✎ Stop worrying

3 things I can do
✎ Edit audio
✎ Write
✎ Buy things
3 things I can’t do
✎ Stop worrying
✎ Ride a bike
✎ Keep my room tidy
3 things on my mind
✎ Anxiety
✎ Food
✎ Work
3 things I talk about a lot
✎ Myself
✎ Insanity Radio 103.2FM
✎ Anxiety
3 things I want
✎ Less anxiety
✎ People to pay attention to what I email/say
✎ Better timekeeping
3 things that make me calm
✎ My bed
✎ My parents
✎ Glenn Miller
3 things that stress me out
✎ Packing to go home
✎ Being on time
✎ London
3 things I’m doing this weekend
✎ Working
✎ Driving home
✎ Carols by Candlelight
3 things I have done these past week(s)
✎ Had my first experience of a drive-thru
✎ Listened to The Last 5 Years A LOT
✎ Written my last essay of the term
Pasta at Caffe Gondola

Blogmas 8: Caffe Gondola – An unexpected find

Today I took an essay break and headed down to Egham with some of the other media board members (although it basically ended up as an Orbital social with an added Insanity board member). Nevertheless, it was a lovely evening which took an unexpected turn. We had hoped to go to Baja, a great Mexican place which is usually empty, but they couldn’t seat us for almost 2 hours so we headed elsewhere.

We ended up in Caffe Gondola, an Italian restaurant tucked away at the top of the High Street next to Oxfam. With the season of Christmas meals well underway I was not hopeful we’d find somewhere to sit, but the restaurant is HUGE and we got a table easily. Slightly pricey compared to the Italian restaurants I’m used to at home (Donatello’s/Pinocchios in Brighton did a basic pasta/pizza for under a fiver) but there was pretty standard food for under £10 and the portion sizes were sizeable – I also liked the idea of a starter size pasta for £2.50 less than the main course. I got a Fettuccine Carbonara and it completely filled me up plus it was very tasty.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a venue for groups larger than 6 if you want to be able to chat to each other – it’s quite a loud environment so you tend to only talk to the people immediately around you but the staff were lovely. I would definitely return, so I guess our unexpected evening turned out pretty well!

Farewell to Insanity (for now…)

Yesterday I closed the door to the media suite for the last time before the SU shuts for a lot of the summer. In ten weeks time I am going to return with a sudden realisation that this is the longest I will have spent away from the media suite since I started my involvement with Insanity Radio 103.2FM last October.

The suite is both a fantastic place and also a curse. Clocking in 10 hours a day on certain occasions, it’s not always a healthy place to spend time, particularly when spending time there ends up dragging you into helping with projects which are nothing to do with your role. One case study is that of Insanity’s involvement with E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. I cannot remember why I was there, I think I had a few meetings and some admin to sort out for the Summer Schedule, but I ended up becoming involved in an application for funding to get our members over to LA. It was a cool thing to do but definitely not what I was there for in the first place! On a related note, the outgoing Head of Marketing and his companion managed to make it over to E3, disregarding the wonderfully proof-read application, and the coverage is in full swing at http://www.insanityradio.com/e3. Sticking around in the media suite, as with any office, is probably not fantastic for your health though, with people who have been there for a long time becoming easily irritated and developing a growing affinity for the vending machine, or worse not eating at all for more than 8 hours. Whatever role you are in, please look after yourself in the office, keep hydrated and fed, and set limits for how long you stay and what you do whilst there – and this goes for all situations, within and outside student media.

A break from actively creating content for Insanity will probably be a very good thing, but that doesn’t mean that there are no shows in the next ten weeks – for a start the SU isn’t closed for all of that time and I haven’t planned my holidays around when Insanity is accessible by any means! In fact, by the magic of technology, between now and when term starts in September, there are approximately 24 hours of radio scheduled to feature my voice, on a myriad of themes from scoliosis to summer camp. Keep an eye on the Insanity Radio website to find out more about who you can hear over the summer and look out for my scoliosis special on International Scoliosis Awareness Day (25th June, 12-2pm).