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!

Advertisements
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 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
Tim and Beth on Let Them Hear with Lizzy Fretwell

Podcasts for Let Them Hear

On Thursday we proudly aired the first edition of Let Them Hear live on Insanity Radio 103.2FM, co-presented by myself and Tim Telford alongside special guest Lizzy Fretwell, president-elect of the Christian Union at Royal Holloway, University of London. I will admit that I was anticipating a lot more opposition and indifference from people around the media suite but everyone was very chilled and encouraging about the show, which made us a lot calmer! Highlights include Shakespeare or Bible? and Lizzy’s wonderfully natural chat about the CU and the Bible verse of the week and the full show can be accessed via the playlist below, which should also take you to our future shows!

Next week we have Hannah from Christ Church Virginia Water coming in with more games and great music, including a song close to my heart from Melissa Hubert. Tune in 11am-12pm every Thursday on Insanity Radio 103.2FM.

Let Them Hear on Insanity Radio 103.2FM

Yesterday saw the start of a new term and therefore a new schedule for Insanity Radio 103.2FM, the community radio station based at Royal Holloway, University of London. For the last two terms I have been presenting a weekly entertainment breakfast/afternoon show entitled Entertaining History, which I have really enjoyed and have been well supported with. However, recently my friend Tim and I both had the same idea for a radio show concept, which has excitingly just been accepted into the schedule on Thursdays 11am-12pm. This is a completely different show to Entertaining History – there are two of us presenting for a start and it is a specialist show.

What is our specialism? We are both from the local parish church in Egham, St John’s, and really wanted to share the wonderful music we hear in Christian circles and challenge the idea that Christians are boring and sing hymns in harmony all the time. Inevitably we will also talk a bit about the songs and the sentiments behind them and also involve local churches with guests to tell us about their lives as Christians. We are called Let Them Hear after a similar show on Leeds Student Radio (you can find their show on Facebook), who took the name from Matthew 11:15 ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear’ (NIV). We really want people to hear the wonderful music we are playing and know about the activities of Christian faith groups in the area so they can find their own opportunity to hear the gospel, or just enjoy the amazing game that we will be playing live on air!

You can hear our very first show on Thursday 28th April, 11am-12pm on Insanity Radio 103.2FM across North Surrey and South East Berkshire, and across the world online at http://www.insanityradio.com/listen. You can also keep up to date with what’s going on with the show at our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/letthemhearinsanity.