Sound Desk

Blogmas 23: We need to reassess ideals of success in the radio industry

Upon seeing an announcement on my Facebook about someone’s radio success, I decided that ideals of success in the radio industry would be my topic for today’s blog. This is, of course, my own opinion, but I think it’s an important issue – not only in the radio industry but in the world of work as a whole.

As you are probably aware, I am part of Insanity Radio 103.2FM, a student and community radio station. In my eyes we are a fantastic station, but in terms of awards and high profile jobs we often can be seen as insignificant. The last time we won a presenting award at the Student Radio Awards was in 2006 where we received a Silver Award for Best Male Presenter because of the talents of Phil Noyce. We did gain Highly Commended for Most Improved Station and Best Outreach Project at the I Love Student Radio Awards but the rest of the award success has been strictly off air.

Please do not misunderstand me, nominations and success in Best Technical Achievement and Marketing and Promotions categories are wonderful, but there is a sense that to be the best in radio, you must be a presenter and visibly successful. I disagree. There are hundreds of people wanting to be radio presenters, but off-air roles feature less prominently. Working off-air IS less prominent, but it shouldn’t be any less amazing to other people.

Yet, there is a sense that you are more of a success in radio if you are an on-air presenter. Today there was a post made on a group for student radio stations congratulating one girl for getting the opportunity to present on Radio X. Yet I have a friend who landed a job in travel news almost straight out of university and also works with the BBC and Free Radio but hasn’t been recognised for any of this in the same way. Of course, she also wouldn’t want that and I hope she knows how proud we are of her without needed to have a Facebook post affirming it.

However, I think there is a bias towards pushing people towards the mindset that to be a success in radio you need to be an on-air presenter. Even if you work in the same building and get paid more in an off-air role, you probably won’t be seen as a success in the same way. Perhaps it’s because there are so many people wanting to present that the few successes are worth celebrating, but there remains demand for production roles too.

Overall, I think that ANYONE gaining a job in the radio industry deserves a massive round of applause and recognition. It’s a tough industry, especially within the large companies, and no-one should feel disheartened for not being the next big presenter – after all it is the team behind the visible personality are the ones that really make radio work!

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.

Entertaining History

Since starting out with presenting on Insanity Radio 103.2FM in October 2015, I have presented a weekly entertainment show surrounding historical events in the past related to the week, entitled Entertaining History (credit to Producer Conor, who came up with the name six weeks in, hence why my first few shows are entitled ‘Beth’s Show’). In the player below you can hear all of the podcasts, from my second ever show to the final edition in March 2016, and hopefully hear me grow in confidence and engage with some wonderful guests, discussing all manner of historical and general topics.

Initially I was on air on Mondays, 3-4pm, and in second term moved to Thursdays, 10-11am, taking on a few cover shows as well, notably on Bonfire Night and Valentine’s Day.