Obelisk Pond through trees

Blogmas 24: I did it!

Today is Christmas Eve, which marks the end of Advent, which means the end of Blogmas! And I’ve completed it! 24 daily blog posts consecutively! Going into this I knew it would be a challenge and half expected myself to fail part way through but I managed one post every single day, written the same day.

2016 has been an interesting year. In some respects its been amazing. In others it has been awful. A lot of unexpected events happened in politics, a lot of people have died and a lot of things have altered. The public feeling is that the end of 2016 can’t come soon enough.

However, great things have happened in 2016. Malaria is decreasing, more children are getting an education and Harry Potter returned. I want to do a more detailed post about the amazing things that happened this year, but a few highlights are going to the BBC (twice!), getting elected as Head of Training, being reminded of how amazing my friends are, getting involved in the fabulous R4 and so many more wonderful things.

Whether you’re having a huge family Christmas or spending the day alone in bed, have a fabulous Christmas Day! And if you’re wondering what it’s all about, have a look at the Nativity story in the gospels of Matthew and Luke and then…keep reading to see what baby Jesus becomes.

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!

Blogmas 17: Emails

Today I have been at work and there’s been a lot of waiting, which means a lot of time to work on other things – namely sorting out ALL of my emails in my general inbox. This is something I do pretty much every time I come to work, and then allow the emails to build up and then have to repeat the process.

However, today was different. I began my day with over a thousand unread emails. It’s coming up to 1pm and I have none. Granted, I have 166 emails in my action folder that need to be dealt with eventually, but nothing new clogging up my actual inbox. I can’t actually recall the last time I had this few emails.

Looking back over my inbox has been pretty interesting too. I have found emails from people I forgot I knew and had some nostalgic moments too. It’s nice to be able to look back on memories in email form but it’s also good to be able to let go of some of the useless nonsense that I archived in my inbox.

So, my tip of the day: have a clear out! You may not be able to physically tidy things, but sorting out your virtual space is also highly valuable and rewarding.

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.

 

Notebook and pen in grass

Blogmas 1: ‘Become better writers by writing a lot’

Today is the first day of December, which is the start of Advent and means that Christmas is just around the corner. On my previous blog, I attempted Blogvent, or what I later discovered was commonly known as Blogmas – 1 post every day for Advent. I didn’t complete it, but my blog is long overdue some content and this year I am planned and ready to finish the challenge!

To start my challenge, I have chosen a quote from a study skills session I attended that was run by one of my seminar tutors: ‘Become better writers by reading a lot, become better writers by writing a lot’. This is something that is true and transferable to multiple settings. Not only should you practice your craft – and believe me, practice does the world of difference – but also learn from others.

Take writing. If I think about it, I can read something and find aspects that I think are really good and then try to adapt features to fit my own writing style. It’s also applicable to radio. If I hear a good feature or topic, I’ll make a note and come back to it to see how I can make it my own – it can even apply to good song combinations. I’m not one for plagiarism though, so that’s always something to bear in mind.

On the other hand, there’s a practical aspect to the statement and that’s almost what Blogmas is all about – writing to improve writing. Writing to improve consistency, writing to improve commitment and writing to improve content. You can’t vow to be a better writer without doing a lot of it, in fact you can’t be a writer at all! This can be applied to anything – radio, sport, music, the list goes on… I know from experience that anything I start improves as I do it more and looking back at early radio shows and writing pursuits, I can see the change.

So this is where Blogmas begins! There will be posts about events I am involved in, comments on things I have read and updates on what I have been up to over the past few months. If you have ideas or suggestions, send a comment or a message over my contact tab, and I hope you enjoy the next month of content!

 

Elections and campaigning

Today is the day of Police and Crime Commissioner elections, local council elections, and elections for the London mayor. Next month will see the EU Referendum, where the UK will decide whether to remain part of the European Union or become independent from it. A year ago, on the day of the General Election, I wrote a post on my blog entitled ‘Facebook and political campaigning’, which was a very in the moment response to the amount of friends who were posting about their political affiliations on social media. However, in the last few months I have been heavily involved in campaigns for student elections, where much of the campaigning is online. How far have I contradicted my own words from last year?

“Political campaigning has no place on social media, unless it is for the purpose of encouraging the act of voting” – I was vaguely part of two campaign teams during the Students’ Union officer and media head elections, strongly sharing my support for the candidates I believed to be the best on Facebook. I did this via text posts, in which I also explained the reasons why I had chosen to back that candidate, and added profile pictures and cover photos which showed who I supported. I also aimed to encourage people to do their own research and vote in elections which they may otherwise have not have known about (in the case of the media head elections particularly). There’s no doubt that my words last year have become hypocritical, but the SU elections are a particularly grey area. There was no physical campaigning for the media head candidates, leading the campaigns to be solely based online and via word of mouth. My investment in the media outlets on campus meant that I was very keen to get my favoured candidates elected and so I was active on social media, but had this been a national election I would not have been as vocal on social media.

“I am becoming increasingly irate at the multiple posts from people blatantly promoting their political affiliations” – This is very true. I don’t want to see a news feed full of Vote Labour/Vote Conservative/Vote Green etc. posts! They get aggressive and that is not encouraging for anyone else to read who holds different political views. In local and general elections the opportunity arises for physical campaigning and I feel that this is the better way to gain support from the electorate. In fact, even during the SU elections I found it more helpful to see manifestos in paper form than online. Actual political party affiliations are best kept outside of social media.

“By all means use your right to vote, in fact I implore you to do so” – If this is the only thing you take in from this post, please take the opportunity today to vote in whatever elections are going on around you! People died so that a wide spectrum of the population can have a say in who represents them in government. Whether it’s a Police and Crime Commissioner, a Borough Councillor or the London Mayor, please take the opportunity to vote.

Although I may have not listened to my own words, please take care on your usage of social media around the election season. Be open to those with other political views and make sure that the idea of voting is at the forefront of any campaigning you do.