Each year the Radio Academy educate and inform the next generation of radio talent by supporting them with a number of day long Masterclasses.
The latest was last week, on site at the Radio One Big Weekend in Bangor, ably hosted by Sky's Lynsey Hooper.
The full day's speakers, seminars and hands on sessions were provided by the Academy for only £25 to ensure that they are accessible to students, community stations, hospital radio and any young people looking to get work in the broadcast industry.
The session drew in an impressive variety of speakers from both the BBC and commercial radio arenas; from on-air talent in the guise of Fearne Cotton through to Steve Simms who has just left Heart as programme controller for the old Marcher group.
The session kicked off with an exclusive tour of the One Big Weekend site, it was pretty eerie wandering round that big blue tent before the gates opened to the swarms of 20,000 Radio 1 listeners.
The real Andy Parfitt, Controller of Radio 1 (not to mention Popular Music, 1Xtra, Asian Network and Switch), talked about how digital radio's position “is poised” for the future and explained to the group how Radio 1 was all about the audience. In an open question and answer session Andy said, “In commercial radio, producers are there to make creative content for advertisers, in the BBC, the producers are there to make great content for listeners”. Surely, the challenge for commercial radio is that it needs to do both.
The most eye opening session was lead by Sam Bailey who is part of the BBC interactive team. They deliver BBC radio's visual content on the web, bringing the One Big Weekend to the 440,000 listeners who were disappointed they didn't get tickets to the event. Sam made it clear to the group that it was “important to make radio with visualisations, rather than just crap TV”. “Here, here!” we all say – shame we haven't all got an interactive department and the licence fee to do it.
The delegates were put through their paces when they were asked to choose five of the 15 press releases they were given for a BBC local, Heart or Newsbeat news bulletin. Rod McKenzie (Newsbeat) and Phil Topham (Heart NW and Wales) were on hand to guide the group through the editorial differences of the stations, some of the group even got a taste of what it would be like working for Rod. Harsh but fair. Apparently it’s the only way to learn.
To finish off the day, Exec Producer for BBC Radio 1, Joe Harland created a fantasy radio show – it’s like fantasy football, only way better. He summed up the event by saying “The biggest challenge is to connect with younger audiences that have largely abandoned traditional radio”.
If you are waiting for the future to happen, you’re too late, it’s already here.
[b]This feature has been written for eRADIO by Trafficlink Communications and Training Manager Andrea Day and re-published on RadioToday.co.uk[/b]