Opinion: When young and old combine in radio
Sera Baker, new Radio Academy Intern, writes about the ReelWorld Radio Academy’s ’30 Under 30’ competition with two previous winners.
As is the way in most industries, youngsters learn the tricks of the trade from their wiser and more experienced colleagues. But in a time where innovative and quality radio is so often fused with social media and other platforms, do we find ourselves in a situation where the young are leading the old?
In conversation for The ReelWorld Radio Academy’s ’30 Under 30’, young BBC network producers and multi-time winners of the competition, Will Wilkin and Ben Stones, talk about the surge of young, innovative and technically savvy pioneers within radio.
“I don’t think there’s been a change in radio as big as social media since technology moved us from cutting tapes on reel” says Will. They both agree that as a medium, radio has and continues to completely transform itself by incorporating other platforms. In a nutshell, these guys emphasise the importance of producers who are familiar with modern platforms, believing they’re often the key to creating good radio these days.
“The young people coming through now have very different experiences and skills to the generations working above us working in radio. We bring an almost natural knowledge of social media, for example, simply because we’ve grown up with them” says Ben.
Agreeing, Will adds “They are skills that are almost subconscious, but they allow us to bring a new approach to creating radio. We’re naturally thinking about different elements; how to go viral, how to turn something that’s just audio into something visual and vice versa. This way of thinking gives content so much more breadth”.
Despite being great advocates of what young people in the industry are offering, they are quick and sincere in admiring their more senior colleagues. “Obviously we learn so much from them; they have an incredible wealth of experience. So when you couple up a social-media-aware producer with an elder [they note and apologise that this sounds like something from Lord of the Rings] it’s just absolutely brilliant”.
For several years now, The ReelWorld Radio Academy’s ’30 Under 30’ competition has championed and recognised the credible and innovative output from the industry’s younger members. If you work with a young talent, you can nominate them on The Radio Academy website, or even put yourself forward. Entries close at 10am on Friday the 29th of July 2016.