The Student Radio Association awards is an annual awards scheme that has recognised and celebrated the talents of student radio since 1995. When I heard of the SRA it was like the Oscars of Student Radio.
I’ve been involved in student radio since I was at College when I had a morning show on Radio Lab, the student station at Bedfordshire University. During an open day I enquired if I could gain some on air experience, the uni didn’t have to as I wasnt even a student at the uni, but Radio Lab taught me how to run a desk and gave me an opportunity to get involved, this is what I think is great about student radio that it allows people to give it a try to craft their broadcasting skills. I would present my morning show every thursday right before I headed off to college, it was my frist experience with live studio equipment, more importantly It gave me a chance to learn and improve. my first words on air I read out the wrong frequency code! I’ll always be thankful for Radio Lab for giving me my first taste in broadcasting.
I then headed to London to Westminster University to study Radio Production, There I join Smoke radio with a show there. I later become a member of the committee team which gave me the opportunity to produce others shows, my personal favourite was probably the Bollywood one. The year I was on the committee Smoke Radio won a SRA awards for best station, that was largely due to that years station manager Emma Halligan but im happy I helped.
During my final year at university I entered as much as possible, it was my last chance to get a SRA nomination before I become ineligible after graduating. a few months later the nominations become announced and I see this!
I COULDNT BELIVE MY EYES! I was running around the house like a child on christmas morning. Whist I know awards doesn’t define someone, this was my last chance in getting nominated for I achieved it!
There was a bit of confusion where everyone thought Brian Wilson was the name of the person nominated. I had to correct everyone that’s it’s the name of the person the program is based on as everyone kept asking each other “Who is Brian Wilson?”
The piece itself was a documentary on one of my favourite songwriters Brian Wilson. I created the piece this spring when Smoke Radio briefly turned into Radio Polly, we were celebrating 60s pirate radio to mark the 50th anniversary of the broadcasting law outlawing offshore radio. I enjoyed working on the station immensely as a large chunk of my interests comes from that period. Each week we would focus on a specific 60s artist, I recommended we focus one week on The Beach Boys because It would give me a chance to make a documentary on the songwriter Brian Wilson and the album Pet Sounds.
Anyone in the music industry know Pet Sounds in undoubtably one of the most groundbreaking albums to ever be released with its production methods being revolutionary. It stands as one of my favourite albums along with ZIGGY STARDUST, THE WALL and BAT OUT OF HELL 2 (I have a collective taste).
I had interviewed Angus James a friend from the band The Death Of Pop about the influence and technical achievements of Pet Sounds a year before for the purpose of including it in a Pet Sounds documentary I was hoping to produce in time for the albums 50th anniversary. Time passed and I never did, I had this interview lying about so when we had Beach Boys week I knew it gave me the perfect opportunity to finish what I started.
With less than a week to produce I knew I had to work fast. luckily I had already great knowledge on Brian Wilson. I had seen him the previous year at the London Palladium performing Pet Sounds in full and had listened to The Beach Boys for much of my formative years, I felt confident I could do this documentary justice. I immensely enjoyed editing the archive providing a good timeline detailing the bands rise to success, Brian’s substance abuse, the production of Pet Sounds and Brians declining mental stability.
What I enjoyed most about the documentary was the opportunity to experiment. A segment in the program becomes very distraught and illusive I wanted it to describe Brian’s early experiment with drugs, I tried to create an audio hallucination. It required a great amount of detail and gave a breath of originality to the documentary.
Regardless if it wins or not its an honour to be shortlisted for a SRA award, one final hurrah for my time at university.