Sam Starling
24 October 2010

Radio Festival Radio Roundup

So I’m fresh back from working as a producer/technician/jack-of-all-trades at Radio Festival Radio, a pop-up station that ran for three days to cover this year’s Radio Festival in Salford. Apologies in advance that I’m sort of stealing the format of this blogpost from fellow RFR man Matt Harrison. So what did I learn?

It’s a friendly industry. This wasn’t completely new to me, but the whole project was built upon favours and the goodwill of others – right through from the presenters to the studio space and the streaming. Big thanks to Colin, Mike and the team at Global Manchester for letting us use the studio, office and kettle. I’m pretty sure we may have made Clint Boon late at one stage as well. Oops.

The Lowry is a fantastic venue. But, Salford Quays and MediaCityUK still seem a bit odd to me – I think it’s because the whole place has shot up over the past few years and it doesn’t feel very “bedded in” yet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant place, it just feels somewhat uninhabited at the moment. I challenge you to find a decent pub within walking distance of The Lowry, and before you say Lime Bar, that definitely doesn’t count.

People are more approachable than you think. I managed to pluck up the courage to ask Andy Parfitt a quick question, and the rest of the team managed to get Richard Bacon to come and do an interview with us live on air. It echoes what I saw at Folder Media – nearly everyone is happy to help out where they can, even if that’s just a friendly chat. Even Ashley Tabor took time to pop his head around the door when he was touring around Global’s Manchester offices.

Doing a live radio show is scary, but a massive amount of fun. Our team produced a huge amount of fantastic content, but the running order of our live shows evolved as they happened. As a result, we were left with some great stuff that we just didn’t have the time to use. I have absolutely no experience of how time-sensitive live shows like that work in the “real world”, but it made me wonder how much content gets produced elsewhere without ever seeing the light of day. I’d be interested to hear comments on that one.

Scheduling music radio is tricky. I have no idea how the music bosses of stations manage to separate what they want to hear, and what their listeners want to hear. Me and Kieran (the station manager) had lots of fun hitting the ‘K’ button in Selector and telling it to play something else. Craig David anyone?

No song should begin like Diana Vickers’ “Once”. It makes everyone in the studio panic.

We also played host to the first ever live edition of RadioTalk, which is available in podcast form. If you’re even mildly interested in radio, then you should subscribe - it’s good. But then I’m biased, because I helped to record the latest one.

Whilst I only made it to one of the sessions across the whole festival (Evans and Mallett, a good choice), I had a fantastic time and worked with a team of absolutely brilliant people. If you listened, then I hope we managed to bring you a taste of what was going on at the Radio Festival. And if you didn’t get a chance to tune in, we’ll try and get some highlights online soon.

Same again next year, anyone?