February Favourites

I introduce you to the monthly favourites blog post inspired by the many Youtubers I follow and love. It will have 4 sections to it, Television or Film, Album, YouTube and Podcast.

Television or Film: So I really haven’t watched that much, but something that did stand out was a documentary Jim Chapman did for BBC 3 on the subject of  YouTubers. I find it interesting how the world is changing and how YouTube content is the next big thing, as well as the people who create it! I have a massive respect for them as the majority are self taught, learning about filming and editing which can be very difficult.  Even though the documentary didn’t touch on this, it was interesting how people’s careers have started and even learning about the darker side. It was well constructed and made for easy and interesting watching.

Album: Since November I have been listening to Adele’s 25 on a loop. I can’t say there is a single song on it that I dislike. Being a similar age to her I always find myself relating to her music, which is why it is always so special when she comes out with such amazing music.

YouTube: I am obsessed with James Corden’s late late night show uploads. Especially the Carpools, which without fail always make me laugh.  I have to say the Adele and Coldplay ones have got to be the top 2. If you have not already watched these I highly recommend them.

Podcast: I would never really call myself a feminist and while I do believe in equal rights and always have respect for women of the past and what they have done for us, I would never feel the need myself to debate the subject. I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting when I downloaded Lena Dunham’s Women of the Hour podcast. However I was seriously impressed and engaged and found myself amazed by all these women’s stories and how personal it all was. It’s also not too intense and I came out learning all about different types of women. It’s seriously worth a listen.

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Thank you

When I was growing up Terry Wogan was a television presenter and a legend. It wasn’t until my second term at college where I was studying for my Media BTEC that I knew any different. We were asked to conduct research on someone’s career in the industry. Never wanting to follow the crowd and do what everyone else was doing (film directors) I randomly opted for Radio. At the time all I ever listened to was Capital FM, and I had no clue where to even begin. My tutor suggested researching Terry Wogan. It was there I discovered his time working in hospital radio and from this start I went and got myself experience at my local Hospital Radio station. I have to make it clear at this point I had very little desire to do anything within media and was just simply doing it because it seemed like the easy option. It was this little task that somehow magically opened the world of Audio to me.

I thank you Terry Wogan for your hard work and the path you took that inspired me.  Our radio waves and television signals won’t be the same without you.

I leave you with his last radio show at BBC Radio 2…..

Should I go to University?

It’s hard to believe four years ago I was sat in a cramped office with my friend in Africa, refreshing the email page and my Facebook page, waiting to hear from my mum whether I had got my place at University of Lincoln. So, it can be safely assumed that from that opening of this post and the time of year we are talking about University today. I have now studied Media for 6 years, so this is all I know and all I can give advice on.

So let’s start with what my undergrad degree even was. I studied Media Production and it was a 3 year course; it was 75% Practical and 25% Theory. The idea was you focused your study over the 3 years to eventually specialise in a specific area. You started your first year with 6 practical and 2 theory subjects. Then in your second year you chose 2 theories and 2 practical as well as a compulsory theory, the purpose of which was to prepare you for your dissertation. For my theory I took Public Service Broadcasting – a Television Theory Module and Practice of Listening – an Audio Module. For my practical subjects I took Multi-Camera and Radio. In my third year we all did a dissertation and a theory module and then everyone did a practical; for this I chose radio.

So that is a brief overview of my course. But what has that told you? Well, a great deal. Media degrees can be on one area, for example, television, graphics and radio and the course just focuses on that area. Or degrees like mine where you learn a bit of everything and then narrow down and focus on an area. Now I remember I was very keen on looking at Audio Courses and my parents were against the idea, suggesting that I may change my mind and discover something else that would interest me. You see even going with their advice I ended up in audio, but I do see where they were coming from. You may learn something new and there really is no harm in developing other skills, and it is also a way of collaborating with different people. My honest advice is for undergrads to go for a course like mine where you get a feel for everything. Next, the percentage of the course. I remember looking at a few courses where it was 80% Theory and 20% Practical. Now in all honesty if you want to go into media even as a director you need to know about the practical element, and also where they state that percentage it is for each module rather than the whole course. So don’t worry, you do learn more than enough theory. Also think about what happens after Uni as you want to go to a job interview showcasing all the films or practical work you have done, not just the essays you have written. The next bit of advice is about the equipment you may use. I wish I had more access to better equipment as I now realise that the facilities where I spent my 3 years weren’t amazing, however, they got me by but could have been better. Don’t underestimate how important it is to choose the right course for you. It is a big decision as you are going to be studying on that course for 3 years and you need to choose it because it’s what you want to do, rather than what your friends or parents want you to choose.

So the course bit out the way, lets talk about the other bit of the Uni experience. I lived away from home which was the best choice for me. But I didn’t live so far that the parents couldn’t visit for a weekend, which essentially equals, food shop, meals out, snacks out, coffee out basically just so much food and drink. Personally I believe your going to get the best experience if you live away from home. But its not right for everyone. Of course a massive plus for going is all the nights out! University isn’t just about the course and the partying. It is also about the people, now I am from London and my Dad is from Manchester so I liked to think of myself as someone that knows a lot about culture and see’s different walks of life all the time. I realised when I went to Uni I had kind of lived in a bubble, simple things like making friends from the countryside, opens your eyes and your learn about different people and you get to hear the bread roll debate, as well as the is it dinner or tea? Well of course its dinner!

Anyway University is certainly worth it! What with the Government discussing the change of finance, go now while it is the way it is. Also don’t let money be the reason to stop you! University is seriously the best experience you’ll ever have and its not just the course you’ll learn from!

Catch up

So a little catch up…….. When starting the new University term in February my first week back was the usual – lots of talk about what the new term has in store. I had spent my whole Christmas holidays reading up on the subjects and was excited to get started. I was speaking to my friend on the sister-course to mine and she told me they were working with clients and making a film for them, as well as doing a post-piece. I thought long and hard after a tutor on my course told me they had no contacts available for work experience. I was finding it difficult to gain any contacts on my own, and I began to realise I was going to leave my course with 4 essays and one Audio post-piece and little real world experience. After speaking to my tutor I made the move to the course Visual and Audio Social Technologies. Yeah, a long name. I still get to specialise and focus my studies on Audio but I now come out of University with 3 pieces of work of which I am proud as well as the experience of working with a client and some very exciting work experience.

A major benefit of changing courses was that they have more connections outside the University. As a result I have worked on three truly exciting pieces of work during this year. I will go into these in more detail in a future blog.

 I guess the main thing I have learned is for a while I closed myself off, I was on a Audio path and learning very little else. Yes, I have still come out of this still wanting to do Audio even more, but I have learned more skills. I am Avid certified, I know how to work with cameras and lights. I know how to edit on other programs as well as making my own graphics. I also learned how to work with clients and how to present myself in a professional way when working. I also got to see the not so nice or pleasant side of the business.

The Radio and Community

Something I have discussed in the past is how I became involved in hospital radio and how this really kick-started my passion for sound. Hospital radio is also something which I am about to become involved in again. It really is an important thing to do for your community, and personally it helped me gain more confidence. I am naturally a quiet and reserved person, but talking to complete strangers during an evening and asking them what they would like to hear on the radio soon changed that. What I soon began to realise was that most of the patients were not bothered about listening to the radio, and what they actually needed was someone to talk to. It was a complete eye-opener and I completely understood the importance of this.

During my third year at University Lincoln I was part of a project which involved going into schools and teaching students about radio. After a couple of months the students then went to the local community radio station, Siren Radio, to produce their own live shows. My group were given 8 years olds, and yes, there was quite a lot of consternation about allowing 8 year olds in a professional studio, but we soon got past that. Of course we went into this thinking they were going to do everything and learn everything about radio, and that it was all about the radio. It soon became apparent it wasn’t. What this project taught me was the personal growth of the students as well as us. I saw the shyest 8 year olds suddenly become little stars. I think for us it became less about the final grade   and more about wanting to see them do a good job.

The point of this post is the importance of community radio in any form. I personally feel it is something a lot more people should get involved in even if Radio isn’t their thing. So I urge you go to your local Youth Centres or Hospitals and help out. It really is rewarding and fun.

What is Journalism?

If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago what Journalism was I would simply have told you it is writing for a newspaper. It wasn’t until I attended a recent talk at BBC Salford that I began to think about Journalism in more detail. I think that writing on this subject, as well as my Doctor Who blog are forms of Journalism.   In addition my Radio Documentary about the London Underground can be seen as Journalism. This job title actually spreads across a lot of platforms and areas, which leads to a bit of confusion. In my BA Course at University of Lincoln we were taught about roles for radio which included Producer, BA, Reporter and Presenter. As well as these, for a radio drama it was Director, Producer, Recorder and Editor. When I went to visit a Producer at BBC Radio 2 last summer, he actually worked under a show runner and his role did not match what I was taught. I have gone to various talks given by people in the industry and they don’t seem to even know their own titles. I suppose my point is, how can people like me who are trying to make big choices about their careers really have a clue when the role that interests us does not match what we have been taught. I suppose there isn’t an actual answer and you just have to find out when you get there.

journalism-Steve-Garfield

Did Video kill the Radio star?

Yes, we all know the song “Did video kill the radio star” but is it even true? This post investigates that, but not video, instead let’s use the term TV. Let’s start off with a brief history of radio. The first ever radio broadcast was on 13th January 1910 and was a piece of opera. Since then all different types of radio has been broadcast all over the world. The radio was crucial and important to everyone during the war years. It was a way for news to be given to people. If you’ve ever seen the film King’s Speech, you’ll have an understanding of the importance of radio. The film is taking you to the moment when the King announces that we are at war with Germany for the second time. The way his voice is being heard by the nation is via the radio, showing just how important radio can be.

Radio wasn’t then and still isn’t just a device to inform you of the news. It is also a form of entertainment and education. The longest running radio soap is The Archers on BBC Radio 4 and began in 1951. With 63.4m downloading the shows’ podcasts, there are no signs of it deserting our radios.

For me personally radio was the way I got interested with the idea of working in Media. The radio was always on in our house as well as our car, and before the days of having my own TV it was the radio in my room that I used to listen to in my spare time. During my college years I began volunteering for my local Hospital Radio, and that is where I learned my skills for producing and planning a show. For me personally I think radio will be with us as an entertainment medium for a long time.

For people such as my Mum it was where she could be a bit of a rebel and listen to Pirate Radio during the 60’s. It really is something that has always been part of our lives. It is something we all have a memory of; for my mum tuning into her radio, me putting it on a lower volume so my parents wouldn’t know I was awake. For the current generation, it’s dancing to music on the radio via the TV.

Even now with the popularity of television and the use of the internet, as well as so many apps that we don’t actually have enough space for, radio has still been able to keep up. You no longer need to own a radio. You can use your television, laptop, phone or tablet. My point is, that even with television being so popular, I believe that it can never actually kill radio. However, it is a pretty catchy song.

The Guardian (2014) The Archers tops BBC podcast list. Retrieved 9th December, 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/oct/15/the-archers-bbc-podcast-list-radio-4

Wikipedia (2014). History of Radio. Retrieved 9th December, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_radio