Be Brave. Be Bold.

James Stodd & James Rennie - C4 Radio Canterbury Summer 1992

There are some things that you need to see.And some you don’t.

Me in shorts with a dodgy haircut is fairly inexcusable. But it was when I was a student. And that makes almost anything forgiveable (apart from wearing headphones on a photo shoot).

This photo was taken during the Sunday lunchtime show that James & I used to do on C4 Radio in Canterbury (now long gone and part of CSRfm). The programme was called “Crucial FM” (ripped off from the name of a Lenny Henry show sketch). It featured music, talking rubbish, stories from the Magic Roundabout and other old records we found in a second hand record shop in town.And occasionally the appearance of 2 characters called “Pat and Val”(loosely based on the cleaners who used to clean our halls – Thorne Hall if you really want to know).

This was the Summer of 1992. That was the year I spent my summer working as the Management Runner at BBC Radio 1. That was the year that I blagged the most free CDs and gig tickets ever. That was the summer that I paid daily visits to McDonalds on the “bloat up” run for Steve Wright. That was the year that I took Simon Bates’ dry cleaning to the dry cleaners. That was the year I won my Student Radio Award.

It was a very long time ago.

My Original Student Student Radio Award (with others)

My prize for winning the award was a box of CDs (there was a Jimmy Nail CD in there) and a lovely certificate. I still have the certificate. It sits in our home office next to a few other awards and my Doctor Who picture. (Who has always been cool ever since the time I met Tom Baker aged 6. End of).

Tonight (November 9th 2011), this years Student radio Awards take place at the IndigO2.

There is some debate about the history of the awards. Before the SRA there was NASB. I’m sure something happened at some point and it was disbanded. I remember attending a meeting when the SRA was set up. It may have been at Hatfield Uni. It may have been in Hull. Whatever the history,the Student Radio Awards have been around in a few guises for a number of years. And winning one, even back then, meant a huge amount.

This is a Cassette. Better than Minidisc.

I still have my entry. Luckily for you (and me) it’s on antique technology. No, it really is. This kids is a cassette. It’s what we used to pirate songs off the radio before the Internet. I listened to it a couple of years ago – and it was pretty average. But back then, being a DJ was what I wanted to be. And Student Radio let me do it.

The problem with student radio is that many people now, like me then, wanted to emulate what is curently on the radio. Back then, when I ran the station, I wanted it to sound like the local commercial station. I had jingles from America. I had an American Voiceover. And there was a team of specialist DJs who hated all of that and wanted to do things very differently.

I wish I’d have listened to them.

Student Radio can be about making the station sound  the best it can be. It can be about being the best presenter. But  what it really offers is the opportunity that you may never get in a professional radio career.; to experiment and fail. To try new things. To experiment. It may well give you more creative freedom than you’ll ever get in the real world. But, hopefully, it’ll allow you to create something new and inspiring to those people currently running radio.

One of the reasons I’ve been a judge for the last few years is that I think these awards have such a huge ability to encourage potential. The fact that Radio 1 and much of the UK’s commercial radio support them is testament to that. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the new winners from this year; who knows where they will end up?

So to all of you nominated at the awards this year and to all of you aspiring to succeed in the coming years; be brave; be bold. And most of all, never have a publicity photo done with you wearing headphones.

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