We speak to previous winners of the Best Male and Female category of the Student Radio Awards who give their tips and advice on how to put together your best possible entry.
Putting together Student Radio Awards can be a stressful time. Exams have just finished and almost straight away another deadline is looming! To help you out a bit, I’ve been speaking to previous winners of the Best Male and Best Female Presenter to see what advice they have to give…
Here’s Hattie Pearson who won Best Female Presenter in 2012 and now presents on XFM: “Don’t stress about it too much. 99% of us leave it until 5 minutes before the deadline despite being advised that you’ve got buckets of time to get it in the bag. Once it’s done it’s done. There’s no point worrying about it. Get people to listen to it and see what they think! Avoid asking your mum and dad but ask other student radio folk and people at the station you’re doing work experience for example – they’ll give you constructive feedback on how to make your entry the best it can be. Once you’ve pressed submit, get yourself down the pub and download one of those countdown apps so you can nervously anticipate how many days you have to wait until you find out if you’ve been nominated.“ I will admit I was very much in that 99%! Follow Hattie on Twitter @HattiePearson.
Sticking with 2012 winners, I also spoke to Ethan O’Leary, who is alumni from 107 Spark FM: “My advice would be to just have loads of fun with it and don’t take it too seriously. Be weird and crazy. You have the passion for presenting, so make the demo to your style and just be yourself. I spent ages editing mine and the night before deadline I hacked it to bits. Go with your instinct and don’t ask too many people what they think of it as everyone has an opinion and that will boggle your mind. Most importantly is the time that you don’t spend on it, leave it, go away and come back a few days after and listen to it again as you hear it differently. Whatever you do in that time is up to yourself. (I found my 2 for 1 card in my local beverage establishment worked wonders).” Ethan is also on Twitter if you’d like to follow him @EthanOLeary.
Ok, I’m going to head back in time now. Back to 2009 to hear some advice from Best Female Presenter Julie Ann Lough who is alumni from RaW 1251 AM at the University of Warwick on how she put together the written part of her entry: “I guess what I did was find the clips that best represented me and then I played them to friends, other radio people too see if they thought the same. I want to make sure that the entry reflect both my personality and my show and to me, that was the most important thing when making my entry. When you listen back to it, it isn’t just all the funny clips that make people laugh or the quirky features, it was a mixture of lots of things and it shows the range of stuff I could do and gave a true reflection of my show. Saying that I was still editing until 5 minutes before the closing time! I also used my written part to explain a bit about me, why and how I started doing student radio. I also wrote it in a style that was like how I do my show; quirky, informal, honest and frank.” Julie’s Twitter is @JALough.
Finally, I head forward one year to 2010, which is when your current Regional Officer for the South East – Mel Lewis – won Best Female Presenter. “Listen back to your shows in a car If you can. If you think it sounds natural on your car radio – consider it for your demo. And make drafts. Lots of drafts. I made 26 edited versions before entering.” Mel doesn’t actually need any more followers on Twitter as she has millions (around that number I think, anyway…) but she’s @MelIsOnFire just in case.
I also spoke to Tim Johns, who is a producer of the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 and chaired the judging last year for the Best Male Presenter category. He is one of the judges for the Student Radio Awards and he pointed me to the direction of his blog, where he gives some handy hints as to what he is looking for in an entry. Tim has the great Twitter name @TimOnCheese. I don’t know if Tim is generally on cheese or not… maybe we’ll never know…
Best of luck to all those who are thinking of entering!