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Thinking of entering the Student Radio Awards? Here are some top tips from the judging coordinators and previous winners of the Best Newcomer award about putting together entries for The Student Radio Chart Show and Best Newcomer…

Staying with the theme of ‘top tips for putting together your entry for the Student Radio Awards supported by BBC Radio 1 and Global Radio’ (going to have to think of a catchier name than that…) In this news article I’m going to focus on Best Newcomer and The Student Radio Chart Show Award. This piece was adapted from my newsfeed that goes out to members every Friday… but with extended advice!

Best Newcomer – I spoke to some students who have previously won awards in the Best Newcomer category as to how they put together their entries and what they included. First up, it’s Aislinn Hayes from IC Radio at Imperial College London who won her award when Professor Green and Emile Sande were topping the chart with Read All About It (was that really two years ago?!) She had this advice to give:

Top tip, start editing a few days before the deadline as opposed to a few minutes lads! I think for the Best Newcomer category in particular a good written application is hugely important, because that’s where you can really show your enthusiasm for working in radio. My application was pretty tailored to me and how radio helped me settle in after moving here from Ireland etc etc (a good immigration story, gets ’em every time). I also focused a lot on what I hoped to achieve with the station in the future, not just what I had done in my first year. As for the recommendation, ask someone who knows you well and knows how you work, as opposed to getting a mediocre one from the station manager. Mine was from the technical manager and it was absolutely bangin’, us nerds gotta stick together. And as for the audio, go with your instincts. I think most presenters know themselves what works and what doesn’t. Just make sure you leave yourself enough time to figure it out 🙂

I also had a chat with Abbie McCarthy (tweet @AbbieAbbieMac) who won the Best Newcomer award last year: “Firstly, the Best Newcomer award is about more than just the audio – the written part is really important too, so try and really convey your passion and love for student radio and all the things it has allowed you to do. Half of your written entry includes a recommendation from someone at your student radio station, so make sure you ask someone that knows you well, is aware of everything you have got involved in during your time in student radio so far and is a generally a bit of a babe and will say nice things about you!

The best thing I think I can say about the audio part is have fun with it and don’t turn crazy editing it for hours! Think of some of your favourite and weirdest moments on air and include those, as they are what will make you stand out! I found it really useful getting other people to have a cheeky listen through to my entry to get different opinions and constructive feedback, before I made my final changes. And then afterwards treat yourself to a Maccys and a few pints at the pub… that was the lucky combination for me!”

Next up, we have silver award winner from 2012, Giles Gear from URN at the University of Nottingham:“This should be used as an opportunity for you to showcase your overall contribution to the station and the numerous ways you’ve been involved.

Also, near death experiences are clearly favoured. I think presenting a live link one hundred feet in the air whilst clinging to a phone and resisting the temptation to scream expletives was enough to get me nominated on its own.

Most of all, if you’ve had fun and loved every second of your student radio experience, make sure that shines through in your entry.

P.S. Damn you Abbie McCarthy” 

This advice wouldn’t be complete without some tips from the judges, and this week those tips come curtesy of Tim Dye and Mark Farrington, who coordinate the judging of the awards. They have this to say:

• Tell us your story about getting involved in the station

• What you’ve done over the last year both off air and on air?

• Have you made an impact on the station and done so with passion for student radio?

• Your off air contribution is a bigger part than other awards – the audio is basically extra in this category.

The Student Radio Chart Show Award – Did you host the Student Radio Chart Show this year? Fancy producing the Big Top 40 one day? If so, ENTER THIS CATEGORY! We go back to Tim and Mark for tips on entering this category:

• If you hosted The Student Radio Chart Show – enter this category!

• Judges are looking for an entry that followed the SRA chart show format/specifications – but done so in a creative way & with your own station’s feel

• No written entry in this category – judges get comments from SRA exec & chart officer about your station’s part of syndication, did you meet deadlines etc…

Right, that’s enough tips for one day! Coming up soon, we concentrate on the Specialist Music category and Best Entertainment, so keep a look out!

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