We talk to previous winners of the Best Entertainment and Best Specialist Music at the Student Radio Awards, as well as the judging coordinators, Mark Farrington and Tim Dye, with their Top Tips on winning awards!

These tips were revealed in the newsletter last week, but now here they are in full!

Best Entertainment

For the Best Entertainment category, I spoke to Ollie Bayliss and Liam Higgins who were both at URN and won this category in 2010, and were nominated for it again in 2011: “The best entertainment category is about being funny and entertaining; but more importantly it’s about being creative and original. Pick clips which really show off what you do differently to other programmes and presenters. Cherry pick audio which will really set you apart and catch the ears of the judges. Don’t be afraid to spend hours listening back to old shows, we cringed too! Initially, put together more audio than you need and get as many people as possible to listen to it. Constructive feedback can be invaluable!” Ollie is currently a producer at BBC Three Counties Radio and Liam is currently a freelancing at Somethin’ Else Productions. Follow them on Twitter @Ollie_Bayliss and @liamdhiggins

I also spoke to judging coordinators Tim Dye and Mark Farrington, who gave me the following tips on what the judges are looking for in this category:

• This is a category for a general entertainment programme (e.g. breakfast show – so there can be more than one voice on air)

• We want to see relevance of your show to a student audience

• We want to see professionalism in your entry, something that listeners could enjoy listening to (e.g. few in-jokes and no “messing around”)

Best Specialist Music

I spoke to Scott McGerty from 107 Spark FM whose Dance Revolution show won Gold in 2012 and Bronze in 2011. He gave some really good advice:

“Choose one person who knows what they are talking about and that you respect to be your feedback person. Asking loads of mates for their opinions is just confusing and most people just keep asking until some says its good – its probably not a winning entry in that case.

This advice may be too late now, but bank your material as you go across the year or your RSL. After each show, pinpoint the good crunch and rolls, the good live reads, the best part of an interview, the links that were bursting with your personality, the ones bursting with specialist knowledge and the best caller that day etc. If you don’t have all of theses things as part of your show, try factor them in regularly as they’ll help you later in the day plus it simply makes your show more multi sensory.

With specialist knowledge links, get the balance of facts and opinions. Links slagging something off for vague reasons might not carry across as well as some facts on the band or track followed by your opinion. 

Every link must sound like you’re enjoying yourself!

When you piece together your entry make sure and showcase the music for a few seconds too. In other entries, leaving music in is wasting time where you can be promoting something else but in Best Specialist, you can get away with it. Not too much though! Show how broad the music is on the show

Just make good radio all the time. If the audio isn’t already in your back catalogue, ask why not? Creating links specifically to go into submissions might work but it gets you an award not a career

Awards entries win awards, not shows and not people. If you don’t get a nomination, its only based on the audio and the written submission. It doesn’t mean that your show isn’t kick ass, It doesn’t mean that you can’t present. It just means that someone else, on this occasion, put together audio that the judges liked better.”

And we hear from Tim and Mark who have this to say from the viewpoint of the judges:

• This entry focusses on your presenting Style & Delivery and presenters must show a passion and knowledge of the music you’re playing/talking about

• It doesn’t have to just be “evening programmes” as some daytime shows play tightly focussed music selections

• Entries to this category also include music documentaries or specials – but with a focus on the music played

Good luck everyone! Only five days of stress left!