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In this article, we’re looking at the award for Best Female Presenter. We’re going to have a look at a couple of examples of some past winning entries, what you could be putting in your entry, and we’re going to take a look at what some of the past winners of this award are doing now (spoiler: they’re all doing super!)

What is this award all about?
This category is for a female student radio presenter who deserves particular recognition for their overall presentation style and skills, including production and rapport with their audience.

Audio:  A compilation of your best on-air output. Maximum audio entry length is 4 minutes.

Written: A maximum of 500 Words about you and your show.


Previous Winners

This is a big category to win, as traditionally winners and runners-up of this category have gone on into the world of radio, either as presenters or producers – not to say that it gives you a free ticket to getting a job – lots of hard graft has to be done first – but winning this award definitely puts your name out there!

2015 – Claire Duesbury – Fly FM
2014 – Izzie Clarke – URN
2013 – Emma Jones – Fly FM
2012 – Hattie Pearson – Fuse FM
2011 – Tamsin Grainger – Xpress Radio

What should I put in my entry?

Your audio needs to be the best 4 minutes of radio you have done, not a second more! If you’ve ever watched Demo Factor at #SRACon, you will know to kick off with the best link you’ve ever done. Don’t try and structure it like a show, don’t bother with an intro at the start, put the link you are most proud of and the link that will hook the judges straight away at the very start. Also remember DO NOT under any circumstances start the entry with production from your station.

Try and put a nice range of links in there, maybe a personality link, interaction with a caller, a music sell, a game or feature, show off all sides to you, show that you are not a one trick pony and you have a wide range of skills!

Also, REGARDLESS of the type of presenter you are, you have a great chance of winning this award. In 2014, the Best Male Presenter, Calum MacDonald picked up the award with a journalistic approach to his entry. So whether you see yourself as a newsreader, or maybe the next Lauren Laverne, you should definitely enter!

Another tip is get get as many people as you can to listen to it before submitting. Not just radio people but family and friends, random people as well, people who aren’t looking at it from a radio point of view, they are looking at it from a listener point of view. If you have a funny link in there, and your mate doesn’t laugh, maybe its not as funny as you thought. Its hard to be subjective to audio you’ve put together yourself, so get as many opinions as possible!

Finally, please remember that your written entry and your audio entry are just as important as each other! Don’t spend ages making your audio amazing, and then throw together your written bit at the last minute, judges will notice.

Example Entry

This is Claire’s entry, our 2015 winner. She is a specialist music DJ, currently presenting on Vibe 107.6 in Watford.

Claire Duesbury – Fly FM – Best Female Presenter

Radio is and always has been my first love. I’m an avid consumer and although I have some experience presenting, the nerves still kick in the first time that red light flicks on!

As a mature student, I have some experience of presenting specialist shows as I worked on an internet station for a year prior to joining Uni. I also have taken a radio presentation course and volunteered briefly in hospital radio – although I didn’t get a chance to present there.

I joined Nottingham Trent University (NTU) as a postgraduate. I studied a Broadcast Journalism MA. I worked really hard to improve my presentation skills during my time at NTU. I focussed on making the programming as tight as possible, using the music and jingles to enhance my links and trying to engage the listener and keep them attentive.

I began my time at Fly FM presenting a specialist Urban music show. Shortly after, I was encouraged to try presenting a breakfast show as well in which I incorporated my passion and knowledge of Urban music with the playlist and included a few features such as ‘Soundtracking It’; a Hip Hop classic; ‘Tune of the Week’; reviews and news features. I also specialised in playing new releases in order to keep the show fresh and vibrant.  I appreciate it was quite a niche concept so I encouraged the listeners to get involved as much as possible also and made as much use of the newsreaders in the studio as I could. I used my presentation style to highlight my love for music and hoped my enthusiasm would be contagious. I also researched previous charts to pick out and play popular songs from the last few years as I liked to know that my listeners would be reminded of great music from their recent past. Sometimes I would go back quite far and would incorporate songs from as late as the Seventies! I thought that mixing up musical styles from different decades would allow the shows to be a little different and have an exceptional appeal.

The breakfast show was a much more intense experience as I had a much tighter format to the show that centred around the news deadlines. My production skills were honed during this time as I became very skilled in using a clock to format the show and in editing software. Urban music in particular needs extra special attention to become radio-friendly.  I really enjoyed playing commercial songs alongside my specialist area of Urban music. I realised that I have quite a large knowledge of alternative, indie, rock and pop music too and the programming sat really well together to create a distinctive sound. I loved presenting on Fly FM. University radio has a fabulous and unique type of energy that really helped my presentation skills to flourish and I had a blast presenting a variety of shows.

Where are our winners now?

Hattie Pearson, 2012’s winner, is now a presenter on Radio X, joining a line up which includes Chris Moyles, Vernon Kay and Johnny Vaughan.

This is what she had to say about winning a Student Radio Award and how it helped her career. (Back when Radio X was XFM!)

“I’m overjoyed to be joining XFM as a presenter. It’s something I’ve been aiming for since I started work experience over 18 months ago on the breakfast show in Manchester. It sounds a bit cheesy but I really do have those guys to thank for letting me in the building and being a general pest.
Winning the SRA was a great stepping stone that helped me get noticed. I’m super excited about XFM at the moment, I’m going to be part of a brand new schedule with loads of presenters that I really respect and admire. I think that’s really important to be surrounded by people you enjoy listening to yourself because it helps you grow into something you want to be. Early weekend breakfast is going to be so much fun, I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and working hard to develop my skills. This is my first proper gig out of Uni and I’m thrilled that it’s at XFM.”

Here is Hattie’s advice about putting together a Student Radio Award:

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.

And now, going even further back to 2009, I spoke to that year’s winner, Julie Ann Lough about her winning entry. (Julie is now working for the BBC up in Scotland!) and is alumni from RaW 1251 AM at the University of Warwick: 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.

Incidentally, Julie’s show on RaW was an Agony Aunt Show. Proving that you don’t just have to be an entertainment presenter to win Best Female 🙂

That’s it!

Good luck in putting your entry together. I hope you’ve found this useful. Remember the deadline is Friday 15th July at 5pm. No later than that as we are very strict and we turn off the entry system on the dot.

And remember, on the 10th November at the indigO2, it could be you picking up your award.