In this article, we’re looking at the award for Best Newcomer. We’re going to have a look at a couple of examples of some past winning entries, and we’ll get some quotes from our judges about what they’re looking for and what makes a great entry.
What is this award all about?
This category is for a member of a student radio station who has been involved for less than one year in student radio as a whole. They deserve particular recognition for their overall contribution to the station and not necessarily their presenting efforts. This award is open to students who can provide details of their achievements not only on air, but also off air as well. The written description from the entrant should include information for the judges about how they got involved in the station.
Written: A maximum of 2 pages in PDF format about everything you have achieved this year, both on and off air (1 page from the individual applying, 1 page to be written by your station manager or similar).
This is a great category to win to set you on your way, Ben Sheppard picked it up 3 years ago, and has since been named in the Radio Academy 30 under 30, and the year before Abbie McCarthy, who recently filled in for Hugh Stephens on BBC Radio 1, picked up the award!
2015 – Rebecca Saw -URY
2014 – George Ward – Radio ENRG
2013 – Ben Sheppard – Fly FM
2012 – Abbie McCarthy – RaW 1251
2011 – Ian Thursfield – RamAir
What should I put in my entry?
Up until a few years ago this entry required audio as well as written, however this was altered to give as many people the chance to pick this award up, no matter whether a producer, a technical operator, a manager or even events organiser. So all that is required now is a written piece, 1 page from yourself, 1 page from a station manager or someone similar.
In your side of the written piece really focus on what you have achieved this year. From where you began to where you are now, maybe you came in quiet and shy and hadn’t touched a radio studio, and these days you can’t shut up! Pick a few examples of great pieces of work you have achieved in the last 12 months, something that will make you stand out from every other entry. Also its important to show passion in this entry, show much you love what you do, how you have continuously gone above and beyond the role that is expected of you.
Maybe as a producer you ran countless Outside Broadcasts in the torrential rain at 6am in the morning, but you didn’t care because you loved what you do. Maybe as an events organiser you arranged and pulled off a huge charity event that raised loads of money for a local charity. What I would say is try not to cram too much into one page. Maybe focus on one or two big examples/case studies (haven’t heard that word since GCSE Geography!) and then dot a few more examples in there as well. Also let your personality come across, don’t write it like a uni assignment, write it like a blog post!
Remember this is a PDF also, a PDF that CAN contain photos! Photos that back up what you have said. Obviously don’t pad it out in Photos and let your writing slip, use that photos or images to back up exactly what you have said! Also lets be honest here, photos are prettier than writing!
When it comes to the other half of your written entry, this must be written by a station manager or someone equivalent. Someone who can vouch for how amazing you are, don’t try and dictate to them what they should say, judges can spot this a mile off, especially if it matches your written entry section for section. Your station manager will know exactly what you have done all year, so this should be an easy write for them!
Again this is a PDF entry, so nothing to stop them attaching photos, images and examples of why you are the best newcomer into student radio!
Ok so I’ve attached here the written entry from George Ward, who won in 2014, and then the station manager entry for Rebecca Saw who won in 2015 just to show a mix of the entries that won them the awards. Both varying types of entries, both displaying huge passion for student radio!
Rebecca Saw – URY – Best Newcomer – Station Manager Written PDF
George Ward – Radio ENRG – Best Newcomer – Written Entry
The award criteria states the recipient ‘deserves particular recognition for their overall contribution to the station’; I believe I have contributed hugely to Radio ENRG at Edinburgh Napier University, largely as a result of creating it from scratch!
With generous assistance and support from Head Technician Iain MacKay and other members of the university, my initial motive for launching the station was to create a platform for ‘talk, tunes, tales and talent’ – essentially, the news, music and experiences of staff and students. Another aim was to give budding multimedia journalists and students from all disciplines the opportunity to enhance their broadcast skills by actively producing and presenting content. This was accomplished by the end of the first academic year, with over 20 shows launched and over 100 episodes aired.
I was keen to establish a modern, vibrant brand; Radio ENRG may sound confusing at first perhaps but, crucially, it is unique. ‘ENRG’, pronounced ‘energy’, stands for Edinburgh Napier Radio Group and, fortunately, it ‘caught on’ with listeners from the onset.
By investing an enormous amount of time and effort into all aspects of the station, from schedule and presenter management, promotion, website design and social media updates, the main aim of encouraging new broadcasting talent to come forward to launch their student radio careers was achieved. Daily duties included composing and responding to emails, organising and training presenters and publicising schedule updates to a rapidly-growing audience.
Amongst this, I also found time to produce and present two of my own regular shows. ‘George Ward’s Smorgasbord’ was an eccentric format with a variety of (inverted commas) entertaining (close inverted commas) segments including ‘Ward’s Drawer’, ‘What the Phhhhhhhobia?!’, ‘The Telephone Box’, ‘Versus’ and a horrendous ‘Starting Pun’ joke with appropriate tumbleweed. The other show, ‘ENRGize’, became known as ‘the show for all things Edinburgh Napier’, with its aim to showcase talent from within the university, along with news and upcoming events linked to the sports teams and societies. Interviews became an integral part of the station’s output, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and interviewing people from all walks of life and giving emerging local musicians a chance to promote their work.
The increase in programming saw an increase in social media activity; by composing regular Facebook updates and encouraging in-show Twitter interaction, the brand grew online and through word-of-mouth, and a lively, regularly-updated website became the portal to the platform. If there was one aspect of the station’s management I could have invested more time into it would be more visual and poster promotion but hey, I’m a newcomer, and there was the small matter of a dissertation and other uni & non-uni commitments to manage too!
The term culminated with a 36-hour Radio ENRG ‘Charity Broadcast Bonanza’, promoted as #enrgcbb on Twitter, which raised just under £300 for Alzheimer Scotland and Edinburgh Young Carers Project. Produced and presented by myself and Liam Hope from ‘Rock Block’, we interviewed spokespersons from the two charities and an array of listeners, musicians and other individuals throughout the marathon broadcast while raising funds for two worthy causes.
I have fond memories of the experience, from the initial idea to making it a real, audible entity – I’ll miss it, and I learned a great deal throughout. Fulfilling the demand for a student station and seeing presenters come forward to develop their own passion for the medium was truly rewarding and I am proud of my efforts to become (and inspire others to become) a part of the vibrant student radio community.
Abbie McCarthy won the award in 2011, and you can now find her presenting BBC Introducing in Kent as well as on BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 1, this is what the BBC Academy said about her back then:
Abbie received the prize for her work at RaW 1251AM, the University of Warwick radio station where she presented three programmes a week including the breakfast show and a live music session.
“It was amazing to win the award – a total surprise,” she told the Academy. “I’m not sure yet why I won, but for me good radio is all about having a close connection with the listeners. Bringing your own personality to the show is really important.”
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 any issues entering then get in touch with us as soon as possible! Even if you’re still not sure about entering, just think by entering whats the worst that could happen? In fact on the 10th November at the indigO2, this could be you picking up your award.