And this is really one of the highlights of my entire life…

Apparently, according to a video shared on the SRA’s Twitter feed least year – April 5th 2018 to be exact – I said these words in front of everyone who attended the Student Radio Conference in Norwich. I say ‘apparently’ because I had no real recollection of what I was saying; I shall explain why shortly.

Now if you’re reading this, there is a fairly good chance that we have something in common. It might not be an exceptional sense of style, nor an obsession for the Pitch Perfect films. We may not both be members of the tall person club. But I would wager a fair amount that we share a massive love of radio.

It’s an addiction, this radio thing. To those who don’t do it, this can be hard to explain, but once you’ve had a taste – oh my, isn’t it something?! That thrill, that buzz, you just want more, and who can blame you because it is just bloody fantastic! The bug bites, and it bites hard.

I get a little carried away sometimes when talking about radio. Thankfully, it isn’t just me. Chatting to various people from various student stations across this green and pleasant land, it is clear how many others are completely smitten. So many different people, different lives, different backgrounds, but that common thread of loving this one particular media which we have been told for years is on the way down and on the way out, killed by the video star.

Well let me tell you, it absolutely is not going anywhere.

I’m always amazed by the incredible things our wonderful members do at their stations. It is inspiring. Big charity broadcasts, election coverage, varsity reports, outside broadcasts from the university’s Pride event – the list is endless, and there is so much creativity and dedication that goes into these things. There are so many people who deserve recognition for the great work they do.

Luckily, there is a way to get that recognition out there. Every year at the Student Radio Conference, this year being held in Swansea on April 16-18, we celebrate those who do brilliant things for their station at the I Love Student Radio Awards. This is how I came to say those words with which I began this blog.

#SRACon is such a fabulous event – believe me, I’ve been to five of them now as a delegate – and three of the best days of the year. You learn loads, meet fascinating people, and get to nerd out with fellow radio geeks. Plus we have a drink to two (or ten). Well last year I attended as a member of Rebel Radio with my friend Lauren, and we had such a great time. I was also a little nervous as I’d been nominated for a few awards at the ILSRs, as had my station.

The awards evening is the swanky part of the event, so we dressed the part and took our seats at Table 9, along with people from Newcastle Student Radio and Sound Radio – who became fast friends (the beauty of conference!). We come up to the final award of the night and Rebel hasn’t picked anything up, although our new friends have done well – Danny from Sound becoming the Voice of the Awards and Meg from NSR picking up the Outstanding Contribution to a Student Radio Station award. We were absolutely thrilled for our new friends! But the final award was Most Committed Committee Member.

Earlier in the day, Lauren and I had been discussing this award. She seemed adamant I was going to get it; I was equally convinced that I wasn’t. Have you seen how many amazing people do amazing things in student radio?! I explained how I wouldn’t win and we left the conversion there. That was, of course, until the award rolled round on the night.

I was amazed to see myself on the shortlist for the award. Top 6 – I’ll take that, very nice. The two Highly Commended winners came up and my name wasn’t there. I had let myself believe that I might have got one of those, but that would be it. It came to revealing the winner and Lauren again told me that it was me. I again told her that it wasn’t.

But it was.

It took a little bit for me to realise that my name had been read out. It took longer to believe it. We kind of looked at each other but didn’t really know what to do. I thrust my glass of wine at Lauren, said ‘hold my drink’, and went onto the stage. I had no idea what I said up there, it all happened so fast, and it was only the next day that I saw the video and my speech. I absolutely stand by it – one of the highlights of my entire life.

Don’t forget you can find out more about the I Love Student Radio Award’s here: https://www.studentradio.org.uk/conference/i-love-student-radio-awards/