I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration to say that there’s a lot that goes into organising the biggest student media awards in Europe, but out of our myriad tasks my favourite is probably when we record the voiceovers for the night. For me, this is when it feels like the Awards are really starting to happen.
It’s a long journey to get to this point, starting back at the Student Radio Conference. In Swansea this year, we held our regular competition to find the Voice of the Awards. So many people entered once again, and the judges had the tricky task of finding our winners. At Indigo at the O2 this year, for the Student Radio Awards 2019, supported by BBC Radio 1 and Global, you’ll be hearing the fantastic voices of Hannah Sackville-Bryant from URY and Lewis Bowden from Spark Sunderland.
Converging on central London, the voices and I were joined by former Voice of the Awards and current SRA Development Officer Danny Coucill, and our resident Technical Genius/Officer and Global Broadcast Engineer Stephen Clarke. As a fivesome, we made our way to the home of Heart, Capital, Radio X, and many more of our favourite stations – Global, in Leicester Square.
To get Lewis and Hannah ready for what was in store, whilst Stephen set everything up to record, we ran through some vocal exercises to really get everything firing on all cylinders. These feel ridiculous to do, but the benefits are huge. We used the techniques that I used before recording any VOs, as I was very keen that our Voices got something really useful from the day, as well as the fun of recording in a Global studio. To begin with, I think the Voices were sceptical, that I was making this up to test and/or embarrass them, but they gave it a good go nonetheless. For the record, these are genuine techniques from Julian Treasure’s brilliant TED talk, which I recommend every student radio presenter watches, particularly when they are starting out.
Voices warm, and it was time to start. Danny gave Hannah and Lewis a bit of coaching around what they were about to undertake and how to approach it, and provided some advice based on his experience from last year. Taking it in turns, our Voices worked our way through the scripts, being the first as well to see who the nominees were for this year before they were officially announced at our Training Day just a few days later.
The session was just about as easy for a Producer as you could hope for, with very few multiple takes required and the talent following direction to the letter. It was immediately apparent that both Lewis and Hannah were naturals and that they have both got a promising future in the world of radio and voice overs ahead of them. We couldn’t have hoped for two better voices.
With everything in the bag, it was time for a VotA tradition – the post-recording pint, courtesy of the Production Officer, as my personal thanks to the Voices. As an organisation, we’re also extremely grateful to our friends at Global for allowing us to use their studios again, and to Stephen for taking us into his place of work on his day off!
I’m probably as excited as Hannah and Lewis are to hear their voices reverberate around Indigo at the O2 on the biggest night in the student radio calendar, and I can tell you, as we start editing everything together, it’s all going to sound absolutely incredible this year. The Student Radio Awards 2019, supported by BBC Radio 1 and Global, are on Thursday November 7, and we look forward to seeing you there!
Thomas Rowson is Production Officer for the Student Radio Association, part of the Events Team responsible for the Student Radio Awards 2019 supported by BBC Radio 1 and Global, the Student Radio Conference, and is the port of call for all our member stations for any production-based query.