What a year it has been for the Student Radio Association!

So, let us tell you what has gone on within SRA and our member stations over the past year…

In December 2019, we announced our Class of 2019 which included artists who would go on to be huge superstars like Billie Eilish and Jade Bird. As well as those, we also included student radio favourites Wild Front, The Snuts & Moss Kena.

In the new year, we had our second training day of the academic year. Every year, we have two free training days that we offer to all our member stations, which usually happen in October and in February. These happen across all of our member regions, meaning all stations have the opportunity to travel to a training day local to them. On the 13th of February, training days took place at Oxford Brookes’ Brookes Radio, University of Chester’s The Cat Radio, University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett’s LSR, University of Edinburgh’s Fresh Air, Northumbria University’s NSU/Radio (now FZN Radio) and Royal Holloway, University of London’s Insanity Radio.

It was a great day for all involved, with the Regional Officer for North West and North Wales, Megan Hayward, saying “The talks were so inspiring, which inspire the students to never give up on their dreams!”

Fast forward a few months we have arrived in Swansea for the National Student Radio Conference hosted by Xtreme Radio, from the 16th to the 18th of April.

We had incredible keynotes from the likes of BBC Radio 2’s Trevor Nelson, Wireless’ Mike Cass and Capital’s Will Manning, with workshops and breakout sessions from Bauer, Celador, and more. We also saw the return of Demo Factor and the I Love Student Radio Awards, which got a great reception from all those who attended.

On our final day at the conference like every year, we hold our Annual General Meeting. We saw the introduction of the Northern Ireland Region, some structural changes to the makeup of the SRA, and elected a new and exciting group of SRA Officers.

One of our constitutional amendments that was passed at the AGM this year was the implementation of a Trustee style board above Executive, which shall exist primarily to guide and advise the Executive Officers and to safeguard the continuation of the SRA. At the moment we are currently recruiting for this board which we have decided to name the ‘Non-Executive Advisory Board’, we have been looking for industry professionals who can offer advice and support to the Executive Committee and other officers within the organisation.

Our Student Radio Music Network went to Brighton in May and put on their own festival Sea Lanes Sessions featuring some of the best artists playing at The Great Escape festival. We hosted the likes of APRE, The Rhythm Method and Dusky Grey all of which you can view on our YouTube channel.

Our Music Network has also partnered with Spotify to help curate Students’ Union, which after a soft launch has over 7000 followers. The playlist is curated with the help of different student radio stations across the UK, giving students the chance to work on a real Spotify playlist.

On our Chart Show, we brought in more shows than ever before, with 45 stations taking the SRA Chart every Sunday. We also partnered with BBC Introducing on a new feature, which has the local Introducing presenter introduce a local music pick depending on where the Chart is hosted that week.

Over the summer, Development Officer Danny Coucill, Alumni Officer Polly Marquis, and Regional Officer for the South Rosie Oliver all visited Cambridge for the Alternatives Conference 2019, which is an International Student Radio Conference, which this year was hosted by our own Cam FM. We learnt a lot from them, meeting leading figures from the student radio worlds of the USA, Italy, Finland, Costa Rica, India and more! We hope to soon be working with multiple other countries around the world on Student Radio projects! More on that to come…

The first training days of the new academic year took place in October, with one of the most impressive line-ups to date. Hosted on the 9th of October, we saw Northern Ireland’s first Training Day, which was held at the BBC Building in Belfast. Elsewhere, there were training days in Fife College’s Boom Radio, University of Durham’s Purple Radio, University of York’s URY, Solent University’s Sonar, Goldsmith University’s Wired, University of Chester’s The Cat Radio, and University of Warwick’s RAW 1251am. It was an exciting day for all involved, with Jordan Scudder, the Regional Officer for London and South East, saying “It was an incredible experience being able to celebrate the diversity of talent in Radio. From Production to Tech & Personal Branding everyone who went learnt so much and met incredibly inspiring speakers.”

At 12pm, during the training days, the Awards Nominations Party’s all took place, with presenters from local Capital stations across the UK coming to announce the shortlists you see tonight. We moved to this earlier time after listening to feedback from you, and we received positive feedback from it!

As part of the Award’s process, two students who auditioned at SRACon in Swansea won the chance to lend their voices to the announcements you hear tonight. It’s a really fun experience, and the two voices, Hannah Sackville-Bryant and Lewis Bowden, you’ll be hearing throughout the night! With Production Officer, Thomas Rowson, alongside Development Officer, Danny Coucill, and Technology Officer, Stephen Clarke, they recorded all the lines you hear tonight at Global’s studios in Leicester Square.

Leading us to the Student Radio Awards 2019 supported by BBC Radio 1 and Global. The star-studded ceremony is now in its twenty-fourth year and has developed into one of the key events in the radio calendar and a highlight in the world of student media. We had nearly 200 judges going through hours of audio, video, and written entries. But finally, out of hundreds of submissions, those nominees are whittled down to a Bronze, Silver and Gold award winner by some of the biggest names in radio. It’s been incredible to work with so many companies in the Radio and Audio industry to help support our awards making it an incredible night for current students, alumni and industry.

We just want to say a huge thank you to our members, industry and officers for making the past year so incredible for the SRA. We’re very excited about the future of the student radio and the emerging talent that is coming through – we hope you are too!