Below is my full report as published in the minutes of the SRA’s AGM on the 4th April 2013.
It’s been a busy and exciting year for the SRA. Slightly frustratingly it’s also been a bit of a challenging year, with new systems, and procedures being implemented meaning a measure of success is often tricky.
We started with the announcement that Global Radio were once again a key sponsor and major supporter of student radio. I’m proud to say that this is largely down to the work that myself, Stu Manton and Matt Hurst put in back in May last year. This agreement – to work jointly with BBC Radio 1 – helped us to start planning for the Student Radio Awards early, as we knew what was already on the table. Further more, because all three parties (Global Radio, BBC Radio 1, and the SRA) have signed for 3 years, means that for the next two years the SRA Exec should find preparing for the awards a lot easier that I found it in my first year of being SRA Chair.
In the autumn we saw the SRA join in for the first time in the International Student Radio Day (“College Radio Day“). This was fantastic and allowed us to showcase two brilliant member stations to the world!
In September a contact that I had been working on at the International Radio Festival invited us to visit the festival in Switzerland. (I was on holiday, so in my place Stu Manton, our Marketing Officer, went along). The International Radio Festival (IRF) are an international organisation and have the aim of representing and showcasing great radio from right across the world. I hope that my successor will keep them in mind for future collaborations.
Also this year we have been preparing a brand new SRA website. This is no small job, and Jason Slack, our Web Officer, has done well to manage this huge project alongside his own job searching. Reluctantly we have had to keep moving the deadline for the website release back but trust me, a brand new website is on it’s way and it is going to be fantastic!
On the subject of websites just before the Awards we had a system error with our currently website hosting provider. This was due to a virus attack. And we were effectively offline for 2 weeks while myself and Jason tried to work out the problem and then plea to our hosting provider to let us back online! We now have backup plans in place should this happen again.
Just before the Student Radio Awards we had to decide on a location for conference. I visited one of the shortlisted stations (not Leicester). The decision between the 3 shortlisted applications was tough, but I’m pleased that Leicester has been able to accommodate us well.
This year has really flown by and as always I would have loved to have done more. I’ve felt we’ve had an extremely strong Exec team this year, which has allowed us to be slightly more ambitious and has also allowed us to build on past experiences.
However (and I note from my last report I touched on this as well), the SRA has developed so much over the last 5 years that I predict the next 5 years will be very telling for the organisation. Many of the Exec Officers, myself included, have been putting in 20-30hours a week on student radio work. These are all voluntary roles. This is partly the reason why we have seen the need to create two additional Admin officers to take some strain of key Exec officers at particularly busy times.
I would like to suggest for the future that the SRA considers some form of payment for it’s officers. And also considers that the current calendar of events is [almost] no longer fit for purpose. I believe that there will need to be strong restructuring in the management of the SRA to ensure the quality of events currently in the calendar remain whilst not hindering the development of new projects to benefit it’s members.
As many of your know this was my second year of being SRA Chair, and I’ve not been shy in announcing I won’t be standing again. I have enjoyed every moment of working with and for the SRA; it’s members and industry partners, however I feel I now need to have some of my free time back, concentrate on the rest of my career and move away from a comfort zone. (Perhaps the SRA is also a bit tired of me as well!). I will still, of course continue to help and support the future Exec officers and look forward to monitoring the next chapter of the SRA, from outside its own walls!