Monday, November 19, 2018
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Station Imaging for student radio stations.

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Today on the “I attended #SRACon 2013” group on Facebook there has been a bit of promotion for one person’s new venture of providing station imaging, targeting student radio stations.

In the interest of comparison and competition, here are a few ideas you might like to consider about your station’s imaging.

Those interested in station imaging might fancy a read of this piece from www.radioiloveit.com, which discusses BBC Radio 1’s station imaging development with their Station sound designer, Matt Fisher.

As you can imagine there are loads of different imaging companies out there. You get the larger companies like Music4, and IQ Beats, who are often regarded as industry leaders providing imaging for many of the big brands around the world.  Then there are also other imaging outfits that are (in size comparison) smaller. But might be able to offer you exactly what you want at a more reasonable price for your budget.

Here’s just four I’ve picked out from memory:

But how about this…

Rather than paying for someone else to do your student radio station’s imaging why don’t you do it yourself? You’ll be giving someone (probably more than one person) experience and you can actually say it’s YOUR station! Plus you are undoubtedly paying less!

To help you on your way there are toolkits that you can download. Most you pay a small subscription for, others you can get for free if you can prove your an educational body.

Here are some examples:

Even if you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of people (in this group, and in the industry) that would be more than willing to give you some pointers, and advice without doing the whole thing for you. Seeing as I’ve done two lists of links already, here’s the third and final one.

Here are eight amazing audio producers in the industry that I know are great and I think (hope) that they’ll be happy to help you out! – If you ask them in a nice and pleasant way! I’m not going to give links, but anyone with a brain will think of a way to contact them!

  • Ben TownsendFormer URN. Ben has produced the audio imaging for the Student Radio Awards for the last few years and also works at Radio 1 and Wise Buddah.
  • Andrew Wilson ‘Wilso’ worked for the Hit Music Network in Nottingham and now is a Network Producer for the Capital Network.
  • Ashley BardAsh started at 16 at Gemini FM. He worked his way up through various brands and name changes, and now also works for Capital Network.
  • Joe ThomasJoe was the station producer at Oxford’s Jack FM, where creative jingles were his thing. After a couple of years at Absolute Radio he has now moved back to a more senior role at Jack FM.
  • Richard Newby‘Nobby’ works primarily for Choice FM but has many years experience working across all brands at Global Radio.
  • Adam Hood‘Hoody’ is in the same team as Nobby at Global Radio but with more of a focus on Heart.
  • Paul JonesPJ is the station producer as Oxford’s Jack FM and has spoken at the last two Student Radio Conferences about station imaging.
  • Fiona BowdenFiona used to work for Australia’s Hot 30, and Triple J and more recently at Classic FM. 

[alert color=blue align=center]If anyone on the list above would rather I remove them, please just drop me a message or tweet! :)[/alert]

I remember when Ben Townsend taught me and others how to properly put reverse reverb on effects. I hadn’t a clue before that.

Finally you might find it interesting to read this article from David Tyler: “5 ways to instantly improve your radio station’s imaging“.

Good luck, and remember if you are refreshing your imaging, make sure you remember to enter for next year’s Student Radio Awards – the Marketing and Station Sound award is probably best!

All views, of course, my own and if you want more of them you can chat to me on Twitter!

My ‘phenomenon’ YouTube mashup

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I saw this video of “The Artist Taxi Driver” on an episode of Russell Howard’s Good News, and came decided to mash up with The Muppets! It made me laugh repeatedly while making it, so I hope it makes you laugh too!

[alert color=red title=”Warning” align=center]The clips from the Taxi Driver contain explicit language[/alert]

Despite being called ‘a muppet’ now and then, I have no connection with The Muppets or ‘the Artist Taxi Driver’ but you can find the original videos at the links below.

Original Videos

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_tupPBtWQ

www.youtube.com/watch?v=av63AnOqlko

Radio Backtimer Update

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If you haven’t yet had a play with the web version of my ‘Helpful Radio Backtimer’ then make sure you check it out on your mobile or desktop today! It is currently optimised for iOS devices.

After such good feedback when I launched media for it on 24 March, I have taught myself how to build a very basic iPhone application. That iPhone app (compatible with iPad and iPod Touch too) is now awaiting to be approved by the Apple App Store team. Once that goes live, I shall begin work on an Android app version because Nobby wants me to!

I’ve come across a couple of errors in testing, which I believe I have fixed in the iPhone App version. But if you come across any other error please do let me know!

The benefit of the app version of course, is that you don’t need the internet for it to load or to use it. So if you’re studio is down in a bunker somewhere and you can’t access the internet you can still get to the top of the hour on time!

[alert color=blue title=”Find out more” align=center]To find out more about the Helpful Radio Backtimer, and why I even started to develop it the first place check out this entry in my portfolio! [/alert]

 

My annual report, Student Radio Association AGM 2013

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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!

Fred Bradley – SRA Chair, July 2011 – June 2013.
@fredbradley
www.fredbradley.co.uk

SRA Bristol Training Day

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On Wednesday 20th February the SRA held a regional training day organised by Richard Queree and Stu Manton, with help from the team at Burst Radio in Bristol. Below is how it all panned out.

http://storify.com/fredbradley2/sra-bristol-training-day

Remembering a moment 10 years on

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Editorial: I said I’d write a blog post about this, so here it is. It’s taken a week or so to put it all together, I didn’t originally intend it to be this long but I guess if you’re going to talk about something you want to reflect on then you better get all the detail right! 

Last week marked 10 years since what I still remember as a scary and difficult time for my family, friends and my own health. Of course 10 years ago is a long time – in fact I would suggest that most of my closest friends now (the ones that I regularly meet with to go to the pub) I didn’t know 10 years ago! And whilst I have reflected on this moment a lot, it’s not something that I mark especially, talk about or remember normally. I simply thought that 10 years is a significant milestone to talk about it.

So one Friday afternoon at boarding school, I started to feel ill. I went down to the infirmary, and told the nurse my symptom. It was the nurse that most of us didn’t really like, not that she was nasty or professionally incompetent  just that she wasn’t nearly as friendly as the other nurses on the staff. She assessed me by taking my temperature. I remember her saying that it’s ‘a little high’, and she asked if I was going home that weekend or staying in. I was going home. She said “you just need some ‘TLC’, go home and get some rest”.

So I went home, Saturday afternoon was good, and was probably feeling better. Sunday morning I woke up and as far as I remember I was normal. I had to visit a rehearsal at the local theatre company where I was helping to organise something with a few friends. I remember feeling really hot, so before we went out I had ANOTHER shower to cool me down. I was feeling ill, and remember a sore throat perhaps but I really wanted to see my friends.

Skip forward a couple of hours, still not feeling 100% but my mother has always had the attitude that “if you don’t have a leg falling off then you’re alright”, so I went back to school – a little earlier than normal at about 4pm, because I had some coursework to do. I went up to my room at school, and started to unpack and start my coursework.

Making your website do the Harlem Shake

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You know what the Harlem Shake is right? It’s been going around the internet like a sore thumb for the past week or so, with everyone taking to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else for this 30 second clip.

This morning I looked into taking it to the next level, and have made two of the websites I look after join in the party.

First there was the SRA’s website.

Triggered by a click on the top right hand corner entitled “Do the Harlem Shake”. My favourite thing about this clip is the photo of Ben Cooper, Controller of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. Because he’s looking directly at the camera when the image shakes around it looks like his head is!

After that I then decided to do it to RajarSmilies. I knew it would look brilliant, as essentially the only thing on the homepage there is just a mixture of smiley faces! See below…

Rather than wait for a user to click a button to launch this I decided to load it up straight away. RajarSmilies is a much smaller site than the SRA’s and particularly at “down time” doesn’t receive many hits. This was one way of getting a few more people to look at it.

How can I do this?

Nuts and bolts, this is just a bit of Javascript, a bit of jQuery in the RajarSmilies version. Then on top of that is some fancy CSS3 work that does the animation.

I suggest you follow this tutorial which is where I based the basics of this from. However that doesn’t cover the sound.

To add the sound I initially used a HTML5 element bit of script.

var audioElement = document.createElement('audio');
audioElement.setAttribute('src', 'harlemshake.mp3');
audioElement.setAttribute('autoplay', 'autoplay');
//audioElement.load()
$.get();
audioElement.addEventListener("load", function() {
audioElement.play();
}, true);

However, I soon found out that this wasn’t cross browser compatible. So I went on the hunt – I knew other people must have come across this problem before and I then found SoundManager by Schillmania. This is really simple to install.

And that’s it. You can download all the files I used from here. You’ll have to put them together in the right order though! Any questions, I’m happy to answer them.

 

What have I learned in 2012?

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So I wanted to write a short post, that I can read back in a years times. A bit of seriousness, and a bit of tongue and cheek all mixed together. The easiest way to do this would be a top 10.. so here we go – what has 2012 taught me?

10. I started the year finding out how much fun you can have on a golf buggy!

9. I learned how easy it is for a PD to tell a freelancer that, there’s no money left, and “I’ve gotta let you go”.

8. I learnt how lucky you need to be in the radio industry, and how lucky I was that within 24hours of being told I didn’t have a job, I had a job again – same place, different hours.

7. In April I was reminded about point 9. (Also in this month, I learnt what it was like to be in a gay bar in Cardiff, whilst the news of Whitney Houston’s death was breaking.)

6. I’ve learnt that how ever much you plan for an big event there’s always something that will go wrong. I’ve also learnt that not everyone has the same standards that I do.

5. I’ve learnt that the radio industry has to, and will continue to evolve, and the only way for brands to continue to succeed is to join in, and be more creative than their tradition dictates.

4. I’ve learnt that I can make a budget version of Google search, and moreover learnt that my server can cope with a database of over 3.6million entries, over the course of 5 weeks .

3. Similar to the point above, I’ve learnt that it is possible to build a system that will significantly help your Google page rank based. – with just a little bit of cost and work for the end user involved.

2. I’ve learnt that often finding work is about putting yourself about a bit, and not obtrusively, but just occasionally mentioning the idea, that you’re looking for work.

1. But most of all,  I’ve leant that really good friends, will always remain good friends. No matter if you still work with them, still live with them, still travel with them, still party with them, or not. Even if you’re on the other side of the world too!

Police and Crime Commissioner Votes

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So earlier this evening at about 7pm, I went across the road to my local church to place my vote for the #PCC elections.

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.

I’m sure I’m not the only one in the country that thinks that the lack of any type of canvassing by candidates in this election makes it farcical. The only way people know about the candidates is if they look up the information themselves. Which I did on this website. However if you have a look at some of the comments on there, many of the candidates haven’t even bothered to fill in their full details. So what good does that do for them in the election.

One of the candidates in my area didn’t even write her own manifesto, she got someone else to do it. (I know this is allowed, but why can’t she even spend the time and effort to tell us what she think herself rather than getting someone else to write it for her!)

So that was the lead up, then there’s the voting process.

We walked across the road, and went into the church hall. There was two tables on both sides of the room, with a row of chairs separating the room down the middle. Two people were on one table to the right, and one lady on the left hand table. The two people on the right were having a chat, so we went to the lady on her own. We told her our address. (At this point I’d like to add there was no “Hello”, or even a smile or “How can I help you”). She looked down a list and said: “Oh we don’t have you on this list, try over there…” she pointed at the opposite table. Now there wasn’t any signposting that explained to the ‘customer’ what side of the room your road would be on. How were we meant to know?

We went to the other table. Remember this is the table with two people at the list. So I’ll explain, there was a man and a woman. The woman had the list of address so we showed them our voting cards, and gave them our address. She looked down a list, and eventually found our address.

At this time the man (who was clearly tasked with writing our voting number in a box) asked to see our voting card because “It’s easier and saves time once he has the number“. It’s at this point that I look closer at the list. What the list says is our address, our name and then our voting number. The woman declares to the man my voting number (he’s already looking for it on my voting card). He writes it down. He gets a voting slip, folds it in half, and gives it to the woman. The woman gives it to me.

Then my girlfriend’s name (remember the man already has her number written on a ballot paper in front of him!). The woman declares the number to the man. There was clearly some confusion as this number was then repeated (presumably for the benefit of the man) 4 times! He has the number written down in front of him. Just copy it!

Now I rarely come on this blog to rant and rave, but I seriously could not believe how poorly organised this was. I don’t know who these people were, I at first assumed they were part of the local council (which was leaving me in a bit of a state thinking that our local affairs were being dealt with such disorganisation), but I’m told they’re probably part of the church.

The whole thing I found very awkward, and lacked of any sense of social community. Having said that, on our way out of the church we were offered cake and tea/coffee. We said no. We just wanted to get out of there!

I live in Surrey, in the Mount Hermon West Ward of Woking.

The Student Radio Awards

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The Student Radio Awards 2012
The Student Radio Awards 2012

Thursday saw almost 8 months of hard work culminate in a little over 8 hours of a really successful event!

That’s playing it down a little. The Student Radio Awards, always a fantastic event, and this year was no different. However it really could not have been done if it wasn’t for the help and hard work of so many people!

It was back in April/May (I think), that I was sitting in an 8th Floor board room looking across the views of Westminster towards the London Eye. Three of us from Student Radio alongside arguably two of the most powerful men in youth targeted radio – Ben Cooper and Ashley Tabor. That’s when the planning for Thursday’s event really started. We wanted to have an awards ceremony that saw all sides of the radio industry coming together to support the new, young and development talent that student radio has to offer.

I’m pleased to say that after with BBC Radio 1 and Global Radio both on board as Co-Headline sponsors we are able to achieve this.

We were also able to find support from UBC Media, Kiss, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 4 & BBC Radio 4 Extra, Wise Buddah, Something Else, BBC College Of Production, The International Radio Festival, Lambeth College, BBC Radio 1Xtra, Newsbeat and Flirt!.

In addition our sponsors many other industry guests came along to the event, including a selection of over 120 judges. There were over 500 entries to listen to this year, and these judges gave up their spare free time, to find the cream of the crop! And that they did, congratulations to all the winners!

I’ve received lots of feedback from both student members and industry guests and I’m very proud to hear that it’s [mainly] all really positive comments.

Role on Conference!

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