Monday, December 10, 2018
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Christian Williams, his career & student radio

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Christian Williams in Radio Magazine
Christian Williams in Radio Magazine

With just over two weeks to go until this year’s Student Radio Awards, The Radio Magazine (now with an online edition) has published an interview with Capital FM’s Christian Williams about his career so far and why he says: “I owe it all to student radio”.

If you like turning pages in digital form, you can read the article for yourself here. Alternatively read the copy below:

Christian at Capital East Midlands [not the picture that was published in The Radio Magazine!]
Last month we looked at student radio and its importance in developing young talent. One man who knows all about this is Christian Williams(pictured) who presents Capital Weekend Overnights.Originally, Christian wanted to be a cameraman. He went to Portsmouth Universityto study TV and Film Production. “My dad, who works in the media, suggested that I should get involved in student radio, but I put it off until I was in my last year.” Half-way through his last year in fact, something he rather regrets as, once he made it into a radio studio, he realised that was where he wanted to stay. “I was asked to be a guest on a show and once I sat in that chair I knew that this was what I wanted to do as a career so I got involved with the student radio station.”

Christian presented a show on Pure FM in Portsmouth and then covered shows on what he thought of as ‘real radio’ – on Express FM in Portsmouth “I wanted to push on and contacted Mike Cass [Group Programme Director] at Galaxy, the station I grew up listening to. He invited me to come up to London to meet him for a chat at the Global [Radio] building in Leicester Square.I got there about 11 in the morning and left at four in the afternoon and felt I’d had the most wonderful day. But then Mike Cass turned to me and said ‘what do you want from this day?’. I hadn’t really expected anything from the day apart from looking round but I thought I’d be cheeky and said ‘a job’.

Mike said he would try me out on Galaxy South Coast on the overnight show. I was speechless. I usually can’t keep quiet, but all the way back to my home in the Isle of Wight I sat in silence. It was surreal.” Someone from Oxford FM10.9 (now Glide FM) was driving through the Galaxy South Coast area and heard him. The next thing, she was following him on Twitter. “I had about 20 followers at the time so this was quite something!” She was Sophie Bruce, deputy programme director, and the next moment she had offered him the chance to present the Drivetime show for a short while. He made such an impression that he was used for cover on the Breakfast show. But the cover came to an end and Christian was once more looking around.

A friend from Pure FM, Fred Bradley (now chair of the Student Radio Association), invited him to the [National] Student Radio Association Conference in Nottingham. “On the last day we were invited to look round Trent FM (now Capital East Midlands). I’d thought the Global [Radio] studios in Leicester Square were cool but these were so good. It felt right there. I wanted to make a good impression so, as we went round, I asked lots of questions, including ones I knew the answer to. At the end, the programme director, Dick Stone said ‘there may be a weekend job going here’. I didn’t think there really would be but my friend persuaded me to send Dick a demo.

Dick rang me and suggested that I should come up for a chat. So I drove to the Isle of Wight ferry, then made the three-and-a-half hour drive to Nottingham for a half-hour chat with him. In all it’s a nine-hour round trip! He said ‘come back in a couple of days to do a demo’. So I did that on the Wednesday, went back to the Isle of Wight, and on the Thursday I got a call ‘you start on Saturday, come up tomorrow to record some localisers’ – it was part of the Hit Music Network at the time.”

Isle of Wight to Nottingham
It’s a long way….

Shortly after, Christian was offered a two-month contract and given some paperwork to sign. When he sent it back Dick was puzzled. Surely Christian had given his parents’ address on the Isle of Wight? He phoned Christian and was astonished to discover the dedication of his new presenter who was travelling several hundred miles each week, staying in a hotel and presenting the weekend show. More work followed and then he was moved to Capital FM on the South Coast. This was in where the Galaxy studios had been and there was a real satisfaction in sitting back in a chair there.

“When Mike Cass gave me the overnight shows on Galaxy he sent me an email in which he told me to keep my options open as I might make a career in radio or I might not,” says Christian. “That was a bit of a dampner but I pushed through it all and there I was.” In January this year, Christian came back to Capital East Midlands and within the last few weeks was given the chance to present Capital Weekend Overnights so goes out to the nation. It may mean being on air at 3am, but Christian is supremely happy. “I owe it all to student radio,” he says.

“If I hadn’t gone into that studio as a guest I would never have done this. And student radio lets you test things. Its like a sandpit – you can build whatever you want and knock it down. A lot of what I did on student radio was bad, but if I hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t know!”

You can hear Christian on Capital FM across the country at the weekends from 3am! – And you can always listen back if you’re not up at that time in the morning!

[There was no credit for the interviewer from The Radio Magazine].

Why #ByeDemoFactor

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So on twitter last night there were a few people asking for explanation to why people were saying #ByeDemoFactor.

I promised that I would try to explain today. Please note, this is an open advisory sent out to all SRA officers this morning. There will be no official release or statement from the SRA at the moment. Instead we’re concentrating on celebrating the successes of our members at the Student Radio Awards Nominations this evening!

Like everything in life, we all need a little rest every now and again. The Demo Factor judges felt that after doing Demo Factor for 5 years it, and they, should rest. It certainly isn’t a case that either they or the SRA exec have “sacked” either of each other, nor is it that the SRA exec has purposely “got rid” of the feature. All of the judges have asked me to express that they all still wish to be involved in the Conference, but, for now, in separate individual capacities. (It’s like take that or boy zone splitting up!) Equally the SRA Exec would like to thank, Chris, Sam, Neil, Vicki, Rob, and Adam for all the time, effort, thought and commitment that they have put in over the past 5 years.

It’s a time for change and the SRA Exec’s task now is to develop a new feature that can equally benefit its members, and bring the expected element of fun to the Conference. We have a few ideas for this already but are unlikely to release anything until next year. In the meantime, if you have any new ideas please email over. Additionally feel free to relive old demo factor memories on twitter with #byeDemoFactor.

There will not be an official SRA announcement about this development yet, as we wish to concentrate everyone’s thoughts on today’s training days, tonight’s nominations, and next months awards.

 

New feature, first question

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Don’t know about your, but I often think up questions that aren’t really important, but are interesting to know the answer to. Oh, and I’m not talking about “Was it the big bang that killed the dinosaurs?” (Amusingly the best reason I’ve heard recently for the dinosaurs becoming extinct is that they all became homosexuals, and thus couldn’t reproduce).

The plan of action here, is that I will post the question on my Twitter and sometimes Facebook, then after leaving it enough time to collate answers I shall post some of your answers here! Sound fair?

First Question:

Why is Nova 969’s competition called “Champagne Showers”?

Background: Fitzy and Wippa, the breakfast ‘hosts’ (read: “presenters” for English readers) on Sydney’s Nova 969 are brining the competition back for a second series. The concept of the game is to register your phone number on the Nova website, then Fitzy and Wippa could call you. When they call you, you have to answer with the word “Champagne Showers”, in order to win whatever money the jackpot is on currently. If the person doesn’t answer correctly then the jackpot increases for the next listener.

Obviously the radio station wins, because they have the numbers and details of their listeners. Also of course if listeners are keen to win then every phonecall they ever receive will be answered “Champagne Showers” – thus promoting the campaign to other potential listeners.

Answers:

[embedtweet tweet=”https://twitter.com/matt/status/252411756243218432″]

[embedtweet tweet=”https://twitter.com/nova969/status/252602950176874496″]

  • Joanna Woods It’s a song I think Freddy?
  • Ethan O’Leary Maybe cause u can shower in champagne with the money you win lol?
  • Andy Panpipe Vale Champagne ain’t cheap.
  • Richard Curtin 1. what do people drink when they want to celebrate
  • Phill Nathan probably also makes a good bed. quite often, that’s reason enough.
  • Richard Curtin 2. when you see people win lotto – what are they typically drinking
    3. when people win races – F1 – Tour De France etc – what are they spraying?
  • Richard Curtin Therefore Champagne showers – a way to celebrate a winfall – such as being given cash by answering a phone singing champagne showers 🙂
  • Matt Mason Because Fitzy and Whipper are very creative…………………(Dumb bogans)
  • Fiona Bowden Lol….it’s Aussie…thus it’s probably naughty! 😉

A day of goodbyes in Breakfast Radio

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Last Chris Moyles Show

Today (and yesterday), I got up at 6.25. I think we all know that is because of Chris Moyles’ last two shows.

I won’t lie, I welled up yesterday, while driving to work (not good on the A3), today I’ve been alright, but there’s still 20 minutes to go at the time of writing.

To have a show that runs 8years is one thing. But Chris’ show is unique in so many ways. A master of the zoo format, and with a personality that engages everyone, whether you like his attitude or not. Their words at the end of their last show were right. Think of everything that they have done in 8 years. Mostly the same team, always together, and always Chris’ way!

Aled’s story coming from Hospital Radio to to the Radio 1 Breakfast show, is a story that should remind everyone. Never give up on your dreams, and aspirations. Also more proof that a well trodden path between Student Radio and Hospital Radio can sometimes lead it’s way to the BBC.

But Chris and the Team aren’t the only people leaving Breakfast radio today.

Somewhere on the 4th Floor in Leicester Square’s Global Radio, a lovely girl called Chloe Gunning today has her last shift working on Heart Breakfast with Jamie and Harriet.

Chloe’s been working there for 5 years. She’s worked bloomin’ hard. She’s been on the Heart Breakfast production team for most of all that time. Plus has produced Emma Bunton’s Saturday Show for the past year (and a bit?).

Chloe was the person who got me into Heart 2 and half years ago. She was the one that took me under her wing (I had to duck down), and I learnt so much.

Chloe – thank you, good luck on new ventures, and I’m sure that the 4th floor won’t be the same.

 

// End – of a bit of a mess of a blog post. Moyles’ show got me a bit emotional.

 

Good Example of Visual Radio

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Reggie Yates, Official Chart Video
Reggie Yates, Official Chart Video

I think this is a fantastic example of how ‘visual radio’ can get listeners more engaged, and closer to the celebs they love.

You may now that BBC Radio 1 have been “visualising” the last hour of the Official Chart with Reggie Yates. So listeners can watch via the website (and I think perhaps the Red Button as well) to watch the music videos of the top 10 songs, see Reggie in the studio, but also any guests that Reggie has in the studio during that time.

But what happens when a guest can’t make it into the studios in London because they’re in LA? …. You Skype, and screen cast the output of course!

[yootube id=”kFiNVFafJhc”]
Watch the video on youtube.com

This kind of content works well, both for the live show (6-7 Sundays), and but especially for cutouts like this to share online, ‘outside of the bubble’ to go viral!

More brands *could* produce content like this!

 

Who’s On Heart

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Today is the public release of something that I have really enjoyed making! All friends and clients know that I really enjoy work that tests me, and I enjoy the problem solving! The project that I’ve been working on – ill be honest – I wasn’t 100% sure at first how to do it or if it were possible, but I took it on because my theory knowledge said that it must be possible!

Over the last 2 (and a bit) weeks I’ve been developing a clever searchable database system that goes live this morning.

The client was my former employer (funny how things go like that). I’m sure anyone that knows about the UK radio industry will have at one point it he last 4months have heard the competition: “who’s on heart?” (ok it deserves capital letters!)

It’s been going since February I think and I recoils fair to say on more than one occasion the team behind it have at times been scared that punters (that’s what I call listeners) find the competition too difficult and they might have at times who tried that the competition grates on listeners so they get bored.

To counter-act this they have attempted a number of techniques to encourage punters to get involved.

First was to up the jackpot, start at £10,000 and going all the way up to £50,000 in hourly gameplay (10-3) slots. Then they added another game play just before 4pm, so as not to interfere too. Much with local programming. Presumably this particular,y game play is perfect for the mums who have just finished the school run.

The 2 jolts were to up the prize finds even further. £60,00 if you guess all three and £20,000 if you guess a second. (somewhere amongst all this Katie O’Brien. A aged to guess Tina Turner correct,t which won her £5,000!

But enough about them what have I been doing?

Well they eventually released “a list” of wrong guesses. This wasn’t so much a list but a huge number of photo galleries, which were limited to approx 50people in each. Thus tactic is (and was) great for page views, and a good story for those selling web real estate on the heart.co.uk pages. However from a punters point of view this was very annoying. Especially when many in London who had heard a very similar game play on Magic 105.4 were used to just a long list searchable in your browser. (since the start of “Who’s on Heart” a handful of other brands have picked up on the format and released answers in a long text list format.)

It’s got to the point now where there are over 1300 unique celebrity guesses and asking punters go go through that many web pages (even with Ajax/jquery) is a bit much!

So they asked me to help them write a script that will search the database and see if that person has already been guessed!

This system went live at 8am this morning, and I’ll do thing the commercial radio way and leave it there until later this week when I’ll write a blot post about how I made it and what happened next!

Now that’s a tease! (for the geeks)

A long update!

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So the last few weeks have been pretty busy for me. Freelance work, SRA work, friends from Australia, job applications, and more!

Firstly lets explain the photo…. Last weekend my girlfriend finally managed to take her first flying lesson. I say finally as she has been trying to book it since April, but the weather has also prevented her from going up in the air. There a video that I’ll put below later…

Now to the SRA. The brilliant news is that we’re ahead of time when it comes to sorting out initial conversations regarding sponsorship compared to last year which is great, the wonderful Stu Manton is being excellent.

We had the SRA handover/training weekend at the beginning of July and for the first time in three years the WHOLE incoming team was in attendance which I was very pleased about. We held the SRA weekend in Capital FM East Midlands, the home of Dick Stone (who’s blog you should definitely check out)!

Other SRA work has involved planning for the Student Radio Awards. I’ve joined Stu on many of his sponsorship meetings in an effort to encourage potential sponsors that this is more than us just needing money. With all our sponsorship efforts this year the aim is to create more benefits thought the course of the year, and perhaps longer!

I also went along to the Radio Academy’s Hackney Weekend Masterclass. This was half for the SRA and half for me – as being freelance/unemployed I decided it was a great networking opportunity. Which it was, find out about my chat with Sam Bailey below!

Outside of SRA…. I had a hair cut!

Oh, you want more exciting than that?

So in my own work. After leaving Heart work has been slow, but fortunately I have other skills which I can get paid for too. For example I’ve recently completed two big web development projects one for Seriously Sofas, which was purely created as a ‘test the theory’ idea. I’m pleased to say it worked and Seriously Sofas’ web traffic and sales have really picked up!

The other I’m very proud and excited about and is a project for Heart’s Who’s On Heart competition. You can read a bit about the development here. Since I wrote that initial blog post I’ve since put in stats, which I think are the really clever part of the project. The stats are able to show Senior Producers at Heart how many guesses have been made in total (over 2.8million in the last month), what people are guessing online (so they know whether or not the last remaining celebrity has been guessed). It also tells them the average number of guesses that hour (4000), and allows them to see the misspellings that are being made so they can add in more ‘nicknames’ to allow users to return the correct results.

I’m particularly proud of the system as its being talked up every hour on air and is probably going to be redeveloped and reused again!

There are a couple of other projects that I’m working on, including a talent focused personal profile development, and a further improvement of RajarSmilies. Plus something that is top secret and can’t tell you about yet (few deciding factors in the way).

Also this month, over the duration of the Olympics, I’m working with old Heart colleague Simon Williams (it’s all about who you know), on the International Radio Festival – the only (other) DAB popup station allowed in London during the Olympics. (the other is of course FiveLive’s!)

Simon and I are working shifts and are effectively english speaking studio managers, ensuring that the operation runs smoothly until the 12th August.

Next some really exciting news, about a month ago I filled in one of those really long and arduous BBC job applications to become a content producer at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. After filling out a number of these job apps and being accustomed to the usual “Sorry not this time” reply, I was very excited to find that I’ve been asked for interview. The interview is actually tomorrow, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Finally I’m looking forward to August where one of my best mates from Australia is coming over, with his new girlfriend! We haven’t seen each other since 2009, both much younger, no doubt we will try to relive a bit of our youth and apparently a trip to The Church is on the cards – (if you don’t know it can’t harm you)

That’s quite enough for now a very long post. Catch you soon, any questions, comments or job offers as always welcome! 🙂

Have Vodafone binned Personal Hotspot tethering?

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So here I am on the packed 1900 train home from London. I do the usual, get the iPad out, and rather than put credit on my PAYG iPad, I create a Personal Hotspot with my iPhone. Thus I’m actually using my iPhone 3G data.

This normally all works well… However in the course of today, it seem my iPhone no longer has the Personal Hotspot feature in General settings?

Have Vodafone cottoned on? I know that O2 customers can’t do it, so I wonder if Vodafone are now doing the same thing?

Very annoying, nothing more to say. Does anyone know an answer, or have you encountered the same problem this evening?

2012 Student Radio Awards

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Scott and Annie

At midnight last night, entries for the 2012 Student Radio Awards officially opened.

Students and their stations have just under 6 weeks to finalise their entries and submit them via the website: www.studentradioawards.co.uk

I’ve checked over the entry system, and the judging system and everything seems to work fine. (Final last words)

Good luck to everyone!

 

Sharing some love

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Michael Flarup's App Icon Template
Michael Flarup's App Icon Template

I don’t often do this (I probably should do it more).

So picture the scene, you’ve just built an app for iPhone/iPad/Mac and you want to build yourself one of those typical Mac looking Icons to show off your produce in the store. Or perhaps it’s even simpler than that and you just want to build a couple of different sized favicons for your website.

The awesome Michael Flarup (@flarup) – great name by the way – has done all the hard work for you. He has developed a Photoshop file that has a few custom templates in already, and you can of course add your own design as well.

The clever and brilliant thing about it is that the file has ‘Actions’ built into it so that you are actually making 10 icons, but you’ve only designed one. I’ve never seen Photoshop Actions been used in this way and it’s very clever.

Please go check out his page appicontemplate.com it’s saved me a lot of work, and I know it will continue to do so.

He even has a Flickr group where people can share what they have created using his ‘script’. Cool idea!

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