All entries for Sunday 05 November 2006

November 05, 2006

The Student Radio Awards

This Thursday will see the highlight of the student radio calendar (admittedly, it may be the only entry in it) – the Student Radio Awards. It’s a night of drunken celebration and celebrity-worshipping, but it also holds some deeper significance, as I’ll try to explain.

Many of the most important people in the media started off in Hospital or Student radio. Stephen Merchant – profiled in today’s Observer – began at RaW, as did Simon Mayo and Timmy Mallett (ok, there’s some un-important people too).

It really is a hot-bed of creativity, which at times can make it more exciting than the professional media world which many of its alumni go on to occupy. This isn’t surprising – people are often at their most ambitious and creative when young. But there are sometimes a few things that the big-guns can learn from the amateurs. I know – pretty much for a fact – that some Radio 1 DJs steal borrow their ideas from student radio stations, including RaW.

Especially when there’s the minimum amount of politics going on, student media can be the best place to try out new ideas and see how they work. At Cardiff’s Xpress Radio, DJs can get hold of listening figures for their own show, so can literally see whether one feature was a hit or a miss. If it’s a miss, it rarely matters. But if it’s a hit – and I’ve seen this happen – it can plant seeds that turn into careers.

Student radio can sometimes show us what professional radio is missing out on, too. I won’t embarrass them, but if two former RaW DJs decided to make a career in radio, they could make it to the very top. It’s the listener’s loss that they went in different directions.

But hopefully this week’s Student Radio Awards will recognise some of the future talent and also some of those who probably won’t go into the media. With categories from Best Comedy and Drama to Best Outside Broadcast, the SRAs recognise the full range of talent in student radio, and present it to an audience of industry bigwigs who, if they take it seriously enough, can foster new ideas and new careers.

Avoid the New Connaught Rooms in London this Thursday. You don’t need to see the riotous student behaviour that will go on. But keep in the back of your mind the idea that in that one building, many of the stars of the future will probably be taking their first staggering steps towards fame and fortune.

Stats and FOIs

Iain Dale had 153,000 visitors to his blog in October. I’m not going to say how many I’ve had (as that’s just embarrassing vulgar), but my stats are surprisingly good.

If anyone doesn’t have a decent hit-counter on their blog, then get one. It’s fascinating to see which websites have linked to you, and who’s been referring the most people. I’ve learned about loads of websites I never knew existed just by seeing who had linked to my blog entries. So “Hi” to Adam and Counterspin and The Stage (yeah, I couldn’t work out why either) and Dave Sheffield and of course Google, all of whom sent me some visitors last month.

All I will say is that my other venture: Tetbury Online gets considerably less ‘hits’ than my blog does. Which is a bit weird.

I don’t want to suggest the blog’s been dumbed-down recently, but I am planning to take it upmarket with some original journalism in the next few months (and no, it’s not going to be about railway museums or WI meetings). There were a few moments, when I filed my first Freedom of Information request, when I thought I was probably wasting taxpayers money. But then I realised the job of a journalist is to cause trouble, and seeing as a streak in me has been doing that since the day I was born, I pressed “Send”. I’ll let you know what happens. And what the hell it’s about.

If anyone has an idea as to how I can cause some trouble (within the law, preferably) please do let me know in the Comments section.

P.S. Don’t let anyone tell you blogging is profitable. I’d be amazed if anyone (in Britain at least) could earn a living from it. You might notice the Amazon adverts in the sidebar have disappeared, as they’d earned me precisely £0.00 in the three months they’d been there. At best, you can only hope a newspaper might pay you to write something they’ve seen on your blog. And so far, no-one’s opened their wallet.

A cold Sunday afternoon

Our central heating has broken.

The boiler seems to have cracked under the pressure of doing its job (i.e. heating the house) and has leaked all over its electrics. It’s the boiler equivalent of pissing your pants.

Last night was pretty hellish, and I was in bed until midday today, fearing my toes might have fallen off in the night. Thankfully there was none of that post-Halloween gore. I did find an electric heater hidden away upstairs so today has been a bit more bearable. I’m now using the trusty alcohol to keep me warm.

I’ve been listening to a great day of sport on the wireless. First the West Ham v Arsenal game (isn’t Wenger a nob?), then the England v NZ rugby game (I don’t understand rugby), and I’m listening to the last few minutes of the brilliant Tottenham v Chelsea game. Spurs are winning 2-1 with ninety seconds to go. I really hope Mourinho’s mugs don’t get a goal…

And the final whistle’s gone! The first time Spurs have beaten Chelsea in 16 years, and even though I’m not a big Spurs fan, this is a fantastic result for the football fan. Ooh, I almost feel a couple of degrees warmer.

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