A Life In Student Radio. Well 6 Shows Anyway…

Published on 27 February 2008 in ,

I’ve always been interested to note just how many people I work with, past and present, who have spent time doing student radio. And then there’s the few who have had more quantifiable experience. My favourite is the tale of one colleague who (along with another colleague) worked on a youth show on a certain BBC local radio station. The very same show which also saw a young Jo Whiley get her first radio experience. And the very same show which was cancelled by a third colleague.

In contrast, the closest (almost all of) my non-work friends had with radio has been listening to it. Is there something about the world of new media that attracts people with a bent towards the old? Or is it something more specific to the BBC?

Inside the Purple FM studio

Inside the Purple FM studios in October 1997

I was pondering this yesterday whilst looking back at some photographs of my own student radio time, at Purple FM in Durham. Well I say radio time – it was six shows over two restricted service licences and the second batch of shows were ten years ago this March.

My original plan had been to scan in all the photos, digitise my cassette based recordings, relaunch my current crummy looking “Bods on the Wireless site with the photos and some decent quality replacements for the elderly and probably unplayable Real Audio 2 format clips. Oh and perhaps do a one-off podcast in celebration.

Well maybe I’ll manage it in time for the 11th year anniversary

On the phone in 1998 At the mic

On the studio phone, and at the microphone in March 1998

However during my week off work, I did manage to scan in the photographs, which are frankly unnerving and scary. Did I really have that dodgy left parting in 1997? And just six months later, there was the beginnings of my attempt to grow my hair. (For anyone who has only seen my tightly cropped head of recent times, yes I did once have a pony tale).

Even though there were only six shows, they were fond memories. I always enjoyed student radio, even if it did mean getting up at 5am and tramping to the studio in the snow on one particular morning.

True I was, well, a bit crap. To say the least. But it was fun and hugely enjoyable.

For a (very) short time, I did wonder if I’d be able to get into the world of radio production when I left university, but it was never to be and it was my messing around with computers instead of studying, that ultimately got me a job in the wider world. My arrival at the BBC was rather accidental, and certainly not part of a grand plan!

Obviously if anyone was ever to offer me the chance to get back in front of the mic, I’d be there like a shot but chances are that I’ll never have the thrill of live broadcasts ever again. I’m sure I’d still be crap. But hey, once a bad DJ, always a bad DJ…

You can laugh at bad haircuts and egg boxes on the wall, by viewing all the photos in my Purple FM flickr set.