Student Radio Awards Judging

Student Radio Awards

For the last few years i’ve had a hand in judging the Student Radio Awards and i’ve just judged the first round of one of this year’s categories. Student Radio’s very important to me, it’s the reason I managed to get my foot in the door and I always try and help it if I can.

The Awards are very good too. The picture above is the award I won with my Insanity colleagues back in 1999. The gong has pride of place in my Mum’s hall. In fact, when I grabbed it to snap the picture this weekend (with her attractive cushion in the back), Mum sounded a little worried that i’d be taking it back to London. Bless.

Anyway, normally i’ve judged categories like Marketing and New Media, but this year they’ve let me loose on a presenter-led category (I don’t think we’re supposed to say which ones, in case we are influenced…). Each category has two rounds of judging, the first round to do the shortlist and the final round to do the winner. I’m a mere first round judge this year, but completed the task with my good mate R.

It’s quite fun to go through the entries (each with some audio and some written work) and it’s amazing the varying quality you get to hear. It is a bit of a slog though, we had 25 entries to go through, listening, reading and making notes. Last night we then compared our views to come up with the final five/six. The majority we’d both picked and then with the remaining ones we both had in our ‘maybe’ list we argued until we got the final couple sorted.

Having done all this, my top tips for entrants next year (and actually for anyone doing demo tapes etc) is:
1. If you’re a double act, make sure pretty quickly it’s obvious who’s entering – saying your name is a good start
2. Don’t include stuff where you and your co-host are talking over each other
3. Don’t read directly something out of the paper.
4. If you slag off the music your audience will always think “well why is he playing it then?”
5. Don’t include links where you make mistakes/fluff your words/speak over vocals etc
6. Include different types of links – not just ‘we’re all having a laugh’ stuff.
7. Presentation matters. Make sure the CD/docs are neat and professional – it makes the judge think your professional too.
8. Make sure your CD plays when you put it in a CD player.
9. Sound confident – you’re the presenter after all!
10. Remember you’re doing a show for the listeners not for each other.

Good luck to everyone who entered, I believe the shortlist is out on the 10th October and the Awards itself is on the 15th November.

3 thoughts on “Student Radio Awards Judging”

  1. The awards are always a great night, but I’ve come to the conclusion (years after actually being in the position to do anything about it (rolls eyes)), that they are holding back the ability of student radio to develop as a genuine alternative to the BBC and commercial radio, in the way that it is in parts of the USA (though obviously there are other factors at work there). I didn’t see it at the time, but there’s so much effort put into the organisation of the judging and the ceremony, that other aspects of what the SRA should be doing are perhaps neglected.

    Of course, it’s five years since I was SRA Chair, so things may well have changed. If it’s the same as it was then, and if I was there again, I’d be trying to ensure that the burden of organising the event was removed from the people on the SRA committee as far as possible.

  2. My personal view is that student radio shouldn’t necessarily have to be there as an alternative (whatever that means) to the BBC or Commercial radio. It’s sole role should be to cater for the needs of its audience.

    Re: Awards admin I personally believe that it is the SRA’s role to organise their own awards. Whether they spend that time to the detriment of other activities, is I guess up to them. There isn’t, of course, any limit to the number of officers they can have. Or indeed why they shouldn’t hire someone to do some Awards stuff.

    This year ASRA looks after the judging, under the SRAs instructions, so that should be one less thing off their mind.

  3. “My personal view is that student radio shouldn’t necessarily have to be there as an alternative (whatever that means) to the BBC or Commercial radio. It’s sole role should be to cater for the needs of its audience.”

    Which is precisely what it doesn’t do, in most parts of the country. What it does do is provide a reasonable playground for people who want to become media professionals, but that’s about it in the majority of cases.

    “Re: Awards admin I personally believe that it is the SRA’s role to organise their own awards. Whether they spend that time to the detriment of other activities, is I guess up to them. There isn’t, of course, any limit to the number of officers they can have. Or indeed why they shouldn’t hire someone to do some Awards stuff.”

    Indeed. I think the problem is, or at least used to be, that the awards were so all-encompassing that there was literally no other time to think about whether or not they were being pursued intelligently.

    And also – if you’re a newly-installed SRA committee, it’s a lot easier to get stuck into the work in front of you, that to think widely about what your role should be, and whether this is the best use of your time and effort.

    “This year ASRA looks after the judging, under the SRAs instructions, so that should be one less thing off their mind.”

    That’s good news.

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