For a budding music journalist, the thought of being at Radio 1’s Academy couldn’t be anymore exciting. Who wouldn’t love mingling with Radio 1 DJ’s, famous bands and well known artists, whilst learning the skills to get to your dream job? If you’re going to create an ideal couple of days, the line-up of Radio 1’s Academy would be just that. It was certainly an event that I was not prepared to miss, and thank goodness I didn’t because it went above and beyond my expectations.
For those who haven’t heard of this fantastic event, let me explain. Each year BBC Radio 1 holds ‘Radio 1’s Big Weekend’ in a different location across the UK; it is spread across two days and is the biggest free festival in Europe with around 50,000 people attending each year. Since 2012, ‘Radio 1’s Academy’ has arrived at the same place as the festival, usually around two weeks before the Big Weekend. The Academy aims to inspire young people to turn their passions into a reality and they put on various workshops and Q&A’s to help with this.
I spent two days at the academy attending invaluable workshops and Q&A’s that were truly inspirational.
Monday 11th May:
11am: I arrived at Open, Norwich and explored the Hangout area, which was full of industry experts, a photo booth and instruments to play around and jam with. Attached to this area were the studios that were being used by the Radio 1 DJ’s to broadcast their shows.
11.30am – 1.30pm: My first workshop of the day was ‘Make The Greg James ‘Going Home’ Song’. In this session, Greg and his producer Pippa set us the task of heading into the Hangout and getting us to record people doing their own ‘Going Home’ Song’s. We set out with our microphone and audio recorder and tried to find people to sing for us; it soon became clear that when someone is approached by four strangers with a big microphone in their face, they tend to run away! Once we had begged enough people to record their songs for us, we went back and started editing the song. We cut up the clips and fitted them around the famous ‘Going Home’ Song tune so that the transitions sounded smooth and seamless. We were initially told that Greg and Pippa would choose the best song from the six groups to use on the radio that evening, and we were lucky enough to have our one picked! Overall it was a great workshop and I learnt a lot more about editing and how to use the professional equipment.
2pm – 3pm: Next up a Journalism Q&A: ‘How To Make It In Journalism With Jake Humphrey’, hosted by Rick Edwards. This was my favourite session on Monday because it was such a true and honest interview. Inspirational is a hugely overused word, but it is the only fair representation of the hour long session. Jake spoke about his journey into the industry and the various obstacles he had to overcome (a common one being told numerous times that he will never work for BBC Sport – those people will certainly be eating their words now.) It was a fantastic session and I am feel privileged to have been able to attend.
3.30pm – 4.30pm: The final event I was booked onto was another Journalism Q&A: ‘Going Digital With Journalism’. This was led by Rick Edwards and Tina Daheley, a Radio 1 Newsbeat presenter. A panel of guests from places such as NME and Newsbeat were asked about how Journalism has changed since the evolution of the internet and the huge popularity of social media. It was really interesting to hear from them and the floor was then open for questions from the audience.
My first day at the academy was great fun and I got to learn so much from only a few hours of workshops and Q&A’s. Bring on Day 2!