Industry names kick off radio conference with a bang

‘Becoming a part of people’s daily lives is so great’ – that is the inspirational goal Greg James has set delegates to follow who are this week attending the Student Radio Conference at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Over the last ten years, the Radio One presenter has graced the airwaves of the UK’s most listened to station and today he gave his words of advice to more than 250 students from more than 40 universities.

Greg 1 

De Montfort Students’ Union’s (DSU) student-led station Demon FM last hosted the conference in 2013 and its welcome return is seeing more of the UK’s biggest radio industry names and future talent descending on campus.

Interviewing celebrities such as film star Tom Cruise and entrepreneur Lord Sugar are daily norms for Greg. Students looking to follow in his footsteps were treated to exclusive tips on Wednesday afternoon.

The 31 year-old began his career in student radio at the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Livewire 1350AM where he was Station Manager in 2006. He got his first gig at Radio One in 2007, taking his current role as the drive time presenter in 2014.

Speaking during the keynote session in the Hugh Aston Building, Greg said: “I’ve always loved listening to people on the radio and the stories that come out and that’s what got me into radio.

“The whole point of a radio show is to do something which is for a particular audience and with that in mind my shows now aren’t too dissimilar to those I did as a student.

“My proudest moment is being the person everyone listens too at the same every day, which I always aspired to do as it’s so personable.”

Greg 2

Greg 3

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Greg, who was joined by Rhys Hughes, Head of Programmes at BBC Radio 1, spoke about his favourite features and competitions including ‘Rage Against the Answering Machine’ and ‘What’s My Age Again’.

The pair also touched on how social media is now playing a big part in radio in helping to engage audiences with content in different ways. One included Greg getting Lord Sugar to do the dog filter on Snapchat to plug the interview content across platforms.

All these are useful tips for students who hope that their work on student radio stations up and down the country, particularly those on Demon FM, can help them break into the industry.

Greg said: “Trust your gut and make every moment count and most importantly enjoy every minute.”

The inspirational Stephanie Hirst spoke at the final keynote session of the day, closing the day ahead of Demo Factor at The Venue@DMU.

Stephanie, who is transgender, made her name in the radio industry as Simon for two decades, before risking everything to become a woman.

She emotionally told her inspiring story and made students realise that literally anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

The radio presenter now works for the BBC and her radio career is as strong as ever.

Staphanie Hirst

Ending her keynote session she told students: “I am passionate about radio, I am passionate about student radio.

“You are the next generation, the future of the UK radio industry.”

Other sessions included DMU alumni Will Gavin, now of Talksport, joined by BBC Radio Leicester’s Jason Bourne talking about how to become a sports journalist.

James Lloyd, Dick Stone and their team at Capital East Midlands spoke about how to market a particular feature or event effectively.

Presenters Tom and Claire were there to speak about Claire’s recent effort to run three marathons in three days for Global’s Make Some Noise charity.

The successful Claire, whose show with Tom has 536,000 listeners a week, has currently raised £17,000.

There is plenty more to come over the next few days of the conference and you can keep right up-to-date across our channels: TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Posted on Wednesday 19th April 2017

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