‘Remember the name, because she’ll be famous one day’ were the words of Absolute Radio’s Paul Sylvester after a Demon FM presenter got two golden buzzers from a star-studded judging panel at Demo Factor, the flagship event of the Student Radio Conference.
The life of Abi Gibson a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Media Production MSc (Hons) 2nd year student is set to be changed forever after receiving incredible feedback from industry professionals in front of more than 250 delegates attending the annual conference.
Abi Gibson reacts to incredible praise from industry professionals including Greg James
Demo Factor, curated by DMU alumni Chris North, has been giving student radio talent an opportunity to make a name for themselves for the last 10 years and Abi’s success last night looks set to give her the first big break of her radio career.
And the six-person judging panel consisted some of the hottest names on the UK airwaves including Radio 1’s Greg James.
Abi, who is also Demon FM’s Head of News, said: “I still don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet, it’s all so surreal and I’m so overwhelmed with all the nice things people have said about my work.
“I’ve been offered a lot of work experience opportunities and I’ve passed on my number and email address to a lot of national industry professionals, so now I just need to wait for the call.”
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The event, described as 'Britain's Got Talent crossed with the X Factor, took place on the first night of the conference in The Venue@DMU. It gives students an opportunity to submit demos for industry feedback. Names are pulled out of a hat at random and their radio demos are played in front of the judges and the audience.
Successful Abi didn’t have it all her way, however, as her number was called while she made an untimely trip to the toilet. The judges quickly moved on when they learned she wasn’t in the room.
Abi understandably got emotional after judges didn’t give another student demo time earlier in the night because they hadn’t attended the conference.
Absolute Radio's Ben Burrell hosted the evening and was joined by a star studded judging panel
However, host Ben Burrell who won Demo Factor in 2009 and now works for Absolute Radio, returned to give Abi her moment in the spotlight, a decision which will undoubtedly give her the career she’s always dreamed of.
Abi said: “I was devastated when I found out my number had been called and they’d moved on having seen another student miss out earlier in the night.
“I was so upset, but so thankful that I was given the opportunity and I am over the moon with the support, words of kindness and offers I’ve had from industry professionals.
“Everyone including students from other stations have been so supportive and to hear that from peers, people who want to go into the industry too is just amazing.”
The judging panel on the night began with Chis North of North Media Talent, Lucy Winter a producer at BBC Radio 1, Paul Sylvester Content Director at Absolute Radio, TV presenter and Kiss FM presenter Pandora Christie and Jordan North a cover presenter also of BBC Radio 1.
Organisers had been promoting that this years’ event would come with a twist and with one spare judge seat, all were anticipating something big following the interval.
Host Ben Burrell scouted the audience for a sixth judge after the break before coming across a ‘student’ who announced they were from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Livewire 1350AM station.
That ‘student’ was in fact Greg James who had made a return following his Radio One drive time show live from BBC Radio Leicester and had been speaking earlier that day.
Greg James gives his take on student radio demos
Demon FM’s Lydia George who is also one of DMU’s vloggers was also highly praised at last night’s production and could be set for her first job in the industry.
She also received a golden buzzer and was told by Absolute’s Paul Sylvester, “the industry is waiting for you Lydia.”
Lydia who studies alongside Abi as a 2nd year Media Production MSc (Hons) student, said: “I was not expecting to have my name picked out at all, I was so shocked I couldn’t quite believe it.
“It is the first ever demo I have done and I’ve done it over the past few days, so the confidence this has given me is massive.
“I went backstage after and was approached by the judges who praised my work, took my details and were so shocked that it was my first attempt at a demo."
Lydia George is set for a bright future after high praise from the judging panel
The overall winner of Demo Factor 2017 was Sylvie Carlos of London Metropolitan University’s Verve Radio.
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: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
Posted on Thursday 20th April 2017