Guest Lecture – Bill Brewster

The week’s guest lecture was by Bill Brewster AKA DJHistory.

Bill is a passionate music fan and in his entertaining and inspiring talk he described how he has managed to make a living from the thing he loves – music.

Describing himself primarily as a record collector, Bill has worked as a journalist (which took him to New York and Geneva for two years), a DJ, a record company owner, a music producer, an A&R person, a record compiler, a liner notes writer, a music consultant, a website owner and an author (Bill’s book Last Night A DJ Saved My Life is the bible of club and DJ culture).

The audience for Bill’s talk was level 3 Audio Production students who will be looking for ways in which to turn their passion (be it radio, music or film-sound) into a sustainable living in the not too-distant future.

For me, what Bill represents, is how versatility, hard work and a love of your subject can create opportunities and, if you’re ready to respond, how one opportunity can lead to another.

Next year Bill is working on a project with legendary record producer and Chic main-man Nile Rodgers. Not bad for a lad from Grimsby!

Students’ audio series is quality material for BBC Radio 4

University of Lincoln students who created an audio series about one of the world’s greatest scientists have had their work featured on Radio 4’s Material World.

Students and a recent graduate from the University’s Audio Production course were originally asked to produce an audio tour for The Gravity Fields Festival, which aims to celebrate the legacy of Grantham’s most famous son Sir Isaac Newton.

But the quality of the work is such the science programme Material World used extracts from it to introduce a 15-minute segment on the eight-day festival which took place at the end of September.

The audio, which was also serialised on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, features amateur actors and local schoolchildren and was all recorded on location – including Newton’s birth in the very same room at Woolsthorpe Manor.

Bryan Peter Rudd, the University’s Audio Production programme leader, put the team together following a request from the festival organisers and the BBC.

Bryan said: “This was a fantastic partnership for the University to be involved with. The quality of work produced by the students is absolutely tremendous and they achieved this while working under enormous pressure to very tight deadlines. I am extremely proud of them as they have shown the amazing quality of work our students are capable of.”

Luke Pickering, who recently graduated from the University with a first-class honours degree in audio production, led the student team which consisted of Jake Walker, James Drake and Stephen Bernard.

Luke, 22, who also spent the summer recording live bands, said: “Recording on location was something I hadn’t had much experience in so that aspect was really interesting. Between the four of us it worked smoothly and I’m really pleased with the finished product.”

Jake, 20, added: “It was a fantastic experience. When I told my mum the audio had been played on Radio 4 she was delighted, if I ever got to work on The Archers she’d probably cry. I was a bit scared as we only had a week to put it together but I learned so much which I can apply to future projects.”

Charlie Partridge, Managing Editor of BBC Radio Lincolnshire, involved the University after he was initially approached to produce an audio tour for the festival.

He said: “It soon became clear that it would also be suitable for radio drama. The University has amazing facilities and a great bunch of talented people, which is why I immediately contacted the media department. The students worked fantastically well from our point of view and it was great they had the opportunity to have their work broadcast, not only on local radio but also on Radio 4. I applied a real quality test to the finished product, so it was a real challenge for them. That kind of site specific drama is really difficult to get right but they did. It is in every way a professional recording and is testament to the very talented people both studying and working at the University of Lincoln.”

To listen to the episode of Material World which features excerpts from the radio drama go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mwzwj from 16 minutes in.

Story by Marie Daniels – PR Officer

Bush House Soundscapes


The closure of Bush House, home to the BBC World Service since December 1940, has provoked two wonderful soundscape projects.

Firstly, World Service studio manager Robin The Fog used recordings made in Bush House at night to create The Ghosts of Bush. “Here, atmospheric noises are slowed down and looped, with the help of some of the World Service’s ancient reel-to-reels, to form a piece of beautiful, warm spatial exploration. Chords swell and harmonic patterns emerge out of the building’s crepuscular creaking or Robin’s whistling, using the labyrinthine Portland stone corridors of the building, at one time the most expensive in the world, as a giant reverb tank.” (The Quietus, 2012).

Secondly, Creative Director of the re-launched Radiophonic Workshop Matthew Herbert created a soundscape for the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Listen to Matthew discussing his Sonic Tribute To Bush House here
Listen/download The Ghosts of Bush here

Ludwig Koch and the Music of Nature

Ludwig Koch was once as famous as David Attenborough, as pioneering as ‘Blue Planet’ and as important as the BBC Natural History Unit. They all owe their existence to this German refugee who first recorded the music of nature. Through his archive and new field recordings the poet Sean Street tells the story of Ludwig Koch.

When Sean Street was recording in a store-room at the Science Museum for a Radio 4 archive programme he came across a grey crate, stencilled, as if it belonged to a band on tour, with KOCH on it. This was the disc-cutting machine which Ludwig Koch used for a decade to make the recordings of birds, mammals and insects that led to a new field of study, of broadcasting and the creation of the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

Sean and his producer then began investigating and discovered that Koch made the first ever wildlife recording, of a bird, when he was eight, in 1889 – and that it still exists in the BBC’s archives.

Koch was an effusive man and this led to several confrontations with Nazi officials, whom he despised. There is an extraordinary recording of him telling the story of a Berliner whose bullfinch sang ‘The Internationale’. He was carted off to prison and the bird ‘executed’. “Under dictatorship,” Koch observed, “even songbirds suffer”. He came to England, worked with Julian Huxley on theories of animal language, and recorded birds from the Scillies to Shetland.

In 1940 he joined the BBC and soon became a household name, beloved of comedians (there’s a great sketch by Peter Sellers parodying him at work) because of his resolute pronunciation of English as if it were German.

As well as being wonderful radio in itself his work was of great significance. It inspired producer Desmond Hawkins to start ‘The Naturalist’, (using Koch’s enchanting recording of a curlew as its signature tune). Sean Street uses his recordings and contributions of those who worked with him in what becomes a natural history programme in itself, with Koch the subject and Sean exploring his habits and habitat.

There is also an attempt to record curlews as he did so successfully, to shed light on the achievements of this courageous, influential and loveable genius. Today sound-recordists use tiny digital machines and sophisticated microphones. But there are other problems – traffic, planes, people – and fewer, shyer curlews.

Listen to the programme here
Producer: Julian May.

Chris Moyles – Marmite or Madness – the end of ZOO FORMAT for breakfast

“I’m just going to give a heads up that we’re going to wrap it up, …it’s almost time to go, we’re off. A couple more months of us and then it’s someone else’s turn to have a go.” (Chris Moyles on-air 11-7-12)

Yesterday (11th July) saw a major milestone in BBC Radio Broadcasting, in the form of the ritual that is the changing of the guard at the helm of the most listened to time-slot on UK Radio – The Breakfast Show, more specifically Radio One’s breakfast show. The reason – BBC wishes to bring down the average age of Radio One’s audience to 15-29.

Chris Moyles has been Radio One’s DJ at breakfast for years. Most students attending University will have grown up with him. Moyles has won awards, outraged people, increased ratings, climbed mountains for charity, gained weight, lost weight, spoken his mind and generally enjoyed great freedom as he lived out his dream. I have been struck by the amount of debate for and against Chris Moyles – (so much so that one of my own posts on the subject was deleted by a detractor, such is the strength of feeling held by some) He has been praised as ‘the most successful breakfast show host”, and Gary Barlow even wrote a parody song about Mr Moyles ‘The greatest DJ in the World?” http://youtu.be/1Ewaq9cmhLY

I have only met Chris Moyles once, (more of which later) but like millions of other people I feel that I know him well. Each morning on the way to work it was a ritual for me . Radio 4 until ‘thought for the day’ then switch over to find out what Chris Moyles and his ‘ZOO RADIO’ team, Aled, Tina, Comedy Dave, Dominic Byrne, were up to. Often they would spend ages just chatting and discussing topics of the day – occasionally even playing a record or two! People would ‘turn-up’, like the time a breathless Will.i.am brought round a USB stick with a temp mix of ‘This is love“.
I would argue, that to really understand Moyles, you have to listen over a reasonable length of time.

 

I don’t necessarily like Chris Moyles, he can be incredibly annoying,  but he was also entertaining. He is also very proficient in ‘driving’ a radio desk. (backed up by a very efficient team no doubt) but he is a master at talking up to the vocal line, or matching beats, and reacting rapidly live on air, calling up tracks from the now completely digitised music and jingle library.  When he actually played tracks I often liked the music he played. Moyles is a bit like Marmite – I can tolerate it, sometimes I really like it, but sometimes I just don’t want any!

You will certainly be hard pushed to find people sitting on the fence in their opinions of him. Radio One’s Ben Cooper described him as: “Quite simply he’s been the most successful breakfast show host in Radio 1 history.” – others find Moyles “utterly vile”, and “a nasty piece of work”

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The breakfast slot is seen as key to audiences and image at Radio Stations. People listen driving to work, on the tube, on their phones and at home whilst burning the toast. It’s the slot that gets the nation going in the morning.

Not that Radio One gets the most listeners at that time in the morning. That award goes to BBC Radio 2, and another Chris, EVANS. In the period January to March 2012, Chris Evans Breakfast show scored weekly ratings of 9.23 million listeners against Radio One’s current incumbant Chris Moyles’s 7.1 Million. The other major player is that stalwart of speech radio the Today programme which averages about 6.1 million.
(source RAJAR)

In an On-Air ‘announcement’ (listen here http://youtu.be/L–bVB8QU7M) Chris Moyles revealed to his listeners that he will be leaving Radio One’s morning slot in October after over 8 years at the helm.

Nick Grimshaw was later announced as the new Breakfast show host – and Chris moyles lost no time in playing a trick on Grimshaw, inviting him into the studio this morning (Thursday 12th July – and then leaving him totally alone in the studio without warning! 

Chris abandons Grimshaw – Telegraph

 Moyles walks out – METRO

During his time in office, Moyles has seen the audience for Radio One in the morning rise from the doldrums, and remain high for several years – though now there are signs that Radio audiences are falling with the rise of streaming music services and other outlets.

It seems that Radio One are keen to keep Chris Moyles and already there are rumours about a new show for Moyles. Ben Cooper the controller of Radio One has already said as such,
Stating “Chris Moyles will reinvent himself at Radio One”
( http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jul/11/chris-moyles-reinvent-radio-1-ben-cooper?newsfeed=true )

Moyles has the record for the longest continuous radio show, he has climbed Kilimanjaro with other celebrities for Comic Relief, he has broadcast from various parts of the globe, as well as Hackney, London !! (The Hackney Weekend – community event ) Over the years hundreds if not thousands of incidents have occurred, which all have contributed to peoples feelings about Moyles. He can seem arrogant, but also has a considerate side and can read the mood of the nation well. Two examples display the paradox:

On Tuesday September 11th 2001, the terrorist attacks in America occurred just before Chris was due to go on the air at 3pm UK time. A decision was made not to do the usual show. Instead, Chris played non stop music, interrupted only by regular Newsbeat updates from Claire Bradley. He was wildly praised for his handling of the situation. The next three shows were much the same – featuring emails from listeners, stories from eye witnesses.
(taken from http://chrismoyles.net/teamchris.shtml )

In February 2002, Chris also got himself into hot water with the Broadcasting Standards Commission, when he offered to take Charlotte Church’s virginity on the day she turned 16. The complaints were upheld and Moyles forced to apologise. Despite this, Charlotte has made several subsequent appearances on the show, with Chris even presenting his Christmas Day show live from her mums pub in 2005.

for more of Chris Moyles controversial moments see (http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/chris-moyles-controversy-mirrorcouks-top-363913 )

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Moyles’s home town is Leeds, where I spent three years in the mid 1980’s. During his departure speech he commented on how getting to the Radio One breakfast slot was a childhood dream. He certainly has worked his way up through a vast array of local radio stations, and I admire the way a Leeds boy made it to the big time – always good to see the seemingly Southern bias being challenged.

Rod McPhee writing yesterday in the Yorkshire Evening Post :

when he first arrived at Radio 1 in 1997 it marked a definitive end of an era of radio where Smashy and Nicey DJs still lingered. He almost sounded like a bloke who’d wandered in off the street and found himself thrust in front of a microphone. That was his gift though. It took a lot of skill and experience to sound that natural. You only have to listen to some presenters on some local radio shows (and some presenters on other Radio 1 shows) to realise just how smooth Moyles really is.”
( http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/lifestyle/columnists/rod-mcphee-chris-moyles-love-or-hate-him-you-have-to-rate-him-1-4730770 )

He has a reputation for brashness. Nicholas Lezard write in the Independent:

“I listened to his show the day after the broadcast. To my surprise, Moyles was humility itself, and barely referred to his award, preferring instead to play some great music and make some splendid topical jokes. Ha! Just kidding. He talked about almost nothing else for the first 21 minutes and 14 seconds of the show, by which time someone whispered into his ear and reminded him that Radio 1 was a music station, not a speech station. I had my smugometer to hand, to be scientific, but it exploded.”
( http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/chris-moyles-radio-1-830193.html )

Rod McPhee again :

“Moyles has always given the impression of being a sensitive soul, a reactive personality who takes things personally. Of course, he only gives a hint of this through occasional outbursts, but it’s there all the same. Which is why he’s not only one of the most successful DJs of the last decade but also one of the most interesting. He certainly seems to have more layers than his replacement, Primmie Hill It-kid Nick Grimshaw. Complete with standard issue bouffant and skinny jeans, he’s just a generic clone of modern youth.”

“…we should celebrate him in Leeds. Sure he’s never allowed his Loiner heart to bleed across the pages of newspapers and magazines, but that’s preferable to other stars who love to use their gritty, northern roots to cynically promote themselves.
Truth is, Leeds is a little better off for boasting Moyles in its alumni, and, laud or loathe him, Radio 1’s certainly a lot worse off for losing him”

Changing the breakfast presenter is generational thing at Radio One.
Samira Ahmed writing in The Guardian in November 2011 wrote:

“Radio 1’s dilemma is encapsulated in the totemic persona of its breakfast show presenter, Chris Moyles. Chris Evans’s spiritual heir, Moyles joined Radio 1 in the late 90s and has recently signed a new contract with the station. Now 37, the enfant terrible’s frequent alleged homophobic comments have seen him censured by Ofcom (in 2009) and “warned” by the Radio 1 controller, but, with his valuable ratings, always protected by management. (The new controller, incidentally, is Moyles’s former producer, Ben Cooper).
Whatever you think of him, and there have been plenty of critics, Moyles could be seen to represent what’s happened to adulthood – the phenomenon of extended middle youth, says Garfield, pointing to the demographic of rock festivals. A thirtysomething today is comparable in what they listen to, how they live and consume and how they regard themselves, to a twentysomething a generation ago.”
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/08/radio-1-extended-middle-youth )

love or loathe him, we may be in for a quieter time at breakfast on Radio One for a while – my prediction is that ratings will fall under Grimshaw, then a new replacement will be sought, and that person may well become as infamous as Moyles, but it could take several years.

Oh and that meeting I had with Moyles? Well it was in the stairwell at Broadcasting House. I nodded at him and I think he muttered “eorgh” or similar. I don’t remember I was too busy looking at Mariella Frostrup walking down the stairs. Now there’s a radio personality!

CHRIS HAINSTOCK 2012

there is a sound archive of some of Chris Moyles radio shows here

 

what are your thought s on Chris Moyles and his legacy? –

Simon Ross – BBC Introducing

Blog post by Audio Production graduate Simon Ross:

Since leaving the University of Lincoln, I have been spending time at BBC Lincolnshire as a Broadcast Assistant for a variety of shows. One of the biggest shows I am fortunate enough to now be part of is the Lincolnshire branch of the nationally recognised BBC Introducing initiative. BBC Introducing focuses on discovering and promoting unsigned artists from around the country by allocating a specific department in all of the BBC’s local radio stations.

Whilst approaching the end of my time at University, I knew I had to start finding work for when I enter “the real world”, so I utilized the potential of the Research and Development module by spending time at BBC Lincolnshire researching their BBC Introducing programme. By doing this, I got to spend time at the studios which I would have otherwise struggled to acquire. For the purpose of my study, I sat and observed what went on during the production of the programme and by doing this I was able to make myself known to those at the BBC.

After finding my way through the figurative door I was invited back to assist the BBC Introducing team, this time setting up studios to record live sessions of bands and musicians to be featured on the Sunday night programme. Before long I was asked by the programme’s presenter and producer, Tim Johns, to join him on 29th June for what would be a special one-off programme broadcasting live from SO Festival 2012 in Skegness.

Arriving at the BBC Lincolnshire studios for 12:00, a lot of the preparations were already done by Tim and other members of the team. Alongside Tim and I, we were joined by stage manager Rosie Duffield, reporter Peggy Walker and Tim’s wife Kristina. We arrived in Skegness just after 14:00 and began by setting up 3 giant “BBC” cubes on stage, hanging banners and sharing flyers round local businesses. Passes were given to all the bands, and we had our “AAA” (access all areas) passes too (ironically on BBC Radio 1 lanyards, though I didn’t complain!).

Fortunately for us, an external sound team were hired for the event, so the only technicalities that concerned us were simply broadcasting the event between 19:00 – 22:00. Our engineer, Adam, worked from an ex-army vehicle behind the stage which was fitted with a multitrack desk and radio desk. This allowed Adam to ensure the radio broadcast and PA broadcast performed to the high standards of the BBC.

The bands were left to do their sound-checks whilst we tested our connections to and from BBC Lincolnshire. Our reporter, Peggy, spoke on-air about the event throughout the day using an iPad which is now commonly used by reporters for their outside broadcasts. Broadcasting software is installed on the iPads allowing reporters to connect and speak on-air from any location at near studio quality.

Once the bands finished their sound-checks, and the BBC Introducing team had filled up on much needed fish and chips, the event launched to a crowd of around 400 people in Tower Gardens and the rest of Lincolnshire via the radio. Funnily enough, once the bands had been introduced by Tim and interviewed by Peggy backstage, we were able to simply enjoy the performances. Due to extensive prior preparations, no obstacles were encountered.

All the bands who performed originate from the Lincolnshire area, except one band who came specially from Sweden on an “exchange scheme”. East Lindsey District Council are now in the process of choosing one of the Lincolnshire bands that performed to travel and perform in Sweden later in the year. Once the broadcast ended at 22:00, a band from Denmark played the stage to the remaining crowds as we packed away the equipment we had brought with us and returned back at the BBC Lincolnshire studios for midnight.

I managed to get home to my bed shortly after 01:00 ready for my usual shift at BBC Lincolnshire the following day working for the programmes ‘Solid Gold Saturdays’ with Melvyn Prior and ‘Summer Saturdays’ with James Lobley and Maria Richmond. I will be working with BBC Introducing again from the beginning of next week, resuming the schedule of recording live sessions.

Ethan at Maida Vale Studios

Blog post by level 3 Audio Production student Ethan Ejdowski:

On Februrary 15th, I travelled down to Maida Vale Studios in London to do some primary research for my Research and Development module. I’m researching into live music at the BBC and targeting specifically the Maida Vale studios.

I started the day with a tour of the studios, learning how the buildings work towards different sessions which are broadcast directly from the studios. Sessions such as Radio 1 Live Lounge, Zane Lowe sessions, the BBC Symphonic Orchestra.

I was then given the opportunity to observe the setup and broadcast of Radio 1’s Live Lounge with the guest being Ed Sheeran. I then observed a second session, this was the set-up and 40 minute live broadcast of The Black Keys (shown in the picture below).

It was a great experience and helped me gain an understanding of how the Maida Vale sessions work and also how I can attempt to gain a job in a similar field.

Radio Symposium at University of Lincoln

Trevor Dann draws together radio elite to counsel next generation of industry recruits (13 December 2011).

Some of the top names in UK radio will visit Lincoln next week to give their expert advice on breaking into their competitive industry to students at the University.

Lorna Clarke, Network Manager, BBC Radio 2 & 6Music, Sam Bailey Interactive Editor, BBC Music Events, Dick Stone Programme Director, Capital FM East Midlands and David Jennings, BBC Head of Region, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, will give an overview of their sector and the kind of skills they are looking for in potential recruits.

Radio mogul Trevor Dann, who is visiting professor at the University of Lincoln, has organised the day (Tuesday 13 December) in conjunction with Bryan Rudd, principal lecturer in the School of Media, and it promises to be packed with useful tips from the industry’s elite.

Lorna Clarke is one of the most senior women in BBC Radio and the most senior black woman in the UK radio industry. She formerly ran BBC 1Xtra and the Electric Proms, and was recently made a Fellow of the Radio Academy.

Lorna said: “I’m looking forward to meeting the students of Lincoln University and passing on as many tips as possible about how to maximise your chances of working in the industry.”

Sam Bailey, who was part of the team that delivered the new Radio 1 website, considered by many to be the best in UK radio, is an expert in producing online content. Sam says his job enables him to combine his childhood passions of making radio and working with computers.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to visiting Lincoln Uni for the first time, especially to talk to future radio programme makers. By the time they’re making radio programmes, the line between radio and the web will be completely blurred, if it exists at all. Understanding the way that media consumption is changing is critical for anyone starting out in the radio industry, and I’m delighted to have been asked for my views.”

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