Digital media students at Ron Dearing UTC are being given a unique insight into every aspect of radio as they prepare for their own shows to be broadcast across Hull and beyond.
Fifteen Year 13 students are working with Andy Pea, director and presenter at West Hull FM community radio, to learn more about radio station roles and what happens behind the scenes to make each element of a show work.
West Hull FM broadcasts daily to 150,000 homes and businesses in the west of the city and surrounding areas, with many more listeners tuning in online from across the globe.
Working in small groups as part of an eight-week pilot project, students have been given creative control to choose their own radio show content and themes, ranging from arts and culture to basketball, film and television, and are recording content and conversation to bring their shows to life.
Away from the microphone and presenting, some students have chosen to focus more on scriptwriting, producing, research, design, branding and other roles, learning every element of radio.
They are following guidelines set by the UK’s communications regulator OFCOM, all in line with radio broadcasting codes of conduct and official industry-level requirements.
Andy, who is also a visual artist, said: “I think of radio as an art medium and platform, and I want to introduce young people to the world of radio to give them a real insight into broadcasting.
“The students’ enthusiasm and interest is infectious and the skills they’ve demonstrated so far have been fantastic. The skills they’re learning are transferable and also align with some of Ron Dearing UTC’s specialisms, so it’s a perfect fit.
“Community radio often has a tag of being more appealing to the older generation, but I want younger voices to be heard. To be able to give them this platform to discuss various topics is amazing and really exciting.”
Students have written jingles, named their shows and created logos as they work towards their content being aired in the coming weeks and, Covid-19 restrictions permitting, they could also have chance to visit the West Hull FM studios in Park Avenue.
The radio-based project builds on other units completed by the students during their two-year course including journalism and pitching techniques, giving them a broad understanding of various areas of media.
Year 13 student Kelland Sharpe, 17, said: “You don’t realise how much goes into radio behind the scenes. It’s really hands-on and we’ve been finding out about the whole process.
“We’re looking at film and television and seeing where the conversation leads. It’s a really interesting and enjoyable project to be part of.”
Fellow Year 13 student Jasmine Scoffins, 18, said: “Working with Andy has helped us to understand the different roles in radio and how each one is flexible to support someone in another role if needed. We’ve split the work, sharing ideas and roles.”
Kate Blowman, Deputy Head of Creative Digital and Subject Lead for Art at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “Working with Andy is enabling our students to further develop their skills at industry-standard level.
“It’s brilliant to see how their communication skills have massively developed and their confidence has grown throughout the project.”