I arrived with some trepidation at my interview with Ian Lamsdale (Lamsie), one of the founder organisers of the station in 2008. The job centre had sent me and I felt under pressure to accept the eight week stint because if I refused, maybe the job centre would withdraw my money. However, Lamsie immediately put me at my ease and told me that everything would be a negotiation, not an order and that I could arrange my work in a way that was useful and convenient to me. We worked out a work plan, and he sent me off to contact the various members of the team who would mentor me.
On Thursday, I arrived to follow Kym Frederick, whose by-line on her blog announces her as “Newport City Radio’s mother hen”. She immediately took me under her wing and made me feel welcome. She invited me to observe her preparing for her eclectic Thursday show (5 pm weekly). This week she was having a live guest – Rhys Davies – who would be singing some of his songs. Kym showed me how she loaded her “cart” of tunes into the DJ software and how she set up a playlist for the two hours of the show. This included the stings for the hourly news and three adverts per hour as well as the tunes she downloaded from her memory stick and selected from the bank of pre-existing material already on the station server. Whilst doing this she kept up a steady conversation, chatted with the other volunteers and passers-by, and told me a bit about herself, all in the most relaxed and inclusive fashion. She even asked me to choose some tunes and sussed out my taste in music (mostly classical and jazz).
Kym’s show was really fun. Rhys sang some songs and Kym interviewed him in between, drawing out his interests. She was particularly generous in announcing me as the “co-presenter” of the show – a huge exaggeration as I hardly talked. However, I did manage to make a video of Rhys which I shared with Kym the following day. After Rhys’s section, Kym inveigled fellow volunteer Dan Price, to take part in her trivia quiz, which was great fun. Dan, who I’d known from a past life, delightful, chatty and helpful, unfortunately couldn’t keep up with my vast general knowledge (duh) and I won!
After Kym’s show, I joined in the regular Thursday’s blogging meeting attended by the volunteers who write. This was great as I met lots of the people who work at the station and who I would have no chance of meeting otherwise. Led by Vicky Lord, the bright and engaging chair of the meeting, they formed a varied and friendly set. Introducing themselves, they showed a variety of interests from politics to rap, from Doctor Who to disability and housing issues, and discussed the programme of blogs planned for the following week.
When I left at the end of the evening, snow threatening to fall, I really felt that this was a place I could find friends and do things…
Next day I came in to learn from Danni, who was going to show me how to upload articles to the website and edit them. Danni, a young man with a journalism background and a desire to make a career in radio, is quiet and empathetic. He patiently showed me the ropes of the website, pointing out the pitfalls of web editing. We went through some blogs and also had a bit of a laugh. The station was much quieter with fewer people working, uploading blogs and running shows. Between us, we managed to “break” a bit of the coding, but with a bit of trial and error we “mended” it again.
I was exhausted. This was going to be a lot more interesting but also more hard work than I thought. I’m looking forward to what comes next.