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, having completed the gig, I am so pleased I decided to accept the experience with an open mind and delighted with the friends I have made and the skills I have developed. The job centre may still be on my case, encouraging and possibly forcing me to try and find paid work, but I’m in a much better position through the training I’m getting with the help of the Newport City Radio community.
Every Tuesday, I met with Ian Lamsdale (Lamsie), the Managing Director, for mentoring and a session where we agreed my workload for the week. This generally consisted of elements which I was interested in and enjoyed, for example, helping Kym Frederick run her Eclectic Collection Show on a Wednesday evening and - my own special agenda – learning how to make videos of the live acts and interviews at the station, shooting, recording sound and editing. I also had some tasks “for the station” – team tasks to support the smooth running of the project. I was made a web-editor, responsible every Monday for uploading and publishing the new blogs for the day. I was also asked to help type up blogs written by Mark and Debs, who have a visual disability and write their blogs by hand. All this fosters the community of the group at the station, as we help each other.
It’s been a joy to join Kym every Wednesday. I haven’t learnt anything about how become a DJ, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself and feel privileged to be joining her whilst she runs such a fun show. I’ve learnt how her skills with people, kindness and fostering a good time, are so important and create a great result. I’ve taken part in the trivia quiz “Brown bread, or Alive, alive- O”, where Kym solicits the volunteers to guess whether celebrities have “popped their clogs”. I’ve also learnt how competitive I am – I can’t bear to lose.
I’m learning web editing. Every week I upload articles, press buttons, proof read and change typography. There’s a lot of user error (my own), but the articles get sorted and published. A weekly editors’ meeting enables the station editors to share good practice and to save disasters. After much moaning and groaning about the website, a few weeks ago, a crisis hit the station. The website had to be moved from one server to another, at a day’s notice. Lamsie and Adam, our resident web-master, rushed around town with computers, cables and codes, and managed to save the bacon. The website is now safe and even better, it has now been updated and there is a mechanism in place for reporting errors and making improvements. Although, all the changes for the better have not improved my editing skills as buttons aren’t where they used to be….
I worked at the University of South Wales for fourteen years, teaching film. During this time, I was so busy teaching that I didn’t get much chance to upgrade my skills and test them in action. The station has been brilliant for this, as I’ve been able to video Kym’s show, and more importantly, edit the material for upload to the station. Having a reasonable workflow where I know this process is robust, meaning that I can shoot and record usable picture and sound and edit it to completion, has given me back much needed confidence. I can now concentrate on making things interesting…. However, even more important is the lesson that I seem to have to keep on learning, which is that I’ve got to develop more patience and more confidence. Lauren, a new volunteer with an interest in broadcasting, and Gareth, a talented graphic and video artist and stalwart of the station, have been very helpful in getting me up and running and failing better.
After a few weeks at the station, Lamsie asked me to start looking at blogs and give volunteers feedback. He felt that people were working hard for the station and not receiving enough attention for their work. I’m pretty impressed with the material that people are writing, especially their fiction and their reviews. It’s great to see talent and enthusiasm for writing and I hope my suggestions have been helpful. I’ve also looked at several political blogs for the station and have found this absolutely fascinating. I’ve got a new respect for the editorial policy and practice of newspapers and broadcasters. The processes needed to ensure sound journalism and editorial policy rely on good will and tolerance, skill in handling ideas, and experience in writing and reporting. Lamsie and I tried to put in place a system whereby volunteers can now have support with news items and also have a right of appeal where they can argue their case about controversial items.
I’ve realised that Newport City Radio is not just a radio station, but also an online journal/blogsite. More importantly, it’s a community, a place where people who love music and radio come throughout the week, but particularly on a Thursday night, to meet each other, have a chat. I’d like to thank everyone for making it such a friendly place: Kim, Lamsie, Bradley, El, Gareth, Vicky, Lauren, Danni, Adam L Davies, Dan and Denise, Mark and Debs, Ean, Nathan, Shelli, Zamira. I look forward to seeing you all at the Tom Toya Lewis for some great craic.