Video didn't kill the radio star - we were all in a London Bar last night.

Back in my University days at Loughborough, I was involved in Student Radio and "Ents" (the society that staged music events). Both were enormous fun and taught you a huge amount about running a business as both were commercial ventures in their own right. Personally I'm far more willing to hire an graduate that did student radio that one that claimed membership of the "Entrepreneurs Society". Usually the latter group wanted membership on the CV and did visit to businesses, whereas the former group actually got involved in a business. Of course, there is some personal bias/allegiance here in similar fashion to any alumni relationship but I believe that this one has genuine merit.

Funnily enough, doing student radio often was often considered incredibly geeky albeit some of the beautiful people did it as prep for their TV careers (you'll know which camp I was in).

So it was a great delight to attend the Alumni of Student Radio Association ("ASRA") which met for a social gathering in London last night. I only stumbled on this group by accident whilst recently researching the story on online music royalties which are subject to some change right now in the USA as I recently wrote about.

It turns out it has 500 or so members and there were about 100 there last night drawn from many UK universities, with graduates of various ages present (ok, I was probably in the oldest 10%) . Many lived outside London, with some people having travelled down from Scotland, the Midlands, Norfolk and Somerset to attend.

As it happens I didn't know a single person. But I did know that they all had been involved in Student Radio.

I had an excellent evening and by the end of the evening I had met some absolutely fascinating people doing great things, most of whom operate in a sector I don't spend much time in, namely broadcast media. Some of the people I met included

- Sam Potts, who's at Warner Brothers Records (ex Edinburgh Radio) promoting artists
- Person who must remain nameless, who is working on Radio 2 and who most recently sprang to fame with the 31Days project, which was a journalistic insight in 21st century dating. Every day for 31 days between Jan 14 - Feb 14 she had to undertake a different means of finding a date. She even auctioned herself off on ebay and got a winning bid of £210 for her to be a dinner date!
- Ian Gardner, who is a Sky TV presenter
- Nick Prater who works at Radio Monitor
- Will Jackson who is one of the Radio Regulators at Offcom
- Ed Nell, who is ex Lufbra, and hosts the morning show on Beacon Radio in the Black Country (my old home radio station!). After spending the evening in London, he had to drive back to Wolverhampton ready for his show this morning at 9am. As someone that did a few shows with a hangover and deprived of sleep, it was easy to predict it would be a tough morning for him. Sure enough, he pinged me an email about 11am confirming as much.
- Matt Deegan, who is at Gcapmedia in their strategy group and who is spending much time on interactive projects
- Alistair Wilson (no relation) who is at the Dept of Constitutional Affairs but still does community radio
- The producer of the UK Chart Show
- John, the deputy programme Controller for Beacon Radio who was also ex Lufbra.

It turned out there were about 10 ex Lufbra Campus Radio ("LCR - blasting out loud and proud") in the room stretching back to the late eighties (Me!). We were able to swap stories about the times we'd each had in the studios and I learnt about the fabulous new studios that were recently built at a cost of £1m and which put many commercial stations to shame!

Great people, with interesting stories. But two things really stood out for me. Firstly, many of the attendees were in senior positions in broadcast media or related businesses as a direct consequence of their student activities. Secondly, these people understand about the battle their industry is in and are in the front line of remaining relevant to their audience.

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posted by John Wilson @ 4:53 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Riaz Kanani said...

great find - will join myself :)

for those who don't know, ASRA website is

..who rather randomly are using the same theme as me.


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