It’s burn a while!


It has been a while hasn’t it? I’ve graduated from Channel 4, returned to University, proceeded with my court case (still waiting for a date but have received the ‘defence’) and got a radio station back up and running.

This Freshers’ Week was the first time Burnfm broadcasted outside into Mermaid Square. We weren’t allowed to broadcast into the Societies Fair but we did get to have a small speaker in the corner of the Sq. Although small we did get some lovely comments from the people in the square and got to have fun running around trying to find guests. It also gave us the chance to open up Burn’s doors to our fellow societies and sabbatical officers (who did an awesome job throughout the week, particularly Emma Packham the VP Student Activities and Development, Fabian Neuner, Guild President and…. heck all of them! Katie Ford, VP of Sport was brilliant to interview on air – she’s a natural.)

After a successful Burn introduction meeting (which featured legal training from wonderful University lawyer James Piggot) we managed to get down to training. This year, rather than train people in large groups (and a very small studio) we devised a training rota, training smaller groups (ranging from around 1-5 people – last year it was around 20 at a time.) We decided that DJs had to have both legal and studio training before going on air – so even past DJ’s had a refresher and more in depth legal training than ever before. I’m also planning on sending out a feedback form shortly so we can develop this further.

On Monday we went on FM for the first time since Spring 2007 (before I was even a student.)

On Wednesday members of Midlands student radio stations joined Burn at the Guild for some informative Q&A’s from the West Midlands branches of  Galaxy FM and Heart. They gave loads of advice about being on and off air – and I’m hoping to get some more experience soon. Deputy Programme Controller of Heart West Midlands, John Collins also popped into the Burnfm studio with weekend breakfast presenter Matt Jarvis to give Burn DJ Rob Watts the shock of his life! Rob, being the trooper that he is successfully managed to involve Matt and John in the conversation (about 500 Days of Summer.)

In the evening we headed over to TC’s, an undervalued Selly Oak establishment to hear the nominees for this year’s Student Radio Awards. We hadn’t entered a great amount and weren’t nominated however you still have to consider that we’ve still not been long on air. Perhaps surprisingly for me I’m not at all bothered! In fact, I had a ruddy brilliant time! The ‘Social Sams’ (Sam Cowley and Sam Willet, Burn’s Head and Deputy Head of Social) organised the evening party and looked after me rather well. Willet infact described me as being ‘amazingly happy.’

It’s pretty obvious, but I’ll say it anyway, Burn wouldn’t be Burn without the committee. There have been times when people have been telling me to give it all up and maybe I would if it were not for them. Next year, once a new committee has taken our place I hope we have ex committee socials!

Our current ‘big challenge’ is to get Burnfm played in venues around the guild such as Joe’s Bar and Spar. Now we’re on FM, Spar may be possible (but I want to finish the week so I can make sure that everyone is ready.) A motion was passed in Guild Council to make sure that Joes Bar play Guild TV on its TVs and to make sure that Burn is also played. We don’t mind if this is not full time – (the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ comes to mind) however if Guild Council has decreed this, surely it should happen? Students have said it’s okay, many Guild staff have also said they think it should happen – it’s the Venues team that haven’t agreed to anything.

If the Guild is for Students then why is it being run (in some places) entirely as a business? Students were lead to believe that an event featuring Calvin Harris would feature a live performance from the pop star (and they paid £10 for the privilege.) Instead Mr Harris arrived at approximately 2am and played a DJ set (his third event of the evening.)

I saw a fantastic DJ set at the Guild in my first year – it was the fabulously talented Zane Lowe and was part of the Guild Awards afterparty. (I paid £6 for both Guild Awards and aforementioned party,) so surely when one pays £10 to see someone, they expect them to do more than just plug a couple of laptops in? Why would you want to see a DJ play their own voice loops? (The word ‘tragic’ comes to mind.)

I also have a serious issue with Guild Venues as they dislike direct contact with me. I decided to pay them a visit to ask if a full building event would be occurring on Tuesday as the original act had been cancelled and I’d just heard that Simon Bird of The Inbetweeners would be doing a show. The reason Burn needs to know about events in the Guild (and I would say more than most other societies do) is because sometimes these events mean that DJs are not allowed to enter the building to do their show. Now these DJ’s pay for the privilege of broadcasting. It’s also hard for them to build up any kind of following when the schedule is disrupted. Some events mean that we can’t broadcast from the studio, and others still let us – this is what we need to know. Looking at a poster does not tell us this. The same with if a full building event is cancelled. I need to know so I can reinstate the DJs for the evening.

Right, rants over! It’s Peep Show time!

Frank x


Redbrick editor Nick Petrie has helped give the Redbrick Online website a complete (and seemingly Guardian online inspired overhaul) – it’s looking rather fantastic so be sure to check it out.

One thought on “It’s burn a while!

  1. I have had similar problems with the implementation of guild council policy on ethical issues. Have a read…

    Venues were a major area where guild council motions were not having any effect. I’m confident that at least by after this council this will no longer be the case for ethical and environmental issues.

    If I was you I would keep on bugging Venues and the VDPR (tom guise) until it gets done and if it’s not done by the 29th ask why it’s not done at guild council.

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