Sixth Formers take over the airwaves

Thu 01 July, 2021
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Aspiring podcasters and DJs from Luton Sixth Form College have relocated to the Radio LaB studios at the University of Bedfordshire, as part of an annual project to host their award-winning Takeover Show.

Students on the College’s BTEC Sound Design & Podcasting course have taken the reigns of the University's community radio station this week, broadcasting live programmes between 9am and 3pm each day.

Radio LaBEvery year, the University and Radio LaB teams up with Luton Sixth Form College to offer pupils the chance to air their audio content to a real life radio audience. In 2019, the Takeover Show and Radio LaB won an award for ‘Best Outreach Project’ in the I Love Student Radio Awards.

After having to postpone the Takeover Show last year due to restrictions of the pandemic, Terry Lee – Senior Tutor in Radio & Audio with the School of Culture & Communications – is delighted to welcome the project and its pupils back into the studios.

He said: “Luton Sixth Form College’s Takeover Show is one of Radio LaB’s highlights of the year – it’s something we always look forward to hosting. The students always prepare interesting programming and give listeners an insightful view into the lives of local 16 and 17 year olds. In return, the teenagers get to experience the University’s industry-standard radio studios and have their audio broadcast across Luton online and on 97.1FM.”

Andy Waterfield, Luton Sixth Form College media teacher, is pleased to have made this happen this year. He said: "After a year of blended learning and lockdowns, it's great to give students a College student on Radio LaBreally practical hands-on experience, and they've done so well with some excellent local radio shows. The College has an excellent industry standard radio studio but getting into a real live broadcast environment at the University of Bedfordshire makes a substantial difference."

Throughout the week, the BTEC students will be producing and presenting their own shows, from music based segments to features and discussions, enabling them to develop significant experience in the world of live broadcasting. Both Radio LaB and the college will be following strict rules and guidance to ensure the week is Covid-safe, including regularly switching between the studios, consistent cleaning of studio equipment, and strict limitations on the number of people in the studios at any one time.

College pupil, John McDonagh, said: “The University is an inspiring place. I have enjoyed walking through the corridors, past the new STEM building and through to the Radio LaB studios. They make our college studios – which are still good – feel like the cleaners’ cupboard in comparison! Making radio has been fantastic fun already this week, and I’m surprisingly relaxed about it. Sometimes I have forgotten we have had the microphone faders up!”

Classmate, Zoe Sanders, added: “I have loved presenting a radio programme with my friends. It means the conversations are more relaxed, like having a chat over a coffee. The Takeover Show is a great experience – it’s a bit like being on a stage, blinded by the lights so you can’t see your audience. I’m loving it!”

College student on the air“The whole takeover has been really confidence building,” said Felix Nornan, another pupil involved in the Takeover Show. “We have planned our programmes by including ideas from the whole team, and trying to think about what young people would want to listen to. The studio equipment is so professional too.”

The Takeover Show will be available to play back via the Radio LaB ‘Listen Again’ function.

Dr Carlota Larrea, Head of School of Culture & Communications, added: “I am delighted about this event taking place – it’s great to finally have these pupils on campus after the previous lockdown restrictions, and this Takeover Show will enhance their creative, technical and communication skills.

“The University of Bedfordshire has always enjoyed working closely with Luton Sixth Form College, helping to enthuse their students about our degrees and careers in the creative industries. Recently there has been a boom in audio, sound and radio production and we love to see secondary school and college students with a passion for this area.”

For more information about studying with the School of Culture & Communications and for information about opportunities with Radio LaB, including show hosting and student station manager roles, visit: www.beds.ac.uk/howtoapply/departments/culture-and-communications

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