University students join BBC broadcasting team for Radio 1’s Big Weekend

Mon 03 June, 2024
Article Header Image

Students from the University of Bedfordshire have been selected to work with the BBC on their broadcast coverage of the 2024 Radio 1 Big Weekend Luton and the iconic Luton Carnival.

Madison Smith, Amia Clarke, and Ana Gaiao were all chosen from dozens of entries across Luton and will work alongside the team at BBC Three Counties Radio to produce content across the three-day music festival held between 24 – 26 May.

Amia Clarke shares her experience in this blog, of the audition process to heading to Radio 1 Big Weekend in Luton.

I never once expected the BBC to walk through our university doors. Everything from that moment onwards has been utterly surreal. 

To this day, it still hasn’t fully registered!

The audition process was fairly easy but I was in a room full of various skill sets and talent, so I anticipated that my chances were slim.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over the moment I saw Tara Dolby from the BBC Three Counties Radio to congratulate me and two other students on our success.

Reporting at Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Luton Carnival felt like an out of body experience. Firstly, I never expected such a big event to be right on our doorstep, and the fact that I could be a part of it and meet so much local talent was amazing. 

I can certainly say that this experience has changed me in so many positive ways. Undoubtedly, my confidence in my craft has grown ever since the BBC nurtured my skills and allowed me to exercise my passion for journalism. I’m looking forward to nurturing the skills I already have, but I’m also looking forward to cultivating new skills. 

I feel more integrated within our community; I moved to Luton two years ago but didn’t yet feel that sense of belonging or comfort. Now I’ve spoken to so many people of the town during this process that Luton is really starting to feel like home. 

I am eternally grateful to BBC Three Counties for choosing a brilliant group of budding journalists who I’ve formed a beautiful bond with. Each of them are so unique yet altogether so talented; I thank God that we were the chosen four because prior to this experience, I didn’t have many friends locally. Not only do we gel well together professionally, but I can truly say that we’ll be friends long after this project is complete. 

Our university has opened a monumental door for me, which I am so grateful for. This is an amazing stepping stone that enabled me and three other students, who are members of a key educational institution within the area, to connect with the community around us. Seeing as networking is key in this career field, I am glad to have made new connections with inspirational people within this industry. 

It’s definitely cliche but I have to say that if you believe in yourself even slightly, you can do wonders. I didn’t have much confidence in my own ability, but knowing that this university and the BBC have seen some talent in me has helped massively. Going forward, I hope to continue to influence the world around me and become the best journalist I can be. 

Amia Clarke

First Year Journalism Student

Hello to whoever is reading this! My name is Amia Clarke and I’m currently in my first year of studying Journalism. As you can probably guess, I enjoy writing and reading. But I’m not that boring; I took up rollerskating during Lockdown and now that I’m semi-decent at it, I do enjoy that in my spare time. I’m aiming to become an Investigative Journalist in the future, so look out for me all over your screens :)