Little did we know on the steering group for Radio Festival back in March, quite what a disruptive year 2016 was going to be around the world, when we decided on the theme for this years festival.
With thanks to our headline sponsors PRS for Music and PPL, who supported us once more Radio Festival proved hugely popular again. We shone a light on the disruptive worlds of Podcasting, Facebook & You Tube amongst many others and posed the question, can you still be creative on the radio? We paid tribute to Sir Terry Wogan including the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, welcomed the new Secretary of State and our new intake of Reelworld Radio Academy 30 under 30. Entertainment came from Dead Ringers, Fran Healy and Deacon Blue.
Our sincere thanks to Jonathan Arendt & Helen Thomas, Festival Chair and Director respectively who did an amazing job, along with the rest of the steering group and all of the producers, contributors, presenters and volunteers who made it so special.
“Looking at the way other media view radio and the way they view us was of particular interest to me. ‘Facebook – Friend or Foe’ and ‘You Tube – Partner or Predator’ were very informative. – I need to embrace these forms of media more now that I understand how they target their audiences. I also found ‘300,000 – And Counting’ very interesting. Podcasts isn’t something I’ve considered before"
The 30 under 30 had another bumper year of extraordinarily talented entries this year and with the wonderful support of Reelworld Europe we gave it some extra profile. We had the launch event at Under the Bridge which was mainly a good old social event, an opportunity to network and hear from last years 30. Thanks to James Barr and Clara Amfo who were fantastic hosts and we had some awesome new talent entertaining us in Kat Eaton and Gavin James.
The last of our events this year was the inaugural Audio & Radio Industry Awards [ARIAS] and these surpassed all of our expectations. Launching something brand new, at a new venue, in a new city with a whole new model and process was always going to be fraught with risk:
All of the above and more gave me many a sleepless night in the build up, however we had more than 3 times the entries than expected, at just under 1,800 attending on the night it was the highest attendance ever for a radio industry awards and the overwhelming feedback on the style, production values, pace, location/venue etc was all overwhelmingly positive.
We are consulting widely at the moment on how we build upon this success and make the ARIAS the annual night in the calendar where our industry can come together to celebrate and recognise the wealth of talented people that create fantastic audio moments for listeners to enjoy and appreciate throughout the United Kingdom and beyond.
In addition to this fantastic portfolio of events and initiatives, we launched a new membership scheme in the Spring with 3 levels of individual membership Primary, Premium & Platinum the latter two with additional fantastic lifestyle benefits from perkbox. Membership is from just £3 a month and saves you a small fortune on tickets to our events, huge discounts on our training and awards entries and offers exclusive access to our networking events and 30 under 30 competition plus so much more.
Our rejuvenated Regional Branches have staged over 40 fantastic events throughout the country this year and we’ve established a brand new branch [taking us to 13] in the South West. Check out your local branch and get involved. 2017 is set to get off to a great start as well in January, with our North East branch staging an Evening with Helen Boaden - A Life in Radio on the 16th January.
It seems a long time ago now, but last January & February we partnered with PA Training to put on 2 x heavily subsidised Broadcast Journalism Training Courses - Introductory and Advanced. We also offered members 2 x 50% Bursaries for the Executive MBA for the Creative Industries at Ashridge Business School.
All of this activity has only been possible with the generous help and support, both financially and logistically of our commercial partners. I’ve already mentioned PRS for Music, PPL and Reelworld Europe and in addition we’ve attracted new partners including audioBoom, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds BID and SMG Europe. Thanks to each and everyone of you, we are extremely grateful.
A pretty packed year then by any stretch and one that has re-established The Radio Academy back at the heart of the UK Audio & Radio Industry. We have more exciting plans for next year and beyond, that will provide those of you interested in progressing your careers with even more opportunities to meet who you need to know and to learn what you need to know for that all important first or next step in your career.
Finally for now, I’m delighted to announce that Louise Davies is joining the team as Business Manager in January, to help us improve our services and communications with our Members and stakeholders. Louise has an enviable track record in Business Administration and Marketing Support whilst at Derby County Football Club, GCap Media and latterly Global Radio in Nottingham. I’m sure you’ll all give her a lovely warm welcome.
For now then, have a wonderful festive period and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.