Category Archives: Radio

Student Radio Awards – Judges feedback on my entries

Last year I entered the Student Radio Association Student Radio Awards, for Best Male, Interview and live outside event. I thought I’d blog the feedback I got from the judges. Some interesting points and things to work on for 2013!

  • Good radio presentation style. Natural flow to links and conversation. Rich tone to the voice – sounds older and more authoritative than lots of student radio entries.  Nice rapport with other members of the team but would benefit with more listener interaction.
  • Great voice, great technically. You’ve got a lovely tone and nice style and manner. You sound relaxed and unpretentious but friendly and upbeat without being cheesy. The sound quality of the demo is excellent too. The entry has all the nuts and bolts – teasing ahead, good with music, all that stuff. But, it perhaps took a while to really get much personality – a lot of the links are relatively standard and nice and good, but not exceptional or stand-out. It didn’t grab my attention and hook me in. The latter part of the demo is actually probably the better half – the cup across studio, oatcakes, the lecturer and so on. There was a lot of telling people to text and get in touch, not sure I heard a single text read out. Once mention of you doing this is enough if you’re going to include it. Your written entry is really nice – you’ve got the balance just right in explaining some detail of what you’ve done, why you love it and how you go about it. Overall it’s great, but you’re competing in a field where the winner’s going to have some really stand-out moments in their demo – you’ve nailed the basics, now focus on content, anecdotes and so on to bring it to life.
  • This entry sounds slick, well produced, the presenter has a good voice and style and it seemed to have been packed with interesting content. Well done on all of those fronts.
  • Presenter has a nice voice and tone.
  • Peter has a great broadcasting voice and this is a great example of a local radio news interview. Peter’s journalistic skills are evident as he asked pertinent and engaging questions to the local butcher. … overall, professional and informative news and human interest story.
  • Very resourceful, went the extra mile to secure the interview which was impressive.
  • Very clear interviewing style, with the broadcaster staying firmly in control. Asked very insightful questions – very professional interview. Drew out an interesting debate from the interviewee, allowed his time to talk – with a solid conclusion.
  • An engaging listen with two very distinct voices -[the interviewee is] an absolute catch, so well done for getting him on.
  • … Peter was confident, in cotrol[sic.] and asked the right questions.

Do You Prep Your Radio Shows?

Coming from student radio, I have heard too many people respond to the question of prep’ing their shows with, “Nah, I like to be spontaneous.” Fab.


Seriously, their thought seems to be, “I’ll just turn up and wing it for 2 -3 hours, and it will be great! I will love it. The listener will really love it!” Except, I’ll let you in to a secret: you won’t, and they won’t either. If you think being spontaneous is about just saying what comes in to your head, then your listeners will do the first things that comes in to their head and turn you off.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

This was the mantra taught when I did my teacher training. It’s a truism you can take with you everywhere in life. You need to plan. You need to prepare.

A well run station will have a play-out log scheduled well in advance of your show. Not even the play-out computer is just playing the first things it thinks off! If you want to make great radio, you need to put the time in to planning and preparation.

Now what does this really mean? Plan an hour for every hour your on air? Get a file of material? Well, there are as many ways that people plan as there are people; we’re all different. In one of his blogs, radio giant (quite literally  – have you seen the size of the man!) John Myers says:

“There is no myth about all this. What ‘prep’ is about is simply working through what is required to ensure your show can be the best it can be. What do you need to do, what do you need to prepare ahead of time or put in place so you can deliver the features, content and information to make it a winner.”

Real spontaneity comes out of your preparation. And good preparation is like money in the bank. You can go off on a tangent and if it works, go out with a bang by hitting it with a prep’ed ‘get out’, ending or audio item. However, if it doesn’t work or flops, you can still go out with a bang by hitting it with a prep’ed ‘get out’, ending or audio item!

Boom! Either way, good prep helps you make it a winner.

In my next blog, I’ll give you some tools and recommendations to get your prep started.

Introducing Peter Nicholls, local radio broadcaster?

It’s been sometime since I wrote a personal entry that was about me and not some cause or issue, but it’s about time isn’t it?

May 30th – June 23rd was our yearly community radio FM RSL projected at Staffordshire University, called Cre8 Radio. This was the longest FM RSL run we have done since Cre8 launched in 2009 and we had a fantastic time. I hosted a 2 hour afternoon show most days, including weekends, and during the week I had a fellow co-host in the form of Liam Maxwell.

On the back of this, I’ve finally plucked up the courage, pushed by my lecturer and former BBC Stoke producer Anne Duffell, to get a demo in to Radio Stoke. Having nearly 50 hours of live radio audio to choose the best from also helped!

So here it is, my radio broadcast demo for BBC local radio. Fingers crossed!

Student Radio Star 2012

The Hits radio in association with the Student Radio Association ran a competition ‘for the best student radio talent to appear on The Hits radio.’ The 1st prize is 4 shows and voice coaching, the runners up got one show and coaching.

I wasn’t sure if I should enter. But at the last minute last Monday I though, blow it, and quickly put together 5 mins of clips and 1 ‘best link’, and uploaded them to the site. And then I wondered if it was any good. Self doubt and wondering if I am any good, in fact I felt generally low afterwards for a few days.

However, 5 minutes ago I opened my email, only to discover an email from the competition containing the following paragraph:

Your entry has made it to the final shortlist of entries and is now with our expert panel of judges who will be select the final winner and two runners up.

I suppose you could say I am quite shocked and delighted to get to the final shortlist! Whatever happens, getting this far is an achievement. The overall winner, and the runners up, will be announced at the Student Radio Conference on the 3rd April in Bradford. I can’t be there, but I am sure I will know soon enough I am on that final list or not. Here’s hoping.

Interview with Tristram Hunt MP Stoke Central

Tristram HuntLast summer I interviewed Tristram Hunt, the MP for Stoke Central, on Cre8 Radio. We talked about him settling in to his role as MP for the area, what really attracted him to Stoke, and where he feels he can make a difference.

Tristram Hunt MP Interview by PJNicholls-Interviews

Cre8 Radio is currently a yearly part time RSL community radio station for Stoke-on-Trent, and North Staffordshire, with an emphasis on creativity within the local community.