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Radio Comes to Coventry

Coventry University media students get unique opportunities as part of the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend Festival

Media and performing arts students at Coventry University got an up-close look at how one of the biggest radio programs in Britain is produced when “Radio 1 Breakfast with Greg James” came to campus for the 2022 Big Weekend Festival.

The festival, which is organized by BBC Radio and rotates among British cities, arrived in Coventry, England on May 27, 2022 for three days of performances from the city’s War Memorial Park. It was a return to in-person performances after two years of virtual shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coventry University media sttudent Ellianna Boughton inside the Radio 1 mobile studio
Coventry University media production student Ellianna Boughton inside the Radio 1 mobile studio

To prepare for the festival, BBC Radio 1’s morning program began broadcasting from Coventry University’s University Square. The location provided a unique opportunity for students to learn about the production of the U.K.’s most popular radio shows. Students were able to tour the Radio 1 mobile studio and work with some of the equipment. They also met with technical staff and the breakfast production team for a Q&A session.

Members of the Radio 1 team also dropped by the student-run Phoenix Radio station to record an interview with student presenters Jude Avery, Kristof Kiss and Madison Griffiths.

“Going to see Radio 1 was amazing. I’ve listened to Radio 1 for the past three or four years and seeing it in person was pretty cool,” stated Avery. “My biggest takeaway was seeing how they plan shows and script things on the system itself.”

“Radio is a growing area, which may seem odd for someone in their 40s who has always grown up with it to say, but through podcasts and YouTube, more and more young people are coming to it and developing an interest in creating content for it,” stated Assistant Professor Dan Hopkins, Media Production course director at Coventry University.

[Read more global radio news here.]

As part of the Big Weekend, a variety of learning opportunities for young media professionals were held in Coventry, including a series of networking and training events. Radio 1 presenter Danni Diston facilitated a day-long masterclass in Coventry to help young professionals with a passion for radio and content creation learn how to improve their productions, pitch producers and build a strong résumé.

In addition, The Radio Academy held a training day in Coventry with sessions on program production, podcasting, music radio, news and speech, features, imaging, technology and a “demo clinic” for aspiring presenters.

“I’m delighted that we’ve got a major event like this taking place in Coventry which puts radio and the power of broadcasting at the forefront of people’s minds,” said Dr. Annabelle Waller, head of the School of Media and Performing Arts at Coventry University. “Our students were given an exceptional opportunity to see people working in a variety of high-profile industry roles in their chosen area of study. I’ve no doubt it will inspire them to achieve even greater things in their courses here and in their future careers in the UK’s vibrant creative industries.”