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A Farewell to Burn FM from your 2017-18 Head of Station

By | Published March 23, 2018

It’s strange to be concluding my time with Burn – being at the end of it all I’ve been looking back on my time as a part of this brilliant society.

When I joined Burn FM in September 2015 as a wide-eyed fresher, intrigued about the possibility of being on the radio, I had no idea how important Burn would become in my life. I joined the sports team, knowing from school that I wanted to do some student radio, as a way of getting on air and making some new friends along the way. My first commentary was with now-outgoing-Burn-treasurer Ben Giblin covering men’s 2s lacrosse – I loved it, and I was hooked from the start. Also hugely important in my first year of Burn in the sports team were Sam Bernard (now outgoing Burn Deputy Head of Station) and Jack Fantham (then Deputy Head of Sport, now outgoing Studio Manager), Jack Simpkin and Matt Bullin (then Head of Sport). The sports team was a welcoming place and it made Burn somewhere I wanted to be. It gave me the confidence to run for committee, and I am so grateful for everything in the sports team from my first year at Burn.

When I got my own breakfast show in January 2016 it was just one further thing about Burn that I couldn’t get enough of. Every minute on air was fantastic – from picking the playlist, to getting my friends on the show, to linking David Bowie, Kim Jong-Un and Sean Penn in a segment, it was a privilege to come in every morning for. Enormous thanks to Niall Flynn and Josh Hannen for giving me the chance to host my own show way-back-when. I was proud to host the Monday-morning Burn Breakfast from January 2016 until March 2017, thanks to anyone who tuned in or came on as a guest!

In January 2016 I wrote a radio play, ‘White Flag’, and it was another great chance to be involved with Burn in a way I hadn’t been already – with the production team. This was the first time a script I had written was actually performed outside of a school classroom setting, and seeing the characters come alive thanks to great performances was a strange but welcome feeling! Thanks also to the 2015-16 production team for all their hard work in making it happen!

Being Programme Controller for 2016-17 was a great experience. Leading the programming team, Sophia and Josh, in creating a diverse show schedule for the air was a big responsibility, but the outcome was a success. I was especially proud of the show ‘Burn Under the Radar’ which I devised to get minority groups from UoB on the air to further expand our listenership to these groups, as well as giving us the chance to work with them on their show. Thanks also to Katie Packer for being a great Head of Station last year!

In October 2016 I started co-hosting Into the Mix with Ben Giblin. Our show was an eclectic mix of North Korea facts, mashups, and tales of unbelievable trick shots – thoroughly unpredictable and yet we inexplicably still managed to find ourselves occasionally on the Mixcloud student radio charts. Each show just as fun as the last, I loved being a part of ITM until our finale in March 2017.

Being Head of Station for 2017-18 has been a tremendous privilege, but has also been difficult at times. From Katie I inherited a large chunk of the funding for a brand new studio, but we still had nearly £5k to source. Over the course of the last 12 months it has been a struggle to get this upgrade sorted, but now being on the cusp of its installation it feels entirely worth it. Taking out the old studio, finding relics of Burn FMers gone by, be it old photos from when Burn was on 105.2FM, instructions for committee at the 1999 freshers’ fair, or old VHS tapes full of old recorded shows from as far back as October 1996 it left the others working on the studio upgrade and I wondering what would be found of our time at Burn in twelve to fifteen years when the studio is upgraded next would be.

This year it’s also been great to work with other societies in a way we haven’t before. Most notably Redbrick, led by Editor-in-Chief Will Baxter, with whom we had the charity football match, the ‘Dungeons Derby’ back in June 2017, raising money for the Manchester bombing relief fund. We’ve also had joint socials with Redbrick as well as the Redbrick Radio show every Friday this year, and the Burn FM column in each edition of their paper! I was proud of the role I played in creating UoB’s first ever Media Ball. It was a huge success, and I want to take another opportunity to thank everyone who was involved in organising it with me.

This year I’ve hosted two shows The Burn Miscellany and Brexplicit Content, both have been great. The former being an idea I’d had for a show for a while where I would do something different each week, be it discuss the music of Bon Iver, recite poetry of the First World War, have people from one of my English modules on to talk about Paradise Lost, or, as was the case for my final ever Burn FM show, have a friend on to reminisce about our time in Burn and Redbrick respectively. Brexplicit Content with Jack, Sam and Ben was always a pleasure. From Farage’s £4 Feast, to Theresa’s Techno Banger of the Week, to Donald’s Top Trumps, to David Dimbleby’s Brexit Debate, it was all hugely enjoyable. Thanks to Jack, Sam and Ben for making it that way!

I want to thank this year’s committee. You’ve all been great. I set out this year wanting to do everything done in the past two years in one year and we did it, with the addition of a new studio too. None of that could be done without a devoted committee working hard to make sure Burn achieves its full potential. That’s Sam Bernard, Ben Giblin, Jack Fantham, Rhiannon Miller, Will Wright, Lily Hughes, Hannah Bradridge-Jackson, John Rogers, George Alderson, Catherine Pullinger, Ben Henley-Washford, Brittany Holder, Ben Watts, Emily Youlton, George Hodson, Elliot Keen, Luke Bosher, Daniel Martin, Luke Carr and Will Weightman. You were all brilliant, thanks for a great year.

I also want to wish the very best of luck to the incoming committee, especially the new ‘management’ team of Emily Youlton, John Rogers, Luke Bosher and Felix Parkin. You’re all going to be brilliant and I can’t wait to see how Burn develops over the next 12 months!

Concluding this year with an award at the 2018 Guild Awards was a brilliant way to end. In the time I’ve been at Burn FM I haven’t heard of the last time we were even shortlisted for an award, so when we were shortlisted for, and then won a high commendation for, the Ian King Award for Outstanding Society. It feels great to have the hard work everyone in Burn FM has done this year recognised publicly at a big event like the Guild Awards, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been a part of such a talented committee who had the potential and talent to receive this commendation.

The new studio. Ah, the new studio. There were an awful amount of times I didn’t think I would be able to get the new studio in time before my time as Burn FM Head of Station expired and it was a burden to pass on to the next Burn President, but it was achieved – with 3 days to spare! Broadcast Radio Ltd. have come in and installed it all brilliantlt! From all I’ve seen so far it’s looking great – the studio has received a much needed facelift, and it’s so exciting to see it all change for the first time in over a decade! I hope that future Burn FMers enjoy the studio, it was a lot of hard work and has been in the works since January 2017 but will be completely worth it! Thanks to Sam Bernard, Jack Fantham, Ben Giblin, Elliot Keen, Luke Bosher and Luke Carr for all your hard work this year in helping make this happen and Katie Packer and Tom Ballantyne from last year’s committee for sourcing the equipment and funding for this!

It will be with a sense of sadness that I leave though, Burn has been an enormous part of my life for three years now – but I am encouraged by such a strong committee coming in. Burn will continue to succeed long in to the future.

One last time I want to thank everyone who’s been involved with Burn FM in any way over the past three years, it has been a real pleasure.

If I could do it all again, I would.