It’s been a while since I last posted on our radio blog as we have been so busy presenting, broadcasting and recording over 15 hours of quality education radio so far this year.
At Westwood Radio we are always aiming to improve our shows in any way we can. So far this year we have taken on a hosted approach to our shows, which has worked beautifully, ensuring fluid and high quality broadcasts twice a week, every week. We have also introduced a competition feature called Name that Noise where listeners can text or email what they think is the noise we play. In the words of the children ‘to win some top merch!’
This week we are very excited as we have taken our shows to a new level with the facility to receive live calls during our shows, allowing us even greater interaction with our many listeners. Do listen out for your chance to call – all of our contact details an be found on radio.westwoodwithiford.org/contact
With over 1000 a listeners a month to our online station, Westwood Radio continues to grow at a pace. You can tune in 24 hours a day to our station by clicking HERE and every Monday at 8.30am and Friday at 2.30pm we are live to the World.
This week on Westwood Radio we welcomed our good friends from Berkley School in Somerset who joined us for a joint radio show, broadcasting live to the world in our usual Friday slot.
Accompanied by their teacher Mr Banton and Mr Oliver, Thomas, Orla, Maisie and Rudy had written their own fantastic scripts which fitted perfectly into a jointly prepared running order and with a very brief session beforehand and a quick practice we went live on air at 2.30!
All of our broadcasters loved the opportunity to work together and it was a joy to see how, in such a short space of time, the power of education radio had brought together children from different schools, presenting with confidence, enthusiasm and excitement. Orla, Maisie, Rudy and Thomas were absolutely superb, stepping into an unknown environment and presenting with incredible skill. They were also interviewed live on air by our Westwood Radio broadcasters to find out more or what life is like at Berkley school.
Once again, the adults were able to step back and enjoy the children at work, controlling the desk, the microphones and ensuring that the show was fluent, packed with quality content and just so much fun. An enormous well done to the children of Berkley school who were amazing and all natural broadcasters – reading 34 emails in one go is not easy! – and you would all be welcome back any time.
What was also apparent was how powerful and collaborative radio is for young people in bringing them together, developing literacy skills, confidence and resilience. I hope that we can do this again soon. In the meantime, here are a few photos of the show and please listen again to the fabulous children at work:
What a day for our young Westwood Radio broadcasters and for all of us at Westwood with Iford School! We had been invited by the head of station sound to join him in the studio to record some very special voice overs for the festive period that is almost upon us. i can’t say too much at this time but will let you know more as soon as I am able! As you can see, we were all SO excited about visiting a real radio station that broadcasts to 80,000 people a day!
On arrival we were straight into one of the actual radio studios used by the presenters and immediately behind the microphones for everyone to have a go at recording some lines that Nj, the sound engineer, had prepared for us. Without any nerves and with complete professionalism, the children were an immense credit to our school, spending well over an hour recording voice overs for BBC Wiltshire and all with complete and perfect radio etiquette.
With a quick bit of lunch it was then on to a tour of the station and what a wonderful surprise we had. Graham Seaman was live on air with his lunchtime show and invited us to join him live in the studio for a chat. Yes, live to 80,000 people! As I knew and expected, the children conducted themselves as brilliantly and confidently as they do in our studio at school and were so at ease behind the microphone I was immensely proud of all of them. Talia even got to cue up the next song after our interview before we said our huge thanks and goodbyes to Graham and continued with the tour. You can listen again to our radio apperarance at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05l5g56 from 29:01.
With so many excellent questions from the children and a wealth of knowledge shared by Nj, the time raced by and before we knew it, we were back on the bus and listening to the remainder of Graham’s show on our way home.
This was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities for us all and is such a positive reminder of the doors that education radio broadcasting can open to our children. this was certainly yet another day to be proud of everyone and I thank them for the most wonderful day. I hope you remember it for many years to come.
Here are some photos of our day.
We also recorded a very special podcast of our experience too!
Today was a first for Westwood Radio as we broadcast our live weekly show in our pyjamas! Raising money for the wonderful cause that is Children in Need, everyone took part in the spirit of the day and it brought some wonderful light hearted banter and good humour to the studio, with our broadcasters all showing tremendous confidence and professionalism behind the microphone once again.
This term we have adopted a hosted approach to our broadcasts and Dan and Dougie, who led our show today for the first time, did an outstanding job. You may have noticed that we also have some new jingles, sounders and sweepers as we develop our radio station even further and enjoy our broadcasting week on week.
With prompts around the studio for even more variety in our intros and outros and the ability to keep our songs into our podcasts for downloadable enjoyment, our radio station continues to go from strength to strength. Here’s a sneak peek inside our studio prior to today’s show and you can listen or download it from the player below:
We always look forward to Fridays as it is our opportunity to broadcast live to the community and the world once again. During the week our children are constantly refining their scripts and skills in preparation to present the best show possible and this week they excelled themselves once again.
After our inspirational and informative training day with Russell last week, we changed the format of our show slightly to incorporate two central hosts who took control of the tech and guided the show beautifully. This will be a role that we rotate throughout the year and it proved to be incredibly successful. Our children were so confident and everyone in the studio was very relaxed, resulting in lovely discussion and cross-desk exchanges between our presenters.
As always, there was the usual mix of top quality school and community news along with a fabulous interview with Jules Howard, top zoologist and BBC presenter who joined us on Wednesday to give us an incredible day’s learning about fossils. With some excellent song choices from the children and audience participation through email and text, it made for a fantastic show which almost topped 30 minutes, even after editing and song removal. Well done everyone, it was a pleasure to be in the studio watching.
We even had a retweet from Richard Allinson, famous Magic FM radio DJ on Twitter last night!
Here is the show in full for you to listen again:
What a wonderful day we have all had today. We were delighted and thrilled to be joined by the inspirational Russell Prue who, almost a year ago, installed our radio station and set us on this incredible and skill building journey.
With our new group of committed and enthusiastic broadcasters now established for the year, Russell spent the day working with them all, honing their skills and developing their professional broadcasting technique. All of our children came prepared with a script, which enabled us to maximise the time we had with Russell to progress our skills, confidence and resilience even further. I was so proud of the children as they listened so wonderfully well and were all so keen to learn as much as possible and I do feel that every single member of our broadcasting team thoroughly enjoyed themselves and has really progressed through what they have learnt today.
From a personal point of view, it is always good to continue one’s own learning journey and I feel energised this evening, having gained even more knowledge about the wonderful world of education radio, the strategies with which to approach it successfully and, most importantly, the benefits it has for our children.
Having spent some considerable and productive time shaping the show, we were then all ready to go live once again in our usual slot of 2.30pm. Our listeners have been growing week on week and today was no exception with almost 40 listeners tuning in live. With the delight of having Russell join us in the studio for the entire show, we were treated to a broadcasting masterclass as he took over the weekend weather for us, engaging both listeners and presenters with his humour and wit.
Our huge thanks to Russell for his hard work, enthusiasm and skill in delivering a first class training day and for his wonderful contribution to our show. Here are some photos of our day and also a recording of today’s show, in case you weren’t able to tune in.
What a day we had today with our first outside broadcast live from the West of England ICT Conference in Bristol! Our talented young broadcasters had all been invited by the conference organisers to collaborate with Russell Prue, of Anderton Tiger Radio for a joint radio show focusing on online safety. This was to provide a seminar for conference delegates to attend and see how radio can be used as a broadcasting medium and how confidently our children are at hosting and running their own radio show packed with quality content and important online safety messages.
The children were also lucky to be the first broadcasters to ever use Russell’s brand new product, the HUB Reporter, a portable and incredibly powerful radio station in a box! With time during the morning to hone their skills and get used to working the faders, fine tuning their handovers and time checks, by 1.30 everyone was more than ready to open the mic and go live.
As always, the children had scripted their own material and hosted superbly for a full 70 minute show which included a live interview with one of the delegates and was packed with content, all raising awareness of the importance of online safety.
We are all incredibly proud of our entire team for their brilliance behind the microphone and for fielding questions from the delegates so politely and eloquently. Our thanks to Russell for giving the children a wonderful opportunity to broaden their experiences and grow even further in confidence. It was certainly a day for us all to remember and if you missed it live, you can listen again here and see how much we all enjoyed ourselves from the photos on the day!
This week, as always, I was in the very privileged position of being able to stand quietly in the corner of our radio studio with just a pair of headphones on and listen as our talented broadcasters presented a full 40 minute show completely on their own. What has really struck me recently has been the level of confidence, professionalism and ability that all of our broadcasters are showing, particularly when the microphone opens and they are live to the world.
This has been echoed by a professional in his field this week, as Ben Prater from BBC Wiltshire, who you will know joined us last week, was interviewed about his visit to us and features in a wonderful Wiltshire Times article about our radio station, stating “To be honest, they seemed less nervous than I am when I open the microphone every morning on BBC Wiltshire”
Praise indeed from a fantastic broadcaster and testament to the children’s hard work that they put in each and every week to making each show unique and entertaining.
You can read the full article online here: http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/inyourtown/bradfordnews/15294935.Going_live__Westwood_primary_rules_the_airwaves/
Here also is our very latest broadcast from yesterday, which is just brilliant.
Today’s show was incredibly exciting for us all as we were very lucky to be joined in the studio by Ben Prater, BBC Wiltshire’s Breakfast Show presenter.
Ben took time out of his very busy schedule to visit our school and take part in the entire live show, giving us all a masterclass in microphone technique and joining in the fun and excitement of being on air to the community and the world. Ben also kindly agreed to be interviewed by Josh and Dan live on air and even presented the weekend weather for us, which the children loved watching and listening to and learnt a lot from.
Our huge thanks to Ben for making our afternoon so special – it was a wonderful experience for us all and so good to see how it’s done by the professionals. I know that some of our amazing children will be aspiring to presenting and broadcasting as they get older. Well done everyone, you were a credit to our school and so professional. Another superb show.
Here are some photos of our afternoon with Ben
Here is the show in full for you to listen again, plus Ben’s interview and his weather report live on Westwood Radio.
It’s been a very exciting week for us here at Westwood Radio. On Friday we marked a significant date in our calendar with our 25th anniversary show. That’s 25 live shows this year, of course!
The wonderful thing about our radio station is that it is entirely run and organised by the children. Our equipment and the training the children received allows this to happen. Back in October we were lucky enough to be in a position to bring in the fantastic Russell Prue of Anderton Tiger Radio to work with us. Russell is a world renowned expert and trailblazer in his field, working with young people from around the globe to develop high quality broadcasting skills, resilience and confidence through the medium of school radio.
Russell tailored a bespoke, high spec and incredibly easy to use radio station using touch screen technology, professional jingle software and everything we needed to switch on, broadcast and record with ease. Thanks to his vast knowledge of school radio and top class training the children were quickly on their way to becoming independent broadcasters and it is these skills that they have been developing over the past 6 months and 25 shows. We are very grateful to Russell for his continuing support and huge expertise in helping us to get better and better.
From the very first planning meeting each week on a Monday, where the children discuss the features that we will cover in their show, who will be on jingles, microphones and email to the music that they choose for listeners to vote on, everything is meticulously planned and scripted by the children. This has given them tremendous ownership and confidence and watching them work is a joy. They really do deserve the success and recognition that they are gaining for their professionalism and top quality broadcasting and with 1000 listeners a month tuning in to our 24 hour online station, not to mention the hundreds listening again on https://soundcloud.com/westwoodradio, Westwood Radio is going from strength to strength.
So if you haven’t yet had the chance to listen, here is our 25th show and we are looking forward to many more this year, beginning with a special show with the brilliant Ben Prater of BBC Wiltshire’s Breakfast Show next Friday, live online at 1.30pm. Ben has very kindly given up some of his time to join us in the studio to present the show and we just cannot wait! We are all immensely excited at having a BBC radio presenter join us and will be planning a super show to mark the occasion. You can listen by clicking the link on our website, westwoodwithiford.org, or by using the direct stream link http://stream.radio.co/sb4e04fd70/listen You can text or email the show, so please do interact with us, the children love connecting with their audience.