Maria Hall

Radio goNORTH Archive 2012 Producers' Highlights Maria Hall

I’ve attended many courses in my life, but without a doubt the intensive two week Radio Production Course with goNorth Festival was the most challenging but also the most enjoyable ever.

So what was challenging? The ‘intensive’ part I think was too much and the course would definitely benefit from being extended to at least four or ideally six weeks. There was a real danger of brain-melt!

As a ‘mature’ student I always find computer technology difficult so I felt a great sense of achievement from managing to finally master… well maybe not master, but at least cope with editing programmes (with loads of help from the tutors, Al and Sean). It however meant two nights of editing to 4am, then up again at 7:30am to travel in to Inverness.

Now what made it so enjoyable? The whole Dabster team are incredibly dynamic, charismatic, tutors making learning so much fun, you forget you’re on a course! I kept feeling I was in the set of ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’ (youngsters, just google it) but with Ricky Gervais at the helm.

The live broadcasts from a marquee in BBC Scotland’s garden were amazing! I loved the whole buzzy atmosphere, like our own little Glastonbury Tent, with the ever constant cameras filming bands, well known guest radio presenters, all kinds of festival delegates, BBC Scotland bigwigs, runners, trainees and Dabsters zooming around. You felt the adrenalin and excitement the moment you arrived in the overcrowded car park! It soon became a ‘magnet’ drawing more and more varied, festival attendees. There was dancing and cheering and hugging and drama unfolding every minute.

The live band performances and interviews were the peak of pleasure for me, as it was immediately familiar territory so I could feel relaxed and much more assured. Having seen soundmen set up for musicians hundreds of times over many years as a band member, I was really impressed by how effortlessly and speedily genius sound man, Sean got perfect balances with everything from a snare drum to a bowed saw… yes, a real saw for cutting wood!! As we all bounced and danced to the rocking live song by ‘Estrella’ I realised this is what I want to do… I want to broadcast live bands. I mean I really want to broadcast live bands!

Now I just need to work out how best to achieve that. I have all the equipment I need and the premises, and I have lots of experience in starting ‘self help’ collectives. I think there will be many production students, music lovers, tech geniuses, and of course ever ‘hungry’ bands, etc who would want to be involved. I see it as a natural continuation from the course… so watch this space…