Radio goNORTH Archive 2013 The Producers How They Started

This is the trainee producers at the beginning of their time at Radio goNORTH. See what they have learned after the course.

Stephen MacKay

My name is Stephen but my friends call me the ‘Bald Eagle’ for obvious reasons if you see my photo’s.

I am on the wrong side of fifty ….. or the right side depending on your point of view! I am certainly one of the ‘elder statesmen’ of Radio Go North. I am originally from Glasgow but I am a bit of a nomad having lived in Dundee, Perth, and Fort William before finally landing in Ross-shire and building my nest half way up a mountain.

I came to radio late in life after making a huge life change leaving social work when I flew off in a different direction and followed my ambition to pursue a career in radio. Like all good ‘birds of Prey’ I learnt to adapt to a new environment. I studied for a VQ in radio broadcasting with MFR Media Trust and took part in Monster FM in 2012. I am a breakfast presenter with ABC Radio Alness, a community internet radio station.

I also present Stephen’s Stick of Celtic Rock which has a European listenership and features bands like Skerryvore, Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Runrig. There was no more appropriate place for this chat with the Bald Eagle than in a wooded area. As you can tell I am so excited about being involved with Radio go North’s producer’s course as I see this as a natural progression in my radio journey…must fly  things to do people to see!

Mark Thompson

People from all over Scotland, UK and the rest of the world converge in Inverness for GONORTH, Mark Thompson however comes from, the other side of town. After a year at Edinburgh college studying the HNC in Radio, and a taste of the festival as a volunteer last year Mark makes a triumphant (hopefully) return to Radio goNORTH and to Inverness.

He is a huge fan of radio and podcasting – presenting, producing, recording and editing many shows including a comedy podcast and a new music show. (He’s also a massive American football fan, but he doesn’t expect to see much of that in Inverness over the next two weeks). His quest for new music is what drives him. Mostly because chart music today is what he would call “autotuned, moronic, repetitive rubbish” But the bands playing at GONORTH, and the bands he loves are the ones playing tiny backrooms of pubs in the middle of nowhere, just to get there music out there, trying to make a living doing something they care about.

Not only will the next two weeks be stimulating his passion for radio but he gets to share his enthusiasm and celebrate the music that inspires him.

Freyja Harris

This is Freyja’s second year back for Radio GoNorth. Last year she kicked off the morning shows with her co-host Aimee Hinds producing and presenting, bringing in bands for sessions and chats, and interviewing band managers.

This year she hopes to focus more on production, being a presenter, and exploring further areas of the festival such as fashion, film and what speakers there will be to learn from. Over the last year she has worked with Dabster in the Fringe taking a wider role on all three of the podcasts the team were making such as “the E4 Udderbelly Podcalf”, researching, scriptwriting and booking running orders. Half way through the festival she also began her life in Glasgow studying at the Glasgow school of art building a visual portfolio.

It was a brilliant experience of sharing ideas, getting used to team work and constructive criticism of a creative process. In December she was invited to London to work on “Amnesty International’s Secret Santa Comedy Podcast” – a continuation from the Secret Comedy Podcast we worked on during the fringe. The main role she played was as a researcher, gaining a dubious compliment from Simon Evans for digging too deep. But when disaster hit and our booked host pulled out the night before, producer Richard Melvin leapt into the limelight, and Freyja stepped into the role of producer. This year she’s looking forward to blowing last year out of the water.

Maria Hall

I’m Maria Hall, and I live in Moray at present. I’m a mother of a grown up daughter and a 13yr old son, and just became a granny 9 months ago.

I have been a singer/musician most of my life and have released a debut album of my own songs. I’m also an artist, and have sold predominantly pet portraits, around the UK dog show scene for many years, and am well known for showing and occasionally breeding Irish Wolfhounds.

I’m proud to have been asked to judge the breed at the Scottish Kennel Club’s Championship show this year. I’m repeating this course, which sounds awful, like the kid that has to keep repeating years in school… but I was not quite sure what direction I wanted to take at that time. This time I am totally focused on what I need to learn from such intensive training. That’s EVERYTHING!! I was asked to do a regular Internet or local FM Radio Show, for a Highland charity HUG, so I must learn how to broadcast, edit and present!

I had experience of presenting a weekly Radio Show on the pioneering Inverness based Internet Radio Station ‘nessmp3 radio’ so I am quite relaxed with mics and sound desks and presenting in a live situation, but I know nothing of broadcasting at the start of this course and I need as much practice as possible on editing and producing recorded ‘packages’, so I will be looking for any way I can get that experience working with local or Internet radio shows this summer.

Fee Hamer

My life has been like a game of snakes and ladders, returning many times to square one, to recharge and then flutter like a butterfly to destinations across the globe, to keep expanding my horizons. My parents are originally from London and trained as teachers but decided to move out of the urban sprawl to the county of Buckinghamshire where they bought a house in the Doomsday village of Newton Longville. I was born an identical twin, with only 6 minutes of separation. I was painfully shy and selectively mute for all my childhood but came out of my shell when I ventured away from home to study Psychology at The University of Warwick, just outside Coventry.

After graduating, I toured the UK with Austin Rover on a staff training programme before settling in London for a few years where I worked as a Project Manager for a graphic design agency. My creativity felt stifled so I took a trip across ‘the pond’ to New York to visit an old uni friend and decided to make it my home for the next five years. It was in the Big Apple that my creativity flourished and I ended up managing an artist run co-operative gallery supporting emerging artists for over 3 years until I eventually burnt out and so returned to my roots to recuperate.

I tried to hold down a 9-5 with The Open University for nearly 4 years before throwing caution to the wind, on a quest to follow my ancestral roots and so I headed North across the border to Bonny Scotland. It was in Edinburgh, at The Fringe, after watching a circus dressed as a lion that I met a Spaniard staying with friends I’d met in a pub. He lived and worked on the Isle of Harris so with a toss of the coin, I drove further north to the islands on the edge. Waylaid in Lewis for almost 3 years, I’ve now live in Lionel at the northern tip of the Isle of Lewis.

P.S. I came to the goNorth festival last year to follow my passion for fashion or as what I call ‘trashion’ i.e. upcycled fashion, but felt drawn more to radio. Radio for me is the medium that speaks volumes leaving the listener to use their own imagination to make up their own mind without being spoon fed and televised! I’m a very off the cuff sorta gal, buzzing with ‘off the beaten track’ ideas and so hope that this will be the launch pad for a new venture to tantalise the airwaves with some ‘snap, crackle and pop!’

Paul Johnston

Fingers on buzzers, here’s your starter for ten…which 46-year old ‘heritage’ student has won a fridge freezer on Wheel of Fortune, the second lowest winning score ever on Fifteen to One and paraded around a room of strangers clucking like a chicken just to get on The Weakest Link?

24 years of pen-pushing and paper shuffling with such varied organisations as the Royal Navy, Scottish Prison Service and the National Galleries of Scotland, was enough and it was time for a change. A time to exercise a creative yearning. A time to take a leap of faith…in myself. Two years on and my HND in Radio is coming to a close.

A successful year, which saw honours in the form of an Ian Rankin Creative Writing Scholarship, a Russell Trust Scholarship and a Creative Loop award, continues apace as I push myself further out of my comfort zone. I’ve been on some of the UK’s toughest quiz shows and an imminent return to any of them, with all the horror and humiliation they instil, has more appeal than the full-on fortnight that lies ahead. Radio goNORTH is a natural stepping stone as I continue my journey, which will hopefully result in production work. That’s the theory even though I know that jobs in radio are rarer than rocking horse poo.

The next two weeks will be both exciting and scary but it’ll all be worth it. I hope! And the answer to our earlier teaser…me! Now, let’s make radio happen!

Seonaidh MacLeod

I’m Seonaidh, I’m 15 and I’m from South Uist in the Western Isles. I’ve walked into the course a day late, and worst of all, I’m the youngest here…I think 1 or 2 that are at least over 40 and definitely have a lot more life experience than me!
I had a Physics exam on Monday so I couldn’t leave Uist that day for the start of the course. If it was my choice I would’ve, but as far as my mum is concerned, I need physics for everything, which is not true…it just makes you look smarter! Whenever I come home from school or at the weekend, I’m either playing or watching football, or playing FIFA online on my ps3, which if you live in Uist, you’ll know that is very hard to do, since the Internet in parts of Uist is shocking!

When I leave school, I want to be a mechanic or at least something to do with mechanics, I love cars, and engines and…basically everything to do with cars I love, except cleaning them! I also want to do something in Music also, mainly Sound Engineering, editing…working on the mechanics of a song, so just trying to figure how I can balance it out so I can get the best of both worlds. I’m in 4th year just now and leaving at the end of this year. Hopefully I can take a lot of experience and skills away from this course and apply it in the future if I ever go into the Music Industry!

Innis Snelling

As a child Innis always wanted to be Mr. Bean however growing up he had to come to the realization that this was not going to happen not matter how hard he tried to be him. During school, Innis would record comedy sketches with friends instead of studying although he preferred writing comedy he managed to secure a place at Edinburgh University studying Electrical Engineering. While at Edinburgh University, Innis started doing stand up comedy and student radio. He co-produced a un-broadcast-able student radio show – The reason for it not being broadcast was not for the content of the show but he forgot to fill in the correct form – silly boy.

The radio show featured a wide range of guests and comedians from all walks of life – but mainly from Edinburgh, in fact they were all from Edinburgh. Innis also edited and compiled the show ready for the BBC – He sent off a sample clip in September 2012…he’s still waiting for a reply. Innis also has a passion for stand up comedy, doing his first gig in 2011 to a room full of annoyed people. After completing a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2012 with PBH Free Fringe he received 5 stars in total out of a number of reviews. By taking part in the program Innis hopes to gain experience in editing and producing radio shows. Innis has a passion for podcasts and radio as a whole. His ipod is as he puts it “WELL FULL!” of comedy radio shows which he listens to everyday instead of music.

Paddy Fuller

1,2,1,2… is this thing on?

Hello Inverness! My name is Patrick Fuller but everyone calls me Paddy. I am 19 years young and I have a thirst for radio, music and film. So as you can imagine Radio goNorth and the goNorth festival itself is a great opportunity for someone like me! Born and raised in the sunny streets of Inverness, local and love it!

When I was 16 going on 17 I was informed by my guidance teacher about the day course at the Highlands and Islands very own Moray Firth Radio. It was thought this would be a possible interest to me as a huge music fan. I like everyone from Bob Dylan to Black Sabbath, from The Pogues to The Prodigy. I live and breathe music. I actually lost count of how many bands I’ve seen live a couple of years ago! After doing the day course and loved it I was told about the full-time years course and MFR The Radioskills SVQ in Radio Broadcasting.

The course in the end took and total of 15 months. The most hands on learning I have ever had. I enjoyed it for the simple reason of overwhelming fun atmosphere within RadioSkills. Work hard, play harder. I am so excited for the radio to go live of course however I’m also looking forward to the learning in general trying to build on any skills I have and try and push myself harder. Listen to my Interview with Freyja Harris to find out more, over and out troops!

Chloe Hogg

Chloe’s profile will follow shortly. It’s wicked.