What does a birthday have to do with Student Radio?

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November 3, 2014 by johnnyseifertradio

The 2nd of November is a special double-day for me as it is my birthday. This week I celebrated turning 22 so I am going to start today’s blog with Greg James (BBC Radio1) who paid a tribute to Taylor Swift’s song about what he hated about being 22. I am hoping you can relate to it as I don’t want to be able too.

As the time hit 00.00 the battle was on when the answers to the yearlong questions were answered. Just who would be the first person to call me and wish me happy birthday? Who would be the first person to send a long birthday text and who would make a birthday collage on Instagram about me? So, whilst having a birthday is all about celebrating your day of birth, having a party and blowing out candles on a cake what really is it?


I would argue that a birthday is judgement day. You are the judge and in the jury box are all your close friends who are giving their verdict battling to show you how much they value you as a friend. Every jury member usually agrees “you are the kindest person”, “you are always there for me” and “ I am so glad to know you”  meaning I am so glad you once fancied me but do they mean it? These are the people you expect to go the extra mile be it a card, be it a present or an upload of a collage of photos. In the defence box we have the acquaintances who are polite on Facebook and will write “Happy Birthday!” as they have got in to the habit of wishing every person happy birthday. But, whilst I am showing off that I celebrated my birthday what does this have to do with radio?

Birthdays really are the only time people really show their appreciation so whilst big radio stations pay their for their RAJAR figures on the other end we have  student radio stations with undisclosed listener-ships. Student radio is a great training ground for radio and it is the time when you do not need to worry about your audience figures, it is all about learning your craft. Student radio is an excellent platform too:

  • Learn how to drive a desk
  • Learn how to engage with listeners that are like you
  • Learn how to playlist music
  • Learn how to form a feature
  • Learn how to talk to time

I would argue that Facebook showcases a snapshot of what people think about you on your birthday. However, you are not going to upload every birthday text message and so whilst people think that you are not friends with Joe Bloggs anymore in reality they have decided to dedicate their message to you in private and make it personable. Likewise, you may not get many interactions on student radio, you may only have your five listeners listening but it does not matter. Student radio is a fantastic ground to learn your craft without the tight playlists, with up to twenty-two minutes of advertising as John Myers stated allowing you to openly talk and decide your own format with your own time lengths. I had three brilliant years hosting the Breakfast show on Scratch Radio for Birmingham City University. I was able to choose who I interviewed, who appeared on my show and to an extent the style of the music playlist that was created on Myriad for me to use.

Keep being the person you are and one day you will be appreciated for your craft, skills and personality!


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