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Getting big bands to appear on small radio stations isn't easy. In fact, it's bloody difficult. Bands rarely get paid to appear on radio stations, and often stick to the national circuit in order to promote exciting new projects and raise awareness. So as a small community station, how do we achieve it and how do we organise such an event?
Let's discuss the hypotheticals. First, we pick a band. DON BROCO are literally one of my favourite bands of one time. As a Bedford native (like the band), there's something crazy special about seeing a band who went to your school headlining festivals and playing on Radio 1.
Getting that band on air is a challenge. Insanity, your student radio station, has spent nearly 21 years building up a reputation as a small station with big ambitions. Since our inception, we've constantly tried to push boundaries, because that's exactly what student and community radio is about. We have help from our friends at the Student Radio Association, and a very strong network of alumni we've amassed throughout the time we've existed. In this instance, working closely with record labels very much paid off. We have some fantastic contacts and real friends at the label BROCO are signed to, so when it was announced that they were playing locally (i.e. across the hall) we asked the label if we could chat to the band. And, crazily, they said yes.
As we've interviewed BROCO before (during their Bedford gig on their last tour), we wanted to do something different. Our team came up with the idea of a takeover-style show, as the band were in the studio there's no reason not to jazz things up, right?
Such an event requires a lot of co-ordination. From getting the band safely to the studio, to the actual logistics of recording and sourcing their choice of music on-the-fly, Thursday night and Friday morning were hectic for our small team of volunteers. A change in plans meant BROCO recorded their takeover after their DJ set instead of before. This actually worked out for the best as we had much more time to have fun in the studio and experiment with different formats. By takeover, we wanted the band to actually act as if they were presenting the radio show (they were indeed!). Rob 'Bobby' Damiani and Si Delaney picked a bunch of songs and linked them together by explaining to the audience (and us) the significance. Due to the nature, everything was pre-recorded. This is really common in radio, and also allows us to check everything to make sure it's absolutely perfect.
One of the best moments of this was hearing about how Issues' touring bus had a light-switch that changed the lights from serious to L.I.T., sacrificing it to the party. A real life party bus. Mood.
Next, publicity. There's no point in interviewing a band if nobody knows it's going to be played out, especially fans of the band who might not be in our local coverage area. Sans and I had the wicked idea of recording a teaser video of the band bursting into the studio and forcing a presenter off of the mixing desk. With our visual radio cameras, this was actually super easy to do, and editing it together only took a few minutes (we have a fantastic blooper reel which we're obviously keeping for a rainy day ;-) ). We published the video on social media, sent off a few emails to get RTs, and the response was genuinely immense.
We saw a crazy amount of web traffic due to the band retweeting right before TX, but due to the fantastic work of our tech team everything ran smoothly.
Overall, a brilliant experience that we'd totally love to repeat in the future. Massive shout out to DON BROCO for being genuinely fantastic and being all round fantastic boys.
Listen Back To The Takeover
Insanity Radio offers professional-standard training and real life experience, which includes covering festivals and working with record labels. If you want to get involved and help us create fantastic content that's seen by real people, drop us a line and get involved - there's a whole page on our website that explains how.
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Egham, TW20 0EX