We’re Going to Phoenix
On January 30th 2023, 5 TUD students including myself began our work experience with 92.5 Phoenix FM, a Blanchardstown community radio station.
Here we have each written a short piece about how we secured our positions in Phoenix FM and what we have learnt during our time working here.
We were given this work experience as one of our choices by the college. We had to apply for it using a CV and cover letter. Afterwards Carmelle Keane, the Phoenix FM Training and Volunteer Coordinator contacted us and we had an initial Zoom call to get some background from us participating students and what we wanted from the work experience and a short interview.
We then got an email to let us know that we had been accepted into work experience and our start date. I was very excited to start this work experience as I did a module that involved making a radio documentary last year in which I really enjoyed, and ever since then I have been interested in working on radio, podcasts, interviews and documentaries.
We met Carmelle on our first day and she brought us to the Draoicht across the road for a meet up and coffee in order to induct us into Phoenix FM. She told us what we will be doing throughout the coming 12 weeks. She informed us that we will be making a 28 minute long radio show. I was very excited when I was told that I would be doing this as I really enjoyed doing it last year and I loved the idea of doing a radio interview for an actual radio station. We were also filled in on the history of Phoenix FM and what they do at community radio station. We were then brought to the control room in which interviews are conducted.
At the training experience of Phoenix FM, I was assigned with my group to observe a lot of the sound desk training. At first I found it overwhelming as it wasn’t what I expected it to be. You need full attention on keeping the sound levels stable.
At the beginning of the first month, my group and I had to train on how to make a radio promotion and record it through the microphones and add suitable instrumental music that best suited the promotion. There was also training on working with our voice and tone for radio and how to sound more professional and excited. My group and I got trained a lot about archiving radio shows and had to research all information about the shows, for example who are the producers, duration, music, ads etc.
There was training on making appointments and calling for events to get more people to talk on the radio. I browsed Google websites for events happening throughout Dublin and tried to find their email or phone numbers and tell them that we can promote their event on the radio. Some potential guests weren’t a success and didn’t reach back through the email or call back. If they accepted our email we then had to put down their names and phone number on an Excel sheet for the agreed time.
As they scheduled to go on air we would call the guests a couple of minutes in advance. My group was split into halves, so a colleague and I thought it was a great idea to call our TUD college student counsellors to talk about what is happening in TU Dublin and events and opportunities in TU Dublin college to encourage people to enrol next year.
During my training there was a week where my group And I had to make a playlist on Spotify with our favourite songs that are appropriate for radio and I gathered around fifteen songs and made a 1 hour radio pre record for later broadcast. I recorded the introduction of the songs, names of the artists and I gave a brief explanation of what each song was about. Then once the fifteen songs were introduced and recorded the show aired on 92.5 Phoenix FM the following Thursday. The show was called AfterTunes.
“The project” that we were assigned at the start of work experience with 92.5 Phoenix FM was to create a new radio show. We as a group were all given the freedom to decide what to base our show on, who to interview, what questions to ask and what music to use. The show is structured to be 28 minutes long, which you are to fill with your interviews, music, ads and whatever else you decide.
I decided to do my radio show on travel and emigration, this is something I have a lot of interest and passion for so I thought it would be interesting and beneficial to do a show on. I (Mary) will be the lead presenter on this production. My main goals for this show are to educate and make people more aware of all the opportunities and several types of travel/emigration available to us in Ireland and hopefully encourage people to branch out and love travel as much as I do!
Some of the different types of travel I want to address and discuss on my show will be- Erasmus, J1, Grad visas, Interrailing, Backpacking, emigration to Australia, Canada and other parts of the world, my own experience with travel and so on.
I am planning to interview four guests who have all experienced travel or emigration in different ways.
I would also like to talk about some of my own experiences with travelling. Hopefully with all these interviews and discussions we can open people’s minds to the ideas and opportunities available to us in Ireland.
Eoin is doing his radio show on music and the different decades, he will be comparing and interviewing people on all the decades of music to date.
Judy will be doing her show on religion and interviewing different people with experience in religion to educate us all on the topic.
Iqrah is doing her show on mental health where she will be interviewing her mother who worked in mental health services and raising awareness with her discussions.
Finally, Sam is doing his show interviewing his brother who runs a football club, his show will be discussing small businesses and acknowledging the hard work that goes into that.
This has been a great opportunity for us to create these shows, it has taught us a lot in both our technical and interviewing techniques.
Community Radio – a students view
Community radio is commonly a short range non profit radio station in a local area that caters for the people living in the area for example 92.5 Phoenix FM for Dublin15.
My personal view on community radio is that it’s a great way to spread the word on local news to the people living in the area and to get the people’s views across. Local news is a brilliant way to get involved with the community and to be able to spread the word of local charities, businesses and this creates Social Benefit through local news for local people. It’s also a great way for people to volunteer for their local community and get involved. From getting involved you can share your own ideas with the station for shows and how they can be improved and also learn an array of new skills. Some of these skills could include presenting, learning the sound desk, researching among many more.
One of the best things I think that’s happened with community radio that I mentioned briefly earlier is the voice that they provide. What I mean by this is that within a community there’s so many different religions and people with different cultures. This then spreads across the community and lets people know about these different cultures and what might they do differently or maybe even similar to someone else’s culture. I’ve noticed even with Phoenix FM they try to consider all their audience by having shows such as `Aon Scéal` which is a radio show on trying to improve your Irish whether you’re a learner or fluent. This is why I think it’s great as the community radio is getting the local people involved.
While researching community radio I found that there were twenty two community radios that were community/special interest FM services in Ireland. I thought that there would be a lot more in Ireland with there being so many small local towns.
With regard to Community Radio as a movement, overall I think it is a brilliant way for the community to give and get involved and to bring a community together. While I’ve mentioned all the positives beforehand, I believe there are some negative aspects with it being a non-profit organisation which brings in difficulties both technological and competitive with larger stations. Some other aspects of community radio are its community development and recruiting volunteers. I believe that if people had just a week here they’d genuinely enjoy it and have fun and see what they can do by being a part of their local community radio.
Media has undoubtedly taken over the world by a storm .
Within a short amount of time the World Wide Web and Social Media has managed to infiltrate its way into everyone’s life. Everyone often consumes media via the big organisations such as social media apps and famous news platforms and tend to overlook the smaller media world like community radio. I remember when I had initially started working at Phoenix FM I didn’t know what to expect but I assumed it would be something similar to RTE only to learn it is very different and in many ways.
Community radio has done immense work bringing groups of people together and giving a sense of belonging while providing a voice to local areas. Which is a stark contrast to mainstream media which is the usual form of media people consume.
The wider media world is a tricky area to pinpoint as many things have been manipulated to suit each demographic.
I’ve often found it interesting watching different news channels from around the globe to see how they broadcast worldwide news and more often than not you will see a different narrative being told for any world crisis.
You will normally see this divide in media when it comes to the Western and Eastern parts of the world and it’s fascinating to see how easily media can be influenced and shape people’s opinions regarding certain ongoing issues. With anything, the media has its negative and positive aspects to it . The Magnitude in which the media is taking over people’s lives raises the question as to where we draw the line and start reflecting on our own opinions about topics instead of being fed other peoples biassed beliefs.
Community Radio contributes towards each society by allowing people to feel heard and have the power to bring about change within their area which I feel is fantastic.