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While The Radio Academy Circles The Drain

I think I’ve calmed down a bit since last night when I followed the Radio Academy’s AGM on twitter and then read a few blogs. Two things stuck with me.
Firstly the fact that while the need for change is acknowledged, nobody senior seemed willing to offer suggestions as a way of getting the ball rolling. For a meeting filled with some of the industry’s biggest brains that disappointed.
Secondly, the suggestion that those who were upset by the shuttering of the biggest activities and their eventual move to London were somehow akin to those who condemn every modernising change the industry changes because they want to hark back to a ‘golden age’.
I’ve long been critical of aspects of the Academy’s work but have remained on the Scottish Branch Committee for many years. That’s because I believe [passionately that there has to be a place where we come together as a broader industry. It’s great to see BBC folks and IR lifers meeting, chatting and discovering that they face many of the same challenges every single day.
At an event I helped organise for Creative Loop and Bauer’s Media Academy last week it was a delight to see BBC staffers posting selfies at Radio Clyde. It’s exciting to see the pride and passion that broadcasters have in their environments and their teams and the fun they have visiting others.
Then there was the annual Scottish Branch Christmas Quiz last Monday night. I loved that for two reasons.
Professionals from the indies, BBC, Bauer & Global all took part and enjoyed a fun night alongside students and their lecturers from across Scotland.
The other reason is my team won.
To most in the industry up here, where the Radio Festival took place was irrelevant. That’s was one of the reasons we worked so hard to get the two-day Creative Loop Student Media Festival off the ground and to ensure that we booked big names to have big thoughts.
I’m wondering whether in Scotland we take that event and grow it a little to include sessions designed for people who already work in the industry, maybe even rolling in a couple of awards and so on. Let’s face it, the Scottish performance in the UK awards hasn’t exactly been awe inspiring of late and it would be wise to recognise and develop our best talent.
With Bauer, Global, Creative Loop, BBC Scotland and others already active in this space a Scottish RA has the ability to bring industry-wide support to events and initiatives – almost a seal of approval. That doesn’t take much money – just effort and a will to succeed.
Similarly other regions and nations could be federalised and encouraged to come up with a programme that works for their area. Pull together the broadcasters, podcasters, teachers and more who make radio the diverse and challenging industry it is today.
If the London guys don’t want to travel to Salford, that’s fine. Let’s see them run fantastic events in the home counties and share them nationally.
Whatever the RA becomes it has to be about it’s members.
Not the big broadcasters and smaller patrons, but the wee guys who stump up their annual dues, often from their own pocket.
If the RA stays close to the membership and concentrates on super serving its needs, it’ll have made a start.

Author: johnco

Born in 1963, been involved in radio since 1977.

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