Issue date: 07 April 2017
A top producer at BBC Radio 4 says a programme produced by students at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is of a professional quality.
The students tasked with a real programme brief based around BBC Radio 4 Soul Music that follows the story behind a song, often featuring interviews with the song writer, cover versions and interviews with people for whom the song has a special significance.
James Cook, Editor Radio 4 Arts Bristol, said, “If this programme was brought to me by one of my producers I would not be disappointed - professional quality work.”
Broadcast Audio Music Technology Student David Cliffe suggested the song 'Same Love' by hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with vocals from Mary Lambert thinking it would appeal as it is well known to a younger generation and because the song tells an emotive story about gay and lesbian rights.
The team of seven audio music technology students featured members of 'Sing out Bristol' LGBT choir who reveal what the song means to them in the programme.
David Cliffe said, “We were briefed to develop a programme that would appeal to a younger listener.
“We needed to source different versions of the song and interview people for whom the song had a strong emotional connection so we made a short pre-recorded package for BCFM calling for stories and 'Sing out Bristol' choir got in touch.
“Our team of seven learned so much about producing, interviewing and building trust with interviewees but also staying on track with the purpose of the programme.
“Finding the good stories is a huge part of the challenge and a great lesson I learned was the importance of pitching widely not putting all your eggs into one basket. In the end our best source for stories came from 'Sing out Bristol' LGBT choir.
“We interviewed five people and also recorded a new acoustic arrangement of the song with the choir. We eventually whittled down some amazing stories to four interviews.
“One interviewee talked about how she had attended her best friend's civil partnership – the first between two women in the UK and what the song meant in that context.
“We all learned so much from the exercise from the BBC team. Working to a real programme brief means you have to do just that and it's easy to let your own creative ideas to lead you in different directions. Even basic stuff like ensuring the final edit is precisely 27.5 minutes is crucial.
“We have had possibly the best feedback and it remains to be seen if the programme will actually be broadcast but whatever the outcome the process we have been through with the mentoring from professionals in the radio industry and our amazing lecturer team we have learned so much.
“I am convinced that no other university would have given us quite the same kind of access to a national radio channel. UWE Bristol lecturers have all worked in the field for years and we even have a BAFTA winning dubbing mixer teaching us – the training could not possibly be better.”
BAFTA award winning dubbing mixer and UWE Bristol lecturer Martyn Harries said, “We aim to give our students real world practice. Making a programme to a BBC brief with mentoring from top professionals gives students the chance to demonstrate what they are capable of and to grasp a sound understanding of the many facets that need to come together to make a programme work.”
Seed funding was provided by from BBC Radio and Music Arts with the newly launched UWE Impulse Enterprise Studio.
The Soul Music production team comprised Broadcast Audio Music Technology students Lewis Wear, James Bartholomew, Dan Johnson, Ollie Campbell, Seb Frost and Sam Spreadborough.
Find out about the Broadcast Audio Music Technology course at UWE Bristol.
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