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All we hear is, radio ga ga... ♪


For the past 7 years I have presented, produced and managed radio shows and radio stations on online, student and community levels. I would now like to take this further and present on a commerical level.





The demo above will soon be replaced with a refreshed version, but it gives you a good idea of my on air personality and presenting style. I'm suited to live daytime shows, mainly targeted at young people. I like to make jokes (often incorporating music as part of the comedy), interact with the audience and of course, pick some cracking songs, when the playlist isn't dictated of course! I'm usually light and energetic, but I can also scale it back in order to present more serious broadcasts, such as news bulletins and charity appeals. If you have a project that you think I may be able to help with, then do get in touch and let me know more!


Below you can read (and hear) more about my previous experiences, from my first ever show, to managing an entire University's station based on campus. Be warned, it gets a bit wordy. But if you think this is bad, you should have seen the 'novel' that I wrote for the last version of this portfolio!


From Bebo to the Beeb...




  I started experimenting with presenting radio aged just 16. I was listening to a Habbo (anyone remember that?) fansite's radio station and I thought I could totally do better. I bought a really cheap microphone after school one day, pirated a load of songs and then applied to be a presenter. They asked me to do a trial, they liked me and the rest was as they say, history. Every Sunday I'd present a show from my bedroom and bombard my friends on Bebo (again, anyone remember that?) with messages to listen. I still remember running and telling my parents every time the listener counts increased on my first couple of shows.


Fast forward a few months and I had a brainwave. What about an online station for teenagers, that wasn't centered around Habbo? BulletFM was then born. At the time, we thought the name was cool. It was punchy and it had connotations of speed and danger. Now of course we realise that it was a pretty pants name for a radio station. But hey ho, BulletFM was our testing ground and our first real voyage into online radio done our way and indeed the actual process of how you start up a radio station. I keep saying 'we' and 'our' a lot, as at the time I worked with a close friend on both the design of the site and the content it outputted. We were so excited by the idea that at one point, we asked our school's headteacher if we could host a proper gig (with security and tickets etc) in our school hall! He declined, but the whole experience of pitching was very helpful.


Eventually, we realised that in order to be succesful nationwide, we needed to change the brand. We needed something a bit more relatable and cool for our audience. So, we created Fresh Hits Radio. We also created Fresh Hits Radio Ltd, a registered company in England and Wales. I was the director of a company, aged just 18. That's how serious I was about making it work!


I was so ambitious that at one point I was attempting to put on The Enemy at The Empress Ballroom, Blackpool for our launch gig. Bare in mind that The Empress holds 3,500 attendees and that The Enemy at the time were charging roughly £150,000 per gig and you can definitely see that I may have gotten slightly carried away. We did end up doing events though! We held a massive 16-18 party entitled MAYHEM! at The Syndicate Superclub, the UKs largest nightclub venue at the time. We had 800 students turn up and made just over £1,000 profit. Not bad for two students running their first event to promote their first business, which just happens to be a fully functioning online radio station.


Throughout Fresh Hits Radio's existence, I personally achieved a £2,500 government grant from the 'Youth Opportunities Fund' to fund the stations set up and first few months of operation. I was also lucky enough to interview Scouting For Girls and Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip! With BulletFM we were two kids mucking about with radio for our friends. With Fresh Hits, we were a business with a cashflow and really big aims. It was a much different affair.





Unfortunately, the FHR partnership fell apart and the station later closed. It was a full time commitment that needed some serious investment and 100% of my focus. Earlier in the year I had decided to go to University and that my studies would have to come first. A little bit of me still wonders today if that was the right decision. Did I throw away the chance of being a major success like SB.TV or Don't Flop? I guess we'll never know.


Luckily for me, Edge Hill University didn't have a student radio station when I arrived on campus in 2010. After a few chats with the Students' Union, wheels were in motion to change this. I thought it was mad that a station didn't exist already and whilst reading for a BSc(Hons) Business Management degree, I worked tirelessly on every aspect of the new station, from branding, to licenses, studio set up and recruiting presenters. In May 2011, I ran a 'Test Broadcast Week' on a new station entitled 'The Station With No Name'. A simple studio, a small team of well trained presenters and a tonne of tunes. Just to see if the idea had potential. Just to see how students would respond. Turns out, they were a fan of the idea! We held steady listening figures over the week, none of the technology broke and we left the studio on Friday filled with confidence that we could launch something full scale and have a similar, if not bigger reaction.


At the start of the next academic year and after a lot of planning, L:39 Radio roared into life. A name chosen by the listeners of TSWNN, based on our Ormskirk postcode. A full time, online radio station for the students of Edge Hill University. The first student radio station on campus in 60 years! We had our own dedicated space in the Students' Union's offices, there was a team of 70 dedicated volunteers and we broadcasted high quality output for 60 hours a week, without fail. Whilst TSWNN was a little experiment, L:39 Radio was a full scale operation and a real life not for profit organisation. I had to handle training, disciplinary procedures, licensing, technical issues and our relationship with the Students' Union and indeed the University.


"Without James taking the initiative to approach the Students' Union in the first instance, L:39 Radio would not exist in it's current capacity"


(Sarah Ellis, Membership Services Co-Ordinator, Edge Hill Students' Union)


As a result of my work as part of L:39 Radio I was nominated for an On Course Excellence in Creative Arts Scholarship and received a letter of commendation from the Union. The station still runs today, now housed in a purpose built studio, under the new branding of Vibe Radio.


In my final year at University, I decided one radio station was not enough! I wanted to try my hand at something else. I contacted the guys at 99.8FM KCC Live, a Mersyside station that has won numerous awards and churned out some excellent young presenters, who have gone on to do amazing things. After taking part in their 6 week training course, I was given 'The Weekend Breakfast' (Fri-Sun 7-10am) to host and hopefully grow into one of the stations flagship shows.

 
 




  "Overall a fantastic show, with a clear demonstration of your understanding of radio. Nice imaging and use of beds and a confident delivery make this a well rounded show." 

(Hannah Stewart, Training & Community Liaison Officer, 99.8FM KCC Live)


Whilst at KCC Live I was lucky enough to be given delegate level access to Liverpool Sound City Festival 2013, a massive weekend of music, business, technology and the arts, based in Liverpool's city centre. Through networking at the conference I was also lucky enough to interview two massive artists for KCC. Enter Shikari and MIkill Pane. Enter Shikari have been a personal favourite band of mine for years now and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to talk to them about music. I also admire what Mikill Pane is doing for the urban scene at the moment and it was great talking to him too. You can hear both of these interviews on my SoundCloud profile.


After I left University, I moved to Manchester in the hope of taking the commerical radio market by storm. Well, slowly but surely, starting as the tea boy, that sort of thing. Anyway, after settling into the city, I joined 94.4FM Salford City Radio and started presenting the DRIVE! show on Friday afternoons. My shows received great feedback and held a loyal fanbase of listeners. The show unfortunately only ran for 8 weeks, as work commitments and paying the bills got in the way, but I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed my time with the SCR team.


Now, after nearly 18 months away from the microphone, I am looking to make my return to radio and hopefully, get stuck in to an exciting new project.



I've been really lucky so far when it comes to cool experiences in radio (SoundCity, the interviews etc) and as part of my efforts to conquor the industry, I've also managed to have a couple of brushes with the BBC. In May 2013, I was shortlisted for the assessment centre stage of the 'Production Talent Pool' intake, which took place at Quay House, MediaCityUK. In reaching shortlisting, I had been chosen from 4,700 intiial applicants, through various stages of screening and testing and had reached the final 300. That in itself was a great achievement and the day was an incredible experience. I received some excellent personalised feedback and whilst I didn't make it into the talent pool, I left feeling motivated and ready for my next challenge.


I have also appeared, rather briefly, on two BBC local stations as a guest. I appeared on BBC Radio Merseyside alongside Carl Hunter, the bassist from The Farm and a man I am lucky enough to call a friend and a mentor. We discussed CANTINA, a new live music night we were supporting at Edge Hill University. I have also appeared on BBC Radio Lancashire, where I discussed the merits of Higher Education, live from my old Sixth Form! It was a great honour to be asked to represent the Sixth Form as a former student that had gone on to study at University and it was of course really nice to visit old friends and tutors.