STUDENT RADIO AWARDS 2013 BEST STUDENT RADIO STATION ENTRY This year, we set out to make Xpression FM infinitely better than it has ever been. We wanted to improve all aspects of the station: in front of the microphone, behind the scenes and beyond the studio. Xpression FM has changed vastly from previous years. We created an in-house jingle package, rather than outsourcing, to give ourselves a more flexible and relevant station sound. We completely redesigned the logo to be more exciting and visually striking, in tandem with a completely redesigned website with a new professional outlook, easily navigable both on the computer and on mobile phones. In the studio, we finally implemented the long awaited windows between our studios, allowing more interaction between presenters and producers and upgraded our computers and broadcast and production software, giving a much needed boost in productivity. Outside broadcasts are a major part of what we do at Xpression FM, and we’ve also developed new methods of hosting them, increasing quality and ease of use, making sure that the presenters can focus on what’s really important: their content. One of our main aims was to allow more members of our station to become active in what we do. From more members being presenter and producer trained to increased membership of our various content teams, we have vastly increased the amount of people that help our station be a fantastic place to make radio. Of course, being a radio station, we wanted to increase the amount of listeners that Xpression FM has, and this year we went beyond what we thought was possible for us: we not only broke our listener records, but also had an increase in our audience interaction, both of which can be attributed to the gigantic increase in the quality of our output. Our presenter training program has always been something our station has prided itself on, and this year we decided to take it a step further and have separate examiners and trainers. This ensures that everyone is up to the standards we adhere to,
but also makes sure we keep our trainers on their toes! Having this base of exceptional, newly trained presenters has allowed us to make sure that our content is superb. From news and sport to entertainment, Xpression FM offers listeners top of the range, professionally produced and enjoyable radio. The amount of work that goes into each and every show is astonishing, and it really shows. The news team has improved tremendously on the outstanding content last year, with documentary style shows such as The Exeter Lad Culture Show having an incredible listener response and sparking debates across campus. The sports team provides entertaining, up to the minute news on results on Tuesday Night Sport, interesting and thoughtful interviews with local sports stars as well as in depth analysis on local, national and international sport on the Saturday Sports Show. This really is an amazing achievement considering that Head of Sport is a newly created role on our committee this year. We had a big focus on charity this year, from our 24 hour Big Broadcast for Children in Need to the Charity Football Match in support of the ‘Adam Stansfield Foundation’. Xpression FM has raised over £3,000 for various charities this year, going on to win a Students’ Guild Award for this achievement, and we have no intention of stopping. There is so much that Xpression FM has done this year, and it would be hopeless to try and write it all in this small space, but I can without question say this: from its humble beginnings as University Radio Exeter in 1976, Xpression FM has come so much further than it would have even been possible to imagine, and this is without a doubt our best year ever! Jack Franklin Station Manager 2012/2013
New Year, New Xpression Studio upgrades Over the summer of 2012, we finally implemented the long awaited windows between our studios, allowing for more interaction between presenters and producers. We also upgraded our PCs and software to Myriad 3 and Adobe Audition CS6, giving a much need boost in productivity. New Logo This year Xpression FM launched an overhaul of its image. The changing of the station’s logo and overall look was an attempt to revamp the appearance of the station. The logo reflects the originality and vibrancy of ideas that makes up student radio. The old microphone represents the bygone ages when radio, and especially the music it played, could be a form of rebellion, while the graffiti scrawled upon it ties that in with this century’s younger generation. The combination of a more ‘official’ symbol of radio, and an ‘illegal’ individual imprint, demonstrates the freedom of style and opinion that student radio can broadcast. The station’s logo now fits with its output. It is fit to be used to promote the station’s new and exciting events such as our Soundclash, as well as more serious or formal shows such as our news output. New Sound For the first time in six years, Xpression FM was getting a station sound revamp. The new sound marked a move away from professionally-done jingles, towards in-house voiceovers and production. The new sound features 100% student voices, and they are put together by our own production team for our student demographic - in short, it’s for students, by students. With the new sound, we considered the changes that Xpression FM had experienced in the last six years. Xpression FM’s core output is no longer just ‘new music’ - we now offer scripted programmes, news, sports, entertainment and specialist shows. Our listeners are using Twitter and Facebook, and they are likely to own a smartphone. Also, we now have the Forum Building at the heart of our Streatham campus, and we have a satellite campus in Tremough, Cornwall (which everyone on Streatham always forgets about). Unlike most radio stations, we felt that Xpression FM
could retain its identity as a student radio station, even with multiple voices in our jingle package. Furthermore, this makes it easier to expand our station sound, as we can readily and easily add on new voices. New Website Our web presence was eroded last year when we lost our domain name (xpressionfm.com) and when Xmedia Online, the media society that managed our website, became defunct. This year, we sought to rectify that by rebuilding our web presence on xpression.fm. Again, we thought of our listeners and made sure our new website was compatible with mobile devices, by using HTML 5 Audio and a ‘responsive’ layout. NEW! MORE! etc. We introduced a new text service which has proved very
popular amongst our listeners. We increased our OB output through Freshers’ Week, Guild Election Week, Open Day, and Comic Relief OBs. Our Open Day OBs have also become a way to entice prospective students to try Student Radio, or more specifically, Xpression FM, if they choose to come to Exeter. Off-air, we used videos and social media to promote the station. Our Harlem Shake video garnered over 800 views on YouTube, and our Sports Team’s Skill Skool and Charity Match Promotional videos have over 500 views each. And because we are radio, we have also been uploading our content to AudioBoo, SoundCloud and Mixcloud, and then sharing it via Facebook, Twitter and our website. Our Heads of Marketing have also made business cards for the station, including details of how to get in contact with the studio.
Our Schedule With the revamp to station sound, we felt that the schedule should be split into 3 main “umbrellas”. Xpression Daytime shows (Weekdays, 8am - 6pm) are geared towards entertainment and features – they aim to entertain and inform students as they tune in during the day, whether it’s our Breakfast Show (11:42) or the Afternoon Sessions. Xpression After Hours (Weekdays, after 6pm) is the term for our specialist shows. Our After Hours shows span different genres, from Hip-Hop (12:01) to Rock, from Dance and House to Cheesy Pop. Xpression Weekend shows (Weekends) vary in their theme, but all reflect the sort of radio Exeter students want to hear on a weekend. We have a Reggae plus Bakealong cooking show on Sunday mornings (12:27), a comedy news show in the evenings, and everything else in between. Joining our presenters, we also have our flagship News show, The Scoop, a fortnightly show produced by our News Team. Our Sports Team also expanded their output - they now present the Saturday Sport Show and Tuesday Night Sport. Meanwhile, our Music Team’s fortnightly Music Show continues to highlight local acts and local gigs to our listeners - the students of Exeter University. This year, with the relocation of our sister media, Exeposé (Student Newspaper and Website) and XTV (Student TV Station) to the new Media Suite just above our studios, we have seen greater interest in inter-media collaborations, which gave rise to the birth of the Xmedia Music Show and Xmedia Screen Show - magazine shows panelled
by members who are passionate about their music and films from the various student media outlets. This has helped to improve Xmedia relationships generally, by creating a space to promote each other, take advantage of each others’ audience and encourage participation between its members. Throughout the year, we also saw some one-off special programmes being added on to reflect what Exeter students want to hear, including a Debate Show Special on the Page Three Ban referendum, SSB Lineup Announcement, Varsities, the Exeter Busking Culture Show and Exeter Lad Culture Show. Xpression Rewind (aka Mixcloud, 12:27) For the convenienve of our listeners, we have also added a page to our website, called Rewind, to allow listeners to catch up on shows that they may have missed and wish to hear again. It acts as our catchup service, in the same way as iPlayer. Not only has this enabled our presenters to promote their own shows; it has also been useful as a way to review and get feedback. Custom Jingles & Promos (4:21; 11:42) This year, our Production Team have been hard at work making jingles which are tailor-made for each show on our schedule. The team also made promos for some of the shows on our schedule, as well as the one-off specials and events we organised throughout the year. Record of the Week (12:49) To give our presenters a chance to plug their show across the station, we gave different presenters the opportunity to pick the Record of the Week each week. So far, we have used this as a way to promote our Specialist shows during our Daytime slots, and it has helped to raise the profile of some of our Specialist shows.
What you want to hear Topical...
SSB Lineup Announcement (0:49) Every year, RAG (Raising and Giving) organises the Safer Sex Ball, a charity event which helps to raise over £20,000 for the Eddystone Foundation. This event is consistently Exeter’s most popular event for a number of reasons, including its A-List mainstage acts. This academic year, RAG kindly asked Xpression FM to unveil the headline acts of the Safer Sex Ball. Our announcement drew record listenership figures, as we unveiled the different acts that would perform at SSB 2012, including local DJs Southpaw, Tonic and 5imba, as well as Radio 1 DJ Danny Howard and headline act Rudimental.
This year, the Xpression FM News Team continue to grow from strength to strength. Not only has the team grown to over 50 dedicated members, they have also increased the quality of their output. This year, the team attempted different formats for the station’s news output, including more one-off topical shows. The Scoop & Bulletins (2:01) The news team puts out a regular fortnightly news show and hourly bulletins featuring student news and interviews. Throughout the year we have focused on stories which matter most to our students, whether they be current affairs on campus, or providing a student perspective on national stories. We work closely as a team constantly looking for new stories to cover, sharing our ideas in regular meetings and we also have close contacts with the Students’ Guild and University Staff. This year, our News Team had the opportunity to speak to our Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Steve Smith, and former NUS President Liam Burns. One of the biggest stories to break this year has been the controversies surrounding the Safer Sex Ball; a ball which hit national news due to a theme of ‘Tribal’ was deemed as ‘racist’ and offensive by students, and also the leaked CCTV footage that gained international notoriety.
The Page Three Debate (3:01) In May 2013, the Guild held a referendum to ask students if it should ban The Sun from its outlets and campaign for the University to stop selling the tabloid until it stops publishing Page Three. To help Exeter students make an informed decision on the
referendum, we aired a live debate between the two opposing campaigns. Even though this was held just before the start of exam season, this heated debate drew an audience that filled the seminar room, as well as active participation from our listeners at home through social media. This contributed to a recordbreaking voter turnout of 2,441 votes cast.
The Exeter Lad Culture Show (3:33) At the beginning of last year the Xpression FM news team wanted to produce a one-off special programme that was targeted specifically at the student audience about their experiences and knowledge of Lad Culture. In particular we confronted lad culture and in relation to sexism and lad culture in relation to drinking culture. We wanted the show to focus on student experiences and create a forum for debate where students could openly discuss their experiences without feeling “uncool” or under pressure from their peers. We used social media to get listeners to share their views with us. This show was the perfect chance for us, as broadcast journalists, to confront a culture that so often goes unquestioned. Not only did we give students a forum to discuss their problems but we also highlighted to the student body, the Athletics Union and the Students’ Guild that lad culture is a problem that students have to deal with day in and day out.
Guild Election Week Exeter is known to be one some of the most democratic Students’ Unions in the country and for us at Xpression it is always a highlight. This year, we had the most extensive coverage of Campaigns Week ever with almost the whole station involved in the coverage. (4:21) Online features and games - the Guild President even Our online presence was the strongest had an hour’s show himself! We broadcast from we’ve ever had. the Forum from 10am to 4pm every day with live news bulletins going out on the hour. Key to We wanted to be a voice for students in the success of the broadcast were the roaming elections week and a platform for voters mics we used to interview passing students on to discuss the candidates running, the Street, also giving reporters the chance to the implications of the positions and do their links from other locations away from the voting system. To receive as much the broadcast equipment. input from our listeners as possible we encouraged everyone to use the hashtag In the evenings, we also hosted debates for #ExeterVote. We did this through our each of the sabbatical positions. This gave promos, jingles, and reminders from listeners a proper chance to put questions to presenters. their candidates and to directly compare who was running for each position. This enabled us Not only could people listen live but, this to tackle the issues that were really important year, we uploaded the debates to Mixcloud to our listeners. These debates were open to within an hour after they finished. We also everyone, and we took questions from the uploaded interview clips to AudioBoo and floor as well as our listeners via Facebook and SoundCloud. We had a page dedicated Twitter. to our Guild Elections Coverage, with our schedule for the week, debates On Air and interview clips. Importantly we Each evening we held a post-debate show interviews each candidate who ran in which provided in depth commentary into the the election before voting opened and day’s going’s on. Each evening our presenter, produced each a promo which featured Jack Franklin, would be joined by two or why students should vote for them three guests as well as an Xpression FM news and their most important policy. This correspondent to discuss how the week was meant that students could equally going and how well candidates were doing. compare each candidate in a new and unique way that only Xpression The week ended with the Results Show, FM could provide. We also coming live from the Lemon Grove. Not only encouraged candidates to share did we have a reporter situated next to the their promos to promote Xpresion. live stage who was able to commentate Of course, we also shared all this via live but we also had two presenters in the Facebook and Twitter. building, though away from the noise of the crowd who were able to provide statistics, On Campus information, summaries and analysis of the For each day of Guild Elections week. Significantly as soon as each winner was Week we set up a broadcast from announced we managed to get an exclusive the Street within the Forum. The Forum is interview with them and their campaign the heart of campus and it became a hub manager. We also had various other interviews of elections activity. From the OB we are throughout the night including ex-SABB’s, able to interview all the candidates, talk to Guild staff and voters. In a particularly magic students and importantly, give listeners an moment we managed to get the current Guild insight into the vibe on campus. We were able president, the past guild present and the newly to commentate on all goings elected president all in the same room to on, including flash mobs and discuss the position of president, how the guild candidate tactics. We also has changed over the year and how they hoped created fun elections related it would improve in the future.
Sports It has been a year of development, growth and success for the Xpression FM Sports Team. The team saw a significant rise in active members from eight to 20, and now boasts three XMedia and Xpression FM awards, including “Best Team”. Sport Shows The team puts out two shows each week. The Saturday Sports Show is a light-hearted and interactive preview of the week’s local, national and international sporting action, aimed at the students of the University. The Facebook Page has over 500 likes, a testament to the popularity of the show. The regular flow of listener interaction on social media ensured that we kept listeners involved. The Exeter Sports Show provided a roundup of local and University sports, including Exeter City FC, Exeter Chiefs RFC and BUCS (British University and Colleges Sports). Unfortunately, this Monday afternoon show struggled to achieve the same level of exposure or interaction that we hoped for. During the Christmas break, the team agreed that it was time for a change. The new term saw the launch of Tuesday Night Sport (TNS; 7:41), a brand new show, which aired from 9pm till 10:30pm. This football focused show aimed to encompass “live” sport into the schedule, keeping listeners up to date with the live midweek football matches. We added entertainment value and interactivity to give the show a twist and make it more engaging for a student listener. We set up our three studios with a presenter, a producer, and four pundits. Two of our pundits would follow “featured” games online, while another pundit provided goal flashes from nonfeatured matches. The fourth pundit would introduce debate topics and track social media. To wrap up the show, we have a football phone-in, in which callers ask our pundits about their views on key debates in the world of sport. The decision was wholly justified when TNS won “Best Coverage” in the annual XMedia awards.
Commentary & Interviews Throughout the season, we sent our team to commentate on Exeter City and Chiefs home games. The recordings were made into match highlight packages for the following sports show. Throughout the year, we also interviewed a number of Exeter City players (including striker Jamie Reid, centre in picture), as well as notable sporting names, including Graham Poll, Steve Perryman (7:00) and Bobby Zamora. The interviews provided great interest for our listeners and also gave us an insight into the life of an elite sportsman. On occasion, controversial issues were also discussed with interviewees and acted as a source of debate for our sports shows, notably an interview with ex-England International Ricky Hill on the prevented instigation of the Rooney Rule (7:19). Varsity (5:53) On top of the two weekly shows, we also covered three Varsity fixtures, including Football, Rugby and Hockey. We provided full match commentary and interviews with the players and management. Our coverage of these events was not only beneficial for us as an experience of live sports broadcasting, but also to those not in attendance who were able to listen in to our commentary. This was the first year in which Xpression FM provided live coverage for a major varsity game. In the process, a number of technical skills were developed and we hope to further our exposure to live sports coverage next year.
Music & Scripts Music…
Our Music Team is heavily involved in influencing our playlists, recording interviews with local, university and national/international artists. The team provides plenty of opportunity for students to get involved whether through playlisting or our weekly music show. Furthermore, the team’s collaboration with Exeposé Music has brought out synergies within Xmedia Music. Interviews Over the past year, our members interviewed Mr Scruff, Modestep, Stornoway, Lucy Rose, and The Joy Formidable (below), just to name a few. The Xmedia Music Team also spoke to Alt-J, Stornoway, Passion Pit, and Django Django. These interviews help to boost the profile of the station within the student community. Student Radio Chart Show (8:34) Xpression FM continued our involvement with the national Student Radio Chart Show, showcasing other stations to our audience, whilst giving ourselves a national platform. Local Music (9:23) We also provide a platform for local acts and student musicians. Whether it’s acoustic, dance or a cappella, we aim to give our listeners everything the Exeter music scene has to offer.
As a station we have multiple ways a local act can get their content on the airwaves. Our Exe List playlist is solely dedicated to acts from the Exeter/ Devon area, and our presenters are encouraged to play songs from this playlist regularly. Furthermore through the Music Team Show and Live Sessions Show, we air interviews and sessions, allowing our listeners to get a closer insight into acts from the local area. We also brought local acts to our OBs and charity broadcasts!
Exeter Busking Culture Show (8:53) One of our music team’s main projects over the 2012/2013 academic year was to showcase the unique Exeter
busking scene in a one-off two hour special show. Our music team spent over five months going out in Exeter to record interviews, performances and public responses. Xmedia Music Show (10:03) While the Music Team Show focuses on the local music scene, the Xmedia Music Show is centred around exclusive interviews, new music and listener interaction, with the Request Challenge, Fortnightly Freebie, and the Manic Street Feature - a column-style feature where any listener or reader can record a piece about anything related to music.
Throughout the year, our Scripted Team have been busy writing and producing new radio plays for the station. Freshers’ Play-in-a-day (10:52) At the start of the year, we organised a taster session for students to write, record and produce a scripted play within a day. In the process, we gave students an insight into how we produce our scripted works. It was also a chance to get students on air!
Halloween Play (11:05) This year, the team produced a spooky play about a group of Exeter students who went to view a house on Transylvania Avenue (not to be confused with the popular student area of Pennsylvania Avenue).
Collaboration Our Scripted Team have also been working with the University’s College of Humanities English Department to organise a scriptwriting competition. The winning script has been chosen, and the play is currently in production for broadcast in Autumn 2013.
Charity This year our events team carved out an innovative fundraising role for the station, taking part in some of the biggest fundraisers of the year and raising money for international, national and regional charities. Xpression FM’s Big Broadcast for Children in Need (13:10) In November 2012, we hosted a 24-hour marathon show in aid of Children in Need, where two presenters broadcast live for an entire day. The fundraising effort of a 37-strong team took in 24 diverse shows, with an array of features to entertain the listeners including the mandatory fundraising wax, chat-up tips, amusing poetry challenges, quizzes, and several food-themed challenges – including mouths stuffed with marshmallows, trousers full of ice, unique mash potato combinations and After Eights on faces… The broadcast was a phenomenal success, with donations raising over £1000 for the cause. Comic Relief Coverage and Club Night We continued our contributions to national fundraisers by teaming up with RAG for the first time in the collective Exeter University Comic Relief campaign in March 2013. The team provided live outside broadcast coverage of RAG’s fundraising efforts in the Forum, covering cake auctions, clothes swaps, and even more waxing. Xpression FM also took over the bar area of student nightclub The Lemmy one Saturday night for a fundraising club night with the nationally-promoted theme of ‘80s’, projecting 80s films onto the walls and bringing in an Xpression FM resident DJ to play 80s tunes, while collecting money for the cause.
Charity Football Match for the Adam Stansfield Foundation (14:34) Our Sports Team have built up a great link with Exeter City Football Club over the last two years. Inspired by this relationship, we wanted to give something back to our footballing community, and to support a charity close to all Exeter City fans’ hearts, the Adam Stansfield Foundation. We organised a charity football match against a team of University lecturers and staff on the University Sports Park Rubber Crumb. At the match, we held a raffle, cake sale, halftime penalty shootout and an auction for a ball signed by ECFC players. We also hosted a pub quiz in the RAM (student union bar). 80 students turned up as the match drew 2-2, but more importantly, we raised £2,000 (incl. Gift Aid) for the Foundation, exceeding all our expectations. Four of our members presented the final cheque to Exeter City centre-half Pat Baldwin at St James Park at the kick off of ECFC’s final home game of the season. Students’ Guild Award Because of the charity and fundraising work that the station has done over the 2012/2013 academic year, Xpression FM was given the Highly Commended award for Outstanding Dedication to Charity by the Students’ Guild. Jon Bagnall, Vice-President for Participation and Campuses at the Guild, said that he admired the strong foundation that the station has developed to enable it to carry out fundraising and charitable activities, something which the station can carry forward into the future.
Presenting the Xpression FM Best Student Radio Station Written Entry for the 2013 Student Radio Awards!