Now Broadcasting on University Radio

Sad news.

I will not be writing a column for the University’s student newspaper this year. It turns out that Space newspaper, almost like every other resource at the University, is at the blunt end of cost cutting measures. Last year the newspaper published every couple of weeks but now will only come out once a month. The real reason for not having columnists this year is due to the length of the paper at 24 pages. Technically a 24 page newspaper isn’t really a newspaper at all in my view, but it is better than nothing. At the end of last year there were plans to stop producing Space completely.

So this has led me into a rather awkward situation. Last year I could broadcast my view to all the students, even had regular readers. Since being back at University for the second year I have had quite a few people enquiring about my newspaper column. Even people who didn’t come to the University commented on the lack of Space newspaper articles on this blog.

I have good news though. At the end of last year I expressed an interest to the University’s Radio Station Manager to get involved with Tone Radio. At the time they had full time tables which meant a no. However, this year a slot was available on the radio and I have snatched, politely, at the opportunity.

The station manager expressed that I could do whatever I want on the radio. Just observe the rules, such as no swearing. I have listened to Tone Radio for the past couple of years, know the style of shows and for that reason believe I can make something different. I would say all the shows on Tone Radio are intriguing and fascinating to listen to but I need to come in with my own originality. Something I have never been very good at is fitting in. When trying to develop new concepts this can work to a huge advantage.

notwirelessradio

So today I introduce to you all ‘Not Wireless Radio’. Hosted by myself and the radio extraordinaire Ian Pinnell. We broadcast every Friday 10am-12pm, will have lots of fun competitions and a caffeine shot of music. You can listen to us outside of University by listening via the internet by clicking here.

If you are on Facebook please consider joining our fan page. We need all the support we can muster! I can even add you to my Facebook account that way as well.

If you are too busy to listen to us live then the radio show will be made available for download. This can be found on the usual ‘Musings of a PR Student’ podcast on iTunes.

Thanks and please tune in! X x

Cheltenham Literature Festival: Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine

Yesterday evening I attended my first Cheltenham Literature Festival event. It featured Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine discussing their BBC Programme ‘Last Chance to See’. A book is accompanied alongside the series. The evening took place at Cheltenham Racecourse. I promised you in my AudioBoo a blog article, here it is.

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Stephen Fry commented yesterday evening that even though we know the knowledge, human nature still requires us to be shocked. We may know that the roads and pavements in Manhattan are perfectly straight but still, when we visit, we gaze around in shock. Nothing can prepare you for the assault our senses take. When our knowledge is matched up with our empirical experience of a situation.

Wildlife conservation and preservation seems to affect people the most through witnessing scale. It happened with the late Douglas Adams, the original ‘Last Chance to See’ traveller with Mark Carwardine. After their series over 20 years ago Douglas became a keen supporter in many wildlife projects. Including a project to protect the lovable Kakapoo.

Last night Mark Carwardine commented on the importance of keeping an ecosystem in perfect balance. The virus spreading Mosquito, the willy latching candirú fish or the evolutionary pathetic Panda. Many creatures could be regarded as unpleasant or just pathetic in the way natural selection has made them to be. However it is of critical importance that these animals are to still be supported.

You may know the game of ‘Pick Up Sticks’. The aim of the game is to carefully remove a stick one player at a time without disturbing the other sticks. Each animal represents a stick in the game of Pick Up Sticks. It might be possible to remove one stick without any of the others moving. It is likely though that the sticks will shift, the ecosystem will change a little bit and the danger comes down to when the wrong stick is removed. If the supporting stick is removed then the whole ecosystem will fail and change our way of life.

Of course it isn’t only animal species which are in danger of extinction. If the series were to continue and cover every endangered species then the series would carry for just under 500 years. However, if plant species were taken into account as well, then the series would run for over 1000 years. The wave of extinction we are witnessing now is a mystery still. We understand hundreds of species are in danger but there will be thousands more undiscovered and just as endangered. We are going through a period of time where new species are being discovered and then immediately being registered as endangered.

Should we just let nature take its course? Are we in a position to say which animal is endangered due to our actions and which should be left alone? Perhaps let evolution take its course, just leave it alone and let nature decide. We can’t take that risk though, too much is at stake.

Pittville Campus Closing

The ‘EXCLUSIVE’ tag the student hating Gloucestershire Echo article featured made me believe that the news of Pittville Campus had been contracted specially for them. However, sources close to me have revealed the possibility that the news of Pittville Campus’ closure was in fact leaked. It is then my guess that this news was intended for a much later date, not a date so close to the Open Days.

Goodbye Pittville

In principle though the University should have released the information about Pittville Campus closing far earlier, almost once they had the information. For this I can only find the communication team to blame. It is under my suspicions that a member of staff may have leaked the news (if it was leaked) and the communication team then had to surf off the crisis.

It is unusual to announce a story in a regional paper without uploading an explanation to the University’s website, not sending press releases to further local media and even the act of giving the Echo an exclusive story. These lack of actions suggest to me a leak as well. It was only later in the morning/early afternoon that the story was officially announced by the University.

As you would expect in this Web 2.0 age many have already added their opinions to the debate. Residents, students and even anonymous staff members have been adding their comments to the Gloucestershire Echo’s article. Facebook became ablaze in minutes with Pittville Campus protest and support groups. I had been updating Twitter with the news as staff members and journalists privately sent me messages. This digital age is truly active with conversation. Now this blog article fits into the media mix, a mix no doubt the University will be keeping note of.

So the main question is how do I react to this news of Pittville Campus closing? Pittville Campus is where my Public Relations course is based due to its connections with media and communication.

Firstly, without any solid evidence at all, I am tempted to say whilst the University’s funding has dropped, Pittville closing is the outcome of bad managerial decisions. The latest big debate of which has been to spend obscene amounts of money to fund a London Campus. Apparently the campus is used for teacher training but part of me suggests the Campus was mainly to give the University of Gloucestershire an improved image. I know there was divided opinion between staff members regarding this decision. I know for reasons that I am not fortunate enough to know that a high up member of management staff was sacked/resigned last year.

Even if I am incorrect with any of that information I am right in saying that we are living in bad economic times. Within another recession, this makes any unnecessary spending a bad decision. There is also a rumour that higher staff members have received a pay rise. I am not sure how true this is.

What I am certain of is that this is all news which I have heard through the grapevine. I cannot promise it’s accurate and don’t mean to discredit the University in any way. What makes Pittville campus my home isn’t the controversial polystyrene walls but the atmosphere. The friendly nature of staff members and the air of creativity surrounding the students in an eccentric manner. What the University of Gloucestershire is doing is a risky game. Removing Pittville won’t just be the demolition of buildings but the possible annihilation of an atmosphere. Whether the welcoming atmosphere Pittville emits can be replaced nobody knows for certain.

Oh, and observe the wonderful PR language contained within this news article under the title, “University gets in shape for the future” – http://resources.glos.ac.uk/staff/news/thefuture.cfm

Goodbye Pittville x

Spoken Word

Very recently, as those of you may have noticed on my Twitter feed, a lot of my time has been spent down at my local pub. Work obligations, work experience, lectures, seminars and essays are still being achieved. Just that any time I regard as spare is spent around the corner in a pub called St Paul’s Tavern.

The pub until a few months ago was notoriously regarded as one of the rougher pubs in Cheltenham. Better described as a brothel, drug den and sprinkled with all the vice heavy drinking can lead to. Even being near to the pub at night would bring great distress to passing residents. Eventually the pub was closed down after having received countless shiny warnings and ASBOs.

Since then the pub has taken over new ownership.  Any chavs (a word which is thought to have derived from Cheltenham’s Ladies College/Cheltenham College to mean ‘Cheltenham average’) have been bailed out and to this very day are still being arrested for being disorderly around the pub.

So where am I going with this article? Quite simply this is a local story about how one pub has built up new business, thus changed its image and beginning to thrive. It all began when one of my friends moved into his house opposite the pub. Clearly he had to try the pub and as I only live around the corner this was opportune for me as well.

We liked the pub. As a big fan of real ales the pub instantly took my fancy with their offerings of Fire Fly and Yellow Hammer. The bar staff are extremely friendly, personable and one girl is even doing the same Philosophy module as me. These pleasant impressions caused us to invite two more of our friends.

For the following two weeks a network of our friends visited the pub. One evening, by pure chance really, we all arrived at the pub at the same time. The pub on the Saturday evening is usually quiet. However this particular evening there were at least 30 of us all buying and socialising.

Near the end of the evening the barman/boss beckoned towards me and my friend. We stood in the corner, away from our friends and at first I was worried. Wondered if something had gone wrong, some mistake had occurred. There was a smile upon his face though and he asked us calmly, neutrally,

“Are these all your friends?”

“Yes, well, they all came by chance really” I replied.

He smiled and gave us both a shot of St Paul’s Passion, an originally created, refreshing drink which looks a bit like Tequila Sunrise.

At the end of the evening I had my last smoke for the evening outside. This is when the landlady informed me that all day they had been pestered by the local chavs. A window had almost been broken; a five year old boy almost went to hospital and the police made a few arrests. Hope was almost lost for restarting the pub business again, that evening all our friends gave the pub hope again.

Spoken word is the most powerful method of raising awareness, it serves as the foundation of Public Relations and I have just witnesses it in full force. Spoken word alone has the potential to change the image of St Paul’s Tavern and it is paid only through friendliness, kindness and free shots.