My memories of producing Festival of Voice's online radio coverage
What I remember most about that time was the heat. The heat in the training room, the heat at the venues, the heat outside the venues, the heat when you went to sleep at night, but most of all the heat inside the booth, which was on another level completely. The kind of heat that was only ever made mildly better when the door was left open in between segments.
That same heat can still sometimes get to you when you're in that booth, doing your thing, presenting your show, whilst trying to concentrate on several things at once: the sound levels on your voice; the next selection on your play-list; and the occasional passer-by. They’ll take a quick glance at what you're doing and then carry on without a second thought. But we've kinda gotten used to it, especially now that there aren't as many of us in the booth all at the same time when doing a show.
During those brief ten days in June 2016, when Radio Platfform first started broadcasting, our only guaranteed audience were those passing through the WMC. Or perhaps those from Promo-Cymru, who had trained us, sitting in their offices listening over the web player. It was new, it was exciting, but most of all it was adventurous. I was into my sixth week of a work placement at The Sprout, the online Cardiff-based youth magazine and an off-shoot of Promo- Cymru, when one of their volunteers, Aurielle Tye, asked me if I would like to take part in a youth radio platform course. This would involve us covering the upcoming Festival of Voice, with the WMC as a backer, at the end of which we would receive an accreditation.
I at first had mixed feelings about such a project. Radio, I have to admit even now, was not my passion. Indeed I never usually listened to the radio if it couldn't be helped. The only radio show that I had ever shown any interest in was Lou Reed's Underground Music Show, a show that was usually broadcast on Radio 6 on Sundays at midnight, which just goes to show both how obscure a show it was and how my own tastes in music were.
But I was easily persuaded and I haven't looked back since. I must say that the training we had at the time wasn't as nearly as detailed as the training the new recruits get today. Instead of taking our time over six weeks, we had to cram the entire course into two very brief, sweat- drenched days at the beginning of June. Exciting as it was, the rushed nature of the training left me apprehensive as to my own abilities in handling the mixing desk and soundboard that we were to be using in the coming days
The Festival of Voice began on 10 June 2016, and finished ten days later. It was quite an eventful ten days, not just for us in the Radio Platfform project, but for Cardiff as well. As I look over my diaries for that brief period of time I come to recall many wonderful events, some of them humorous, some of them frustrating, but all of them marked as being worthy of remembrance.
The course ended with the Festival of Voice. We marked the occasion with a nice cool drink at a nearby pub and a conversation whose topics mark it as one of the most enlightened and bizarre conversations that I have ever had in my life. I came away from the experience a little wiser, a little more knowledgeable having formed a few more friendships in the process.
I came away from the Festival of Voice thinking that in all likelihood that I would hear no more from Radio Platfform and that those brief ten days would be the end of it. Six months later, on a cold morning in December, I got it straight from the horse's mouth, the horse in this case being Jason Camilleri, that Radio Platfform did indeed have a future and that future was at the Wales Millenium Centre.
It is now November and, after many months of meetings, emails, facebook groups and yet more meetings, Radio Platfform has been broadcasting since May. We started off with just six people in two groups recording shows together. Now we have eight wonderful, brilliant young people, myself counted amongst them. We always see it for the privilege that it is, recording six shows, by ourselves, talking about the things that we want, playing the music we love and always growing stronger with every passing day.