Earlier this year, while attending Peel Park Pink Picnic, Chris and I were asked if we would be interested in being part of a project to create a radio show for Gaydio. As Chris and I have different tastes and hobbies, we both thought it would be a good opportunity to do something together. So we both agreed.
The initial meeting introduced us to Emma Goswell, who is one of Gaydio’s breakfast presenters and the project manager for this show. Emma informed us that the project was to create a two hour radio show with the theme of health aimed specifically at Salford LGBT. This would go out on Gaydio’s Exchange programme, which is broadcasted throughout the North West.
We were then split up into small groups to discuss the different types of health topics that we would like to target on the show. I was paired with two people who were poles apart. One was opinionated, always had something to say on every topic, and was blunt as you could get. A spade was a spade (with a few expletives thrown in). The other person was quiet, but when they did speak a lot of thought had been given to their answer. They also hated swearing and was willing to stand up for their opinions when need be. It made for this to be a challenging, awkward and entertaining 10 minutes that I had to experience. They didn’t continue on with the project after the initial meeting.
The project started the week after Manchester Pride and lasted nearly two months. We all met at Gaydio studios on a weekly basis. As this was a voluntary project, it didn’t mean that these sessions were compulsory. While I was able to attend the majority of the meetings, I had to miss a couple due to work commitments and bereavement.
The beginning of the project introduced us to a number of the skills required to do a radio show, including how to use the radio desk, different interviews techniques and how to create adverts. Chris and I even recorded an advert about domestic violence for Broken Rainbow.
We also agreed that the main theme of the programme would centre on mental health within the LGBT community, as we mainly felt that this was a topic that was close to everybody within the group and we were aware that statistically the LGBT community were affected more by mental health issues than society generally. We also wanted to tackle the subject in a positive light, by sharing stories of those who have dealt with their mental illness, but have all come through it using different the different support mechanisms that is available. We also wanted to highlight some of the different support groups that are available in Salford, although these services were available to surrounding areas too.
Originally, the show was going to be live from a Salford venue, and would contain a mixture of live and recorded interviews. But due to the time of the Exchange programme is broadcast (between 8pm and 10pm), it was difficult to find a community venue in Salford that was still open. So the decision was made to recorded as live, which meant that there would be no editing to the segments and interviews done on the day. Unless there was swearing, and these would have been beeped out. This also meant that we were able to use Creation Café facilities at a more suitable time to record the show, and have the sound of it being open while we were recording.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the recording, due to having to be somewhere else. I was gutted because it was the last day of the project, but priority meant that I needed to be with my family. Although, that didn’t mean that I didn’t get involved. All the stuff I did was previously recorded.
The first interview that I did was for Mind in Salford, which I thought went quite well. I was nervous, and didn’t want to be too intrusive, even though I was given permission by Marcus to talk about his own sexuality and mental health issues. But for my first interview, I was happy with the end result.
Then, a couple of us went to Start in Salford, which is a charity that uses art (and gardening) to tackle mental illness, to discuss their LGBT programme which was created in conjunction with LGBT Foundation. We interviewed a number of people who were involved in the project. I found this more challenging, as we were left to our own devices to do it, although I do think we came away with some good content.
The charity creator, Bernadette, wasn’t available when we visited the centre. She came to visit Gaydio studios at a later date. So I popped into the studios on my lunch to do a quick interview with her. I thought that this went really well too, until I realised my microphone was off. So, I had to stay behind and re-record my questions. Oops!
Finally, the most challenging part of the project was to be interviewed and share my own personal mental health story. While I am happy to talk about the topic with friends and family, it is different being public with it. However, I felt that it was important to share my story, to help others that may be going through a similar situation.
This project has been challenging and enjoyable at the same time. It definitely took Chris and I out of our comfort zones. We got to meet and work with a load of people we probably wouldn’t have spoken to before this.
Learning about radio was extremely fascinating. And it’s a lot harder that you think it would be. I would definitely be interested in doing something like this again in the future.
For those that didn’t hear the show that went on air at the end of October, you can hear it below: