It had a lot to live up to as I went to the 2006 conference in Southampton hosted by Surge Radio. The ridiculous amount of alcohol that was consumed there meant that York had a tough act to follow.
All in all it was a really fun 3 days, though perhaps not as fun as Southampton. This is partly because the drinking didn’t start until 7pm (compared to midday at Southampton) but there are other reasons:
1) the accommodation wasn’t exactly inspiring. Having been to York university before (nearly 5 years ago with school) I had a good idea of what to expect. The rooms were huge in some instances but the severe lack of showers was ridiculous (we had one to share between 10 on the section of the corridor we were on). The kettle was also a bit random, having a cable far shorter than the length of my arm and my room not having any normal wall sockets to plug it into. Admittedly the Southampton hall wasn’t much better, but at least there were enough showers.
2) the closing time of the bar on Monday was earlier than I would have liked (being midnight).
3) the club we went to was a bit too cheesy for my liking (though this is coming from someone who insists on Indie or hard dance clubs).
4) The AGM running for four hours rather than the scheduled two. I don’t think this was due to a lack of planning (though having the AGM on Tuesday would have meant that the conference would have finished on time) but probably because of one issue that was raised in one of the SRA exec reports that very few people seemed to have read before the AGM.
however it’s not all negative:
1) the lake… and the geese! They made for some fantastic photos!
2) The sessions had content that was more relevant than in Southampton and only two had obvious moments of “we’ll plug our company to the maximum while we are here.” There were also no irrelevant sessions: the one about community radio in Southampton was completely useless for us and we were told as much less than five minutes into a one hour session.
3) I spoke to far more people than last year (admittedly I spent loads of time as last year talking to the Junction 11 contingent).
4) Last years conference with a quick exchange of a few phone numbers and one email address… so far I’ve gained no fewer than 9 friends on Facebook (I’m certain I didn’t meet them all) but it’s by far the easiest way to stay in touch with people.
5) We’ve finally got someone interested in building the BurnFM.com website! And the person in question has absolutely nothing to do with Birmingham!
6) We’ve now got a significant number of ideas for station imaging which I’m hoping to roll out by our next broadcast in October.
Southampton still has the edge in terms of the fun we had (the Aaron/Terry incident is still legendary). However it’s fair to say that the sessions were far more relevant this year: one spending twenty minutes on how to use Facebook and what to look out for! Which is exactly what student radio is about: taking radio to the level that allows students to interact with us at our level and give us the biggest audience possible.