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An Insight into Xpress Radio

13 Awst 2020

Xpress radio is an entirely student-based radio broadcasting service. It was founded in 1996 and has won multiple awards. Entirely independent, Xpress radio provides students with the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in broadcasting, producing and even DJing.

The radio station is very proud to broadcast in both Welsh and English, this includes welsh music as well as the shows. They provide a welsh-language show every day of the week including a breakfast show, so whether you are a Welsh speaker or are looking for innovative ways to learn Welsh – Xpress Radio has you covered!

As previously mentioned, the team is made up entirely of students. This includes presenters, producers, interviewers, audio engineers and station managers.

To learn more about the workings of the radio station, I interviewed one of this year’s Station Managers – Andrew Locke-Scobie.

Last year you were a music manager, what was the most rewarding aspect of your experience last year?

The most rewarding aspect for me was managing two new shows, Academically Loose Women and Guide to University. They were made up of entirely new members of Xpress and I loved helping them craft their shows into something that both they and the wider audience could enjoy. Both of these shows were nominated in multiple categories at the Cardiff Student Media Awards.

Last year your role was Head of music, can you run me through what that consisted of?

My role last year as Head of Music was to create a bond between our station and artists around the world. I organised interviews for our station as well as interviews that were to be aired nationally on The National Student Radio Chart Show, produced by the Student Radio Association. It was my responsibility to create music related content for the station, battle of the bands was one example of this. This year we also had a range of projects that couldn’t go ahead due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These ranged from festival coverage to hosting our very own student run festival in Cardiff.

This year you are one of four station managers, what exactly does that role entail?

This year, I am head of music and deputy station manager. I will have the same responsibilities in the music section, while also having the responsibility of pushing the station further in many other aspects too. I have the role of micromanaging smaller teams and initiatives, combined with helping out where needed to ensure that Xpress keeps producing high quality content.

We are in an odd time in relation to Covid-19 but we will be taking this in our stride. We have the opportunity to shape Xpress Radio in any way we wish, with no rules or boundaries limiting us. One thing I would like to focus on would be pushing for a more intensive training plan for new members wanting to get involved. This would allow us to nurture students in a comfortable environment for future roles as presenters and producers of the UK radio business.

Aside from the radio work, what is the social side of the society like?

This year, I hope to create a very social atmosphere within Xpress. It can be difficult to balance the social side of the society in such a professional space such as Cardiff Student Media. This year, as a team we want to push the social side of the society a bit more and expand the student media family with an array of online, offline, drinking and non-drinking events.

What piece of advice would you give new students looking to be involved?

Just get involved in everything and don’t put up any boundaries, try everything out that you can, if you find it fun/ entertaining the audience probably will too! just create whatever you would enjoy and it will make great content

Sometimes students want to get involved but are put off by going on air. This year, we are very excited to be starting a new documentary series which students can get involved in. This means that if you are a bit shy or anxious about going on air, there are many more jobs available. For example, alongside the usual roles such as Presenting, Producing or music, there are Script writers and Researchers too. This means that however you want to get involved, you can create great content and gain invaluable experience.

Xpress Radio has interviewed bands like Kasabian and London Grammar. Out of all the interviews you’ve done, which was your favourite?

It’s so hard to pick just one. The most famous is probably Don Broco, or maybe Genghar. One of my favourite was with Arlo Parks. She’s an upcoming London indie artist who has been dominating the BBC station playlists. She was so interesting to talk to and I’m a massive fan so it was a brilliant experience. Our Deputy Station Manager Sam Macgregor interviewed The Hunna. They talked about doing ‘Shoeys’ in Australia and he gave them their very first welsh cake.

No matter what year you’re in, Xpress radio is a great opportunity to get stuck in with radio production. It allows you to gain invaluable experience, interview incredible people and be part of a close-knit team