Watching Things Creatively Grow

DemonFM at the Creative Garden

Yesterday was the Creative Garden organised by Dan and Jonny of FD2D, hosted by the lovely people at Phoenix Square. It was a great opportunity to mix and meet with other community media groups, businesses and general creative types from the Leicester Creative Scene. DemonFM was there to broadcast a live show, so we had a real opportunity to showcase the talent and the smartness of the DemonFM team, as they mixed and intermingled with photographers, designers, hair stylists, knitwear producers community news producers, artists, stilt walkers, film makers, and general creative writers. So as well as the sun coming out – allowing Dan Lamoon the chance to showcase his gardening prowess, or at least a naff hat – the day was a great mix of interesting people, who chatted a lot, drank some beers, did some deals and looked really proud of what they do for a living.

DemonFM’s live outside broadcast was a great success, with the team arriving around 10am to set up the equipment. A mixture of improvised gear and students own laptops. Thanks to Aaron, Dean and Sam for putting in the hard work to set everything up and get it working. We used the internal Phoenix Square wifi upload stream. It wasn’t perfect, but it gave us a pretty consistent stream back to the DemonFM studios in the Queens Building on the DMU campus. The sound quality was remarkably good, with only a pair of Sure SM58s, a mixing desk and a couple of laptops. The voice levels where consistent and clear, while also capturing the background buzz as people chatted and networked. We had a prime spot right next to the ice-cream stand. So we are hoping to produce loads more OB’s from Phoenix Square, it’s a really great venue.

As for the Intermission Show itself, well Elle, Aimee and Erica did a fantastic job of producing and delivering a really great show. The questions flowed, the chat was convivial and informative, and the play-through was seamless. Thanks also for Dan, Callum and Simon for helping out with the running and the vox-pops. I’m itching to produce a lot more outside broadcasts in the future, and want to see DemonFM coming from many other locations around Leicester. Breaking the walls of the studio is one of my ambitions for DemonFM, being able to send an OB signal back to the studio will enable us to produce so much more great content that reflects the diversity and life of Leicester.

Chatting in pub afterwards over a well earned pint, it was great to talk with a group of DemonFM’rs who are passionate and focussed on delivering DemonFM as a station they and everyone else can be proud of. We also chatted a bit about the Radio Production course, and the type of things that the students want to see developed. I was incredibly flattered that the Radio Production module I run with Simon Walsh was described as ‘fantastic’. I’m usually not very good at accepting compliments, but I’m happy with this one, because we have all worked so hard at it. I was a little more concerned about some of the feedback about the multimedia element of the course, and the opportunities that we have to push the level of technology. I have to agree, that being trained to build Flash games might not be the most appropriate part of an Radio Production degree, so I’ll have to gather some wider feedback and come up with a plan to put in an alternative form of provision.

One of the areas that I am toying with developing, in fact more than toying, I’m actively pursuing, is to develop a couple of modules at level five and six that are run with colleagues in the Faculty of Humanities, based around Community Media News. Meeting and talking with Jon Coster of the Citizens Eye community news hub has really propelled my thinking. DemonFM desperately needs a shot in the arm when it comes to it’s news content. At the moment it is basic, and only follows the national headlines that other news services follow. It doesn’t get down’n’dirty in producing it’s own news stories. So when I found out that John is keen to link more with DemonFM, I think I will be jumping at the chance to use his expertise, creativity and contacts.

There is a real need to build up the news capability of DemonFM. We have amazing volunteers who need to be encouraged to take their broadcast news production to the next level. And this is a great opportunity to tie new forms of news production, citizen journalism, social media, and so on, into the wider media courses that are run from DMU. In the Faculty of Technology we have the capability to promote and support news gathering and broadcast, now we just need the talented news journalists who will go out and source stories and features, and help to build up a stronger news capability for DemonFM. These are exciting times at DemonFM. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that all of this is happening.

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