Fostering Connection Through Radio
Saffron for Sound graduate Caragh shares her experience of our beginners’ broadcasting course, and how she hopes to use radio as a tool for dialogue and connection.
“Nothing is safer than the sound of you reading aloud” – Rupi Kaur
Throughout lockdown, I found myself sending more voice notes to friends – hearing their voice made me feel closer to them, more connected. I also found myself listening to more radio shows – which brought a sense of community at such a disconnected time.
As someone that’s socially orientated, outgoing – and finds release in dancing, radio provided a halfway house. People, music, emotions – a sense of place. Thank you, Moxie.
Fast-forward a year and I’d applied for the Noods x Saffron Radio Broadcasting course – which at first felt a bit odd – a 28 year old with no real experience in music trying their hand at radio, sure. I soon realised it wasn’t about that. Instead it was about sharing something – that pure joy I feel when listening to loud music, that connection I feel when I’m on the dance floor or listening to a radio show. If I could make others feel a little bit of joy or feel that little bit connected, how amazing would that be.
I joined the course alongside seven other strangers / great humans – each with their own drive and inspiration. We met each Monday and as the weeks went on I realised I was part of a new community, not just creating a radio show. I felt more connected than I had done in a long time.
The curation of my show felt quite natural – as storytelling is a big part of my day job – I wanted to share other peoples’ voices, using the show as a bit of a platform. I wanted people to get to know me, too. Half Irish, Bristol-born, loves a chat and a good time.
Craic [krak] noun — Fun and entertainment, especially good conversation and company.
Craic w/ Caragh encapsulated how I’d like people to feel when they listened to my show.
Finding a guest was easy. In fact, three awesome women were up for having a chat. With only one hour to play with, I went with the person I reached out to first. Meet Corkweigan DJ and producer ELLLL, who you can get to know a little better by listening to my show. We talk about getting into music in Ireland, Gash Collective and Guiness, naturally.
I sandwiched my interview with 20 mins of tracks either side. Selecting tracks felt like creating a patchwork of sounds – some produced in Bristol, some Ireland and some further afield. I took the opportunity to shine a spotlight on a couple of Irish, female producers, and overall wanted to play tracks from at least 50% non-male producers. Being mindful of this when selecting tracks felt like the right thing to do.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT-ISH
As the showcase day creeped closer, our 2-hour slots in Pirate studios felt like gold dust. Each week we gained confidence on the mic (cringing at our attempt at radio chat), changed our show orders over and over and chucked ideas around with our tutors, Tilly and Manami. Slowly but surely our shows started to take shape.
One week to go…
Being mildly OCD and a bit of a perfectionist, this was the hardest part for me. I wanted everything to be just so. After fiddling with my pre-recorded interview late into the night and practicing over and over at my boyfriend’s, I had to let go a little, appreciate the beauty of a live show – and remember that people connect with people that are not just so. All I needed to do was bring people joy or make them feel connected – just as I set out to do.
The live show was on a Sunday – a day curated beautifully by Tilly and Manami – with shows ranging from the sounds of Manchester’s Hacienda with DJ SPICYIVY, the Bristol to Medellin connection with Annie and music that slows down time with Sally.
I had the last slot so had the pleasure of listening to everyone else’s show first, whilst trying to keep the blend of nerves and excitement at bay. Friends gathered in Mickey Zoggs to support and quite quickly it was five to eight – and there I was, USB in hand and ready to go. Once I’d said hello on the mic and played a track or two, I felt settled and started to really enjoy the space. Jack, co-founder of Noods producing to my left and Tilly and Manami in reach if we needed any support.
After taking listeners on a brief journey to the Emerald Isles and back again, I ended the show with a cheesy banger, sending it out to all of the people on the course, our mentors, the Saffron family – and Noods, of course. Everyone gathered in the studio and had a little dance to ‘Girls Like Us’. That moment confirmed why I was there – smiles on faces and togetherness. I left the studio on a little high, keen to do it all again.
More shows, I hope. Sharing voices from more inspiring people and finding my groove with radio, to start with, and seeing where that leads. And keeping in touch with the Saffron family – we’ll continue to support one another, share ideas, tracks and the rest. It feels exciting to be sharing this journey and who knows where it’ll take us.
First up, Noods. I’ll be back in the studio on Friday 14 Jan, 10 – 11 pm, so come through for a pint at Zoggs if you’re around.
And finally, if you’ve read this and are feeling a little bit inspired to do that thing you’ve been thinking about for the last while, even if it feels a bit odd at first – this is your subtle nudge to do it.
You can listen back to all of the debut shows from our Radio Broadcasting course graduates via our Mixcloud.
Our Saffron for Sound Radio Broadcasting course is supported by Arts Council England and presented in partnership with Bristol independent radio station Noods Radio, and their community arm, Noods Levels.
If you’re interested in taking part, sign up to our mailing list and we’ll keep let you know when applications re-open.