In the summer of 2014, I graduated from Stranmillis University with a degree in Health & Leisure Studies.

TowardS the end of my degree I began to have doubts as to whether I wanted to continue down the path I was taking.

This led me to applying to the Cool Choices Programme. I have loved all types of different music from an early age and would love to be able to make a career in the industry.

I have a strong sense of curiosity for how the world of radio works.

Although I do not have a specific job in mind within the industry, I am eager to try new things and unearth new talents while on the Cool Choices Programme.

Day 30

12 March 2015

We continued our OCN booklet on peer mentoring today. We looked into our family background and heritedge. Afterwards we designed and created a crest of interests, values and things that shaped our development. We looked at skills that we have and how we should go about building and editing a CV

Day 28

Today we were back at the Start 360 offices in Belfast! We began our peer mentoring OCN qualification. We completed a test on peer mentoring to see what we know before we started. We also looked at different leadership styles and how and when these different styles can be effective.

Day 23

2 March 2015

Today David completed the section on Marketing for our OCN qualification! I already had a prior knowledge of some of the content. We looked over the four P’s of marketing; Price, Place, Product, Promotion

We also looked at methods that companies use to promote their product. We looked further to see which combinations work best together and answered a few questions.

After this we finished our OCN booklet, explaining what we completed for the show in the past four weeks. We explained how decisions were made throughout the process and who did what!

We completed an online newsletter that depicted the highlights of our tie at Cool FM. This is to be sent around the Cool FM building and is our way of thanking everyone who we have come in contact with during our time here!

Day 22

Today was the final day before our show gets sent to the bosses at Cool FM!

I continued to work on Adobe Audition, trying to piece together our section on training!

Below is the final edit..

Day 21

IMG_2275[2] IMG_2274[1]

Today is the final Monday of our time at Cool FM!! :(

I carried out the last interview we need for our show with .. from .. We got valuable information on the importance of CV’s and how they should be constructed.

I was tasked with collecting audio from the staff at Cool FM in which they say what they wanted to be when they were younger. I used Adobe Audition to put this audio together and placed it on top of a Cool FM bed* (fancy word for a piece of background music) It was my second time using Adobe Audition and although it was frustrating at times, I got the hang of it and found it very rewarding!

Day 20

Crunch time!!

With the deadline of Tuesday fast approaching everybody was working tirelessly to tidy up bits and pieces for the show!

I helped Samuel to write up links for the show. These links will introduce the audio from our interviews and bring the show together!

Myself and Lily-Rose worked together to make a list of companies that we interviewed for the show, collect their web addresses and type these up in the form of tweets to be sent out live on the night of the show.

Day 18

24 February 2015

I spent today arranging and carrying out interviews with individuals for organisations for our show!

As well as this, I continued to type up the interviews we carried out with presenters at Cool FM for the website.

At the end of the day we reflected on what we have already done and what we still have to do for our show. This was very beneficial and gave everybody an idea of what needs done.

Day 19

Today we split up into three teams, each with one team leader. I was selected as a team leader and my team was involved in collecting the final bits of material needed for the show. We each split up and interviewed the necessary individuals.

We regrouped at lunch time and evaluated how we were getting on!

During the afternoon, as a team, we began to accumulate a list of Twitter URLs of groups and organisations that we have interviewed. This list, along with a few short sentences, will go out live on the night of the show. This will enable listeners to access the twitter pages of organisations and contact them to seek advice if necessary.

Day 17

18 February 2015

Today at Cool FM I interviewed two more individuals in an attempt to collect audio for our show! I interviewed Sue, a careers teacher and Jamie from Volunteer Now. I feel like I have really grown into my role as a reporter. I am much more confident when interviewing people both over the phone and in person.

We also started writing the script for our show and finished two sections.

Today was the day when we really started to see the show taking shape!


Day 16

We spent today preparing for the visit of the head of The Bauer Group. The Bauer group run a lot of major brands within the UK and further afield including; Cool FM, 4 Music and Kerrang. We decided that the best way to show the people at Bauer how we have developed during our time at Cool FM was to each make a thirty second clip advertising another member within the group. This showed our visitors that we can use the equipment at Cool FM to make our own thirty second advertisement and also that we have grown to know each other and made friends along the way.

We also presented back to Bauer Media Group, showing them what we have learnt and what Cool Choices means to us!

Day 14

12 February 2015

Interviews with Sonya

This morning was all about interviewing guests for our radio show to be broadcast on the 1st of March! Sonya Mac and I went down to the studio and I interviewed three individuals asking each specific questions about careers and employment options for young people. I interviewed Roisin Sloan from the Department of Education and Learning, Deputy head of the careers services, Christina and broadcaster and journalist, Pamla Ballantine. This was a great experience and I could feel myself growing in confidence as each interview carried on.

Interviews with peers

Shortly after the roles were reversed as I was interviewed by Cherelle and Shannon about my thoughts and advice that my help young people gain employment. Any relevant information that I provided stands a chance of making the show!

Throughout the day I continued to type up interviews that were done with presenters at Cool FM and Downtown for the website.

Day 12

Today we listened back to the Vaux pops that were collected from the previous day in Ballyclare! While listening back to these clips we critiqued the interviewer. As this was many of our first times interviewing the public there was room for improvement!

We then practiced interviewing each other. An important thing I learnt was not to stick to the questions on your sheet, but listen to the answers and see where the interview takes you.

After lunch we visited Cityside centre in Belfast to get more voice recordings from the public for our radio show!


Day 11

Today a handful of colleagues and I went out with the Cool FM bus to Ballyclare on a mission to collect Vaux pops. We were looking to get public opinion on two issues; road safety for Cool FMs ‘take care, get there’ campaign and employment and careers for our Cool Clinic show due to broadcast on the 1st of March 10 – 11pm.


Day 13

Today we split into groups. My group attempted to email and call possible correspondents for our radio show including; The Princes Trust, Belfast Metropolitan College and ‘Volunteer Now’. We wanted to arrange interviews with these organisations about careers and options available to young people nowadays to help produce content for our broadcast.

We also had a DJ master class with Ryan A from ‘Cool Clubbing’. Ryan A told us about how he got into radio and gave us advice. Then we went down in small groups to the studio and Ryan showed us how to mix two records together. We all got a go afterwards on the decks.

Throughout the day I worked on contacting high profile members of the GAA community to interview for a news article that will hopefully be broadcast on Cool FM in the coming weeks.

Day 9

5 February 2015

Our radio show!

Today we started to think about the radio show that will be put together and fill Sonya Macs’ one hour slot on Cool FM. We decided that because the show would be broadcast around Easter time that it should be about new beginnings, specifically about helping young people who may be struggling to find a path in life.
We brainstormed and came up with four main areas that needed covered; retraining,

We split up into groups and researched a topic each!

After lunch we all voted on what each of our colleagues should be involved in going forward. I was selected to be a reporter. My role will be asking people who work in supporting isolated young people questions, collecting this information and writing it up for the presenters.
We also decided what music songs will be played on the show.

Interviews with Susie

Throughout the day at different points we carried out further interviews with Downtown and Cool presenters.

Day 8

Interviews with presenters

Today, for the most part, was spent interviewing Cool FM and Downtown presenters. I was one of the four people selected to help reshape the stations website. The interviews (when completed) will go up on the website and form a bio for each presenter. We picked a variety of questions and used a dictaphone to record content. Over the next week or two, my colleagues and I will type up these interviews in our own time.

Jordan Moates from the news team

Towards the end of the day, chief news reporter Jordan Moates, came in to pay us a visit. He told us about Cool FMs road safety campaign ‘Take care, get there’. The campaign will run for a year and aims to tackle the sheer amount of deaths on Northern Irish roads. Jordan was looking our input on ways that the presenters could get involved in the scheme and people he could interview to highlight the issue.

Day 7

Ross from social media

Today Ross came in to talk to us about his role within Cool FM. His job is to find out ways of maximising the potential of all the platforms Cool FM uses to promote itself including; the website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Ross has access to all kinds of information.

For example,

He could tell us that at 10.24am that there were 34 people on the website.
Furthermore, 56% of those were returning visitors. 44% of those were visiting for the first time.

Big Lottery Fund

After lunch employees from the Big Lottery Fund came in to hear our ideas for reaching out to isolated young people and promoting their programmes and schemes.

OCN with Sonya Mac

To finish off the day Sonya Mac went through the Health and Safety section of our OCN booklets.

Day 5 – It’s Friday!

Nigel Gould on News

Today we welcomed head of the news team, Nigel Gould into the Cool Academy. Nigel explained that journalism is about gathering information. He stressed that it is vital news reporting is fair, factual and balanced. Nigels’ news team consists of six people, all in charge of different areas. The team’s job is made more complex because they have to report news that appeals to both Cool FMs target audience (16 – 35) as well as Downtowns target audience (35+) simultaneously.
Our task was to come up with a news story of our choice and report back to Nigel. If any of the stories were suitable and news worthy they stand a chance of making it onto the Cool Fm news.

Eamon from CoolPlus

After lunch Eamon from Cool Plus came to explain how Cools offers works. We brainstormed a punch line for the site. We also had a discussion with Eamon about what offers we would like to see on the site.

Florence on Health and Safety

Next Florence came into to talk about health and safety. Although this could be seen as boring and dull, it is important and an actual law that people working within the Cool Fm building are aware of the health and safety policy.

At lunch time we got to have a go on the Crashed Ice game for the Xbox 360!


Day 4

Paulo Ross on Social Media

Paulo Ross presented his ideas on the use of social media within Cool FM. He explained that via the Cool FM Facebook page he can reach over a million people free of charge. He compared this to paying tens of thousands of pounds to put up a billboard on the Ormeau Road, that in truth may only reach a few thousand.
One in every ten posts onto the Facebook page is about Cool FM. The other nine posts are just funny, current videos or pictures. It is vital that these videos are suitable for the target audience and represent the brand of Cool FM. We were tasked to find videos that are just that.

Richard Ross on sponsorship and promotion

After lunch, Richard Ross, commercial manager at Cool FM gave us a presentation on sponsorship and promotion. Sponsorship is vital for Cool FM and gives it the capacity to earn money. Companies can sponsor events, shows or even features on Cool FM shows.
An example of this sponsorship is the recent partnership with Dublin Airport. The Breakfast show has given away trips to exotic places all around the world that you can only fly to from Dublin. This promotes the airport for people listening in Belfast as a suitable alternative to the International.
Finally I was selected to be part of a media team that will work to give the Cool FM website a facelift. Our team of four will interview presenters and put this content on the website.

Day 3

Presenting with Pete Snodden

We began the day by meeting and having a bit of a chat with Pete Snodden. This was a very relaxed affair, in which Pete told us about how he got into radio, shared his experiences of being in the public eye and encouraged us to follow our interests and dreams no matter how bizarre they seem.

Introduction to programming with David McCammond

David McCammond explained his role inside Cool FM and gave us a bit of background as to what goes on behind the scenes with regards to music selection. Despite what you might think, music is not just randomly selected. It is important that the music Cool FM chooses to play fits in with the brand image and fits in with what the majority of public want. Although the playlists are selected by David and his team, they do not pick the order in which the music is played. The music is then put into a generator and this generator selects the order and makes sure that music is not played twice.

Introduction to Engineering with Richard Hoey

Richard Hoey came in to chat about the engineering side of Cool FM and showed us about the building.


Voice Recording with Sonya Mac

We finished off the day by recording our voices in pairs with Sonya. What we recorded will be used as we decide who will present the show at the end of the six weeks.

Day 6

4 February 2015

Blog day 6
OCN Qualification

Today we began writing up what we have learnt from our first week at Cool FM. The group went through the questions periodically with Sonya Mac and took notes in our booklets. This is for our OCN qualification.
Sonya also took us for a full tour of the building. We met all the different teams within Cool and gained an idea of where they work.

Keith on advertisements

Keith writes the adverts for Cool FM and their clients. He explained that it is his job to try and make each advert varied and interesting. Clients get in touch with Cool FM and then Keith and his team brainstorm ideas of the best way to go about promoting the company. He presents the ideas back to the company and they decide on an idea they want to run with. Then Keith contacts possible voice over artists and begins to put the advert together.
This is a very interesting line of work and one that may not possibly stand out when you think of jobs within radio.

We got to see the studio for the first time!

Day 2

Today consisted of two presentations either side of lunch.

The History of radio with John Rossborough
The first was a presentation on the history of radio presented by John Rossborough. John has worked on virtually every major commercial radio station in the North of Ireland and displayed a wealth of knowledge on the past of radio, dating way back to its inception.

Did you know?
The term ‘pirate radio’ was formed when entrepreneurs who were not allowed to broadcast on land because of legality issues, took ships out to sea and broadcast from there.

Sponsorship & Promotion with Simon Mann
The second presentation was delivered by commercial director at the station, Simon Mann. Simon explained his role in Cool FM and explained how the commercial side of the radio works. Simon outlined ways in which the station makes money through sponsorship and concerts alongside other things. When the presentation was finished we were told to get into groups and brainstorm our ideas regarding a future plan that Cool FM has in the offing. To be able to present our ideas to one of the top bosses at the station so early in the programme was very encouraging.

Day 1

Today was my first day on the Cool Choices programme. I feel privileged to have been given this chance and am excited to get to work and see what the programme has in store.

Web Design with Gerry & Luke
We were introduced to the website you are currently on, Gerry and Luke (the designers of the website) explained to us the ins and outs of the site and showed us how to upload images, videos and text documenting our time at Cool FM.

Styling & Image with Rebecca
After we broke for lunch, Rebecca McKinney (Co-presenter of the Cool FM Breakfast Show) talked to us about the importance of image and styling when working at the station. Rebecca explained that she represents Cool FM, even when she is not in work. It is important that she portrays the company in the correct way, both in person and online.

Photo-shoot with Simon Hutchinson
We finished off our first day at Cool by taking part in a photo shoot for First we shot a few group snaps in different places in and around the building. Then we had individual photographs taken. It was fun because we had a say in where we wanted our photos to be taken and on the poses we wanted to take. The results can be seen on this very website!!