My name is Shannon. I am 18 years old and I live in Draperstown. I am interested in media production. One of my past times is listening to music. I enjoy a different range of music and artists. I also have a bit of experience in acting/drama but prefer to be working backstage. The reason I chose the Cool Choices programme is to gain experience in digital media and broadcasting.

Drugs and Alcohol Talk

12 March 2015

Today a woman named Sharon from the Falls Community Council came in to Start360 and spoke to us about drugs and alcohol. She went through the effects that drugs and alcohol can have, not only on the individual but also their family and friends. She went through the different types of drugs and which of the four categories the drug went under. She had a powerpoint showing the short term and long term effects that alcohol has on the human body. Also images showing the affect drugs can have on the human brain. She showed us a video based on legal highs and how it affected one family in particular with their son taking legal highs and it resulting in his death. From this happening to the family, they set up ‘Mothers Against Drugs.’ After she was finished, we filled in our OCN booklet using the information she had just shown us.

Big Lottery Launch

This morning we all had to be in earlier than usual; but we still all made it on time. We went down to ‘The Hive’ because the Big Lottery was having the launch of their new project to help young people with learning difficulties, young carers and young people at risk of leaving education. While we were there, we had to do interviews in groups of two. We each had either 1 or 2 people to interview and ask questions that had already been prepared. Cara and I interviewed Conor. Conor is someone who has benefited from one of the many projects the Big Lottery has funded in the past. With the information we have gathered, Fintan and Gavin will edit it and it will be sent to the Big Lottery.

Peer Education

This week at start360, we started our OCN in peer education. On Wednesday we had a debate on the positives of working as a group and working by yourself. We were split into 2 groups. In my group it was Kyle, Sam, Elliot, Caoimhe and Gavin. We had to write the positives of working by yourself and present them back to the other group. We did baselines on groups. We all said what a group was and then played a game on it. We also had a task on leadership styles. There were 3 groups and we had to build hats but each group had to complete the task using a different method. The 3 methods were autocratic, lassiez faire and democratic. In my group it was Gavin, Kyle and Cherelle. Our method was lassiez faire.
On Friday we completed more stuff on the peer education OCN which included our skills and interests. We learnt about the history of our surname and it was interesting to find out where my name came from and the history behind it. We also completed a shield with information that makes us the person we are today. In the afternoon we discussed stuff on our placements and CV’s.

Team Buliding Day

Today we had a team building day to relax from the hard work we have been doing over the last 5 weeks and Cool Academy. We got to use Sonya mac’s building which is at the top of the Kiltonga industrial estate. Clare and Cara planned out different games and activities that we would be doing, all based on different communication skills and working as a team. We played games like ‘shoe the horse’ and rounder’s. We also played a game were we all held hands in a circle and had to pass a hula hoop through each other till we completed the circle. I enjoyed playing the games because some of them were challenging.

Last Day!

2 March 2015

On our last day, Rebecca asked us to draw ourselves on the board and write down our highlights at Cool Academy. In the afternoon everyone sat around the table including David, Rebecca, Sonya and Clare and we all had a sheet of paper with our name on it. We passed them around the table and each person had to write a positive comment on your page. At the end, the person on your left read out what everyone had wrote about you. It was a nice way to end the 5 weeks at Cool Academy. It has been a great experience being part of the Cool Choices team!


Today, Rebecca asked us to put together a Newsletter to be sent to everyone at Cool FM to say thanks to them for having us. We decided on 6 topics that we would include in our newsletter. They are ‘Wee Cilla, Raving with Ryan A, Our Show, On the Bus and Thank you to everyone at Cool FM.’ We were split in to 3 groups and given 2 topics each to write about. In my group it was Fintan, Conor and I. Our topics were ‘Wee Cilla and Our Show.’ Each group decided on what pictures to include relating to their topic. Chris K then put all the information and pictures into the newsletter. After it was all finished we emailed it to everyone at Cool FM.

Final Week at Cool Academy

The final week at Cool Academy was busy but fun. We were putting everything together and tidying up all loose ends. Chris M and Lara went down to the studio with Sonya and recorded the script for the show that we had written. Lily and Samuel recorded their links for introducing the audio we had gathered through the interviews. Fintan, Elliot, and Sonya were flat out finishing up the editing of the audio and packaging it. Gavin and Kyle wrote the jingles to be included throughout the show and recorded them. Conor wrote an advert about cool choices to be put into the show also. And Chris K and I overseen everything to make sure it was all ready to be packaged and sent to the Cool FM boss.

Finishing up OCN

Today we finished up all the OCN stuff with David and Sonya. With David, we did OCN stuff based on marketing. There are 4 P’s to remember in marketing and they are ‘Price, Product, Place and Promotion.’ David then set us a task on marketing. We had to choose 3 campaigns from companies that have used combinations of advertising mediums and write what we think works best together. We also had to sum up in less than 10 words what Cool Choices is. Mine was ‘Cool Choices is a once in a life time opportunity.’

More scriptwriting

24 February 2015

Today we were split into 3 groups. Each group were set an individual task. The 3 groups were scriptwriting; editing and arranging more interviews for areas we needed more information. In the scriptwriting group, it was Lara; who was the team leader, Chris M, Samuel and I. In the editing group it was Elliot; who was the team leader, Gavin, Conor and Chris K. And in the last group, it was Fintan; the team leader, Cherelle and LilyRose. In my group, we started to re-script the script with Lara as the main presenter and Chris M as the co-presenter. It was great being so organised and feeling like our own mini station.

Few pictures in the Cool Academy and the Media Bus being prepared to go out.

20 February 2015


Happy 25th Birthday Cool FM

Chris M, Gavin, Kyle, Shannon G and myself got to record a message for Cool FM’s 25th birthday. We had to say something along the lines of why we listen to Cool FM and just a happy birthday message to them. My message was ‘Hi my name is Shannon and I listen to Cool FM for the music. Happy 25th Birthday Cool FM.’ The messages will be aired on the radio throughout the month of February as they are having a birthday month. Cool FM’s birthday is on the 7th of February. It was so exciting to get the opportunity to be a part of this. However, we were all deeply saddened that we didn’t get Cool FM balloons…

Social Media

19 February 2015

Paulo Ross came in and chatted to us about social media and his role at Cool FM. He talked about recent ratings and about how many likes they have on Facebook. We got set a task by Paulo to find videos on different types of social media that would be good to use on the Cool FM Facebook page, the one he chose got nearly 2 million Facebook hits.

Susie-Website Page

Susie, who is the designer of the new Cool FM website page, gave us the opportunity to write half a page on why we would want to be an interviewer or be the writer in the interview, to gather information that she could put onto the website. Chris M, Lara and Fintan were chosen by Susie based on what they had written to fill these roles.

Sponsorship and Promotions

Richard Ross gave us a presentation on the sponsorship and promotions with the station. He talked about his career and he is the commercial manager at the station. He has previously worked at ‘McCann Erickson’, ‘Ardmore’, ‘ASG’ and ‘AV Browne’. Sponsorship means attaching name of a ‘guest brand’ to some form of station output. Great sponsorships will have the right fit and have matching values. Branded content is any activity beyond normal sport advertising. It is sponsorships of programme, features or events and has the involvement with ‘Cash for Kids’. Radio is one of the most trusted/intimate mediums. Current Cool FM sponsors are: A.McLean, Charles Hurst, Stena Line, Fairhill, Vertigo and Donnelly group. Promotions are interactive. They are competitions/prize based. The highlights are product launches and positive brand. It was interesting what Richard had to say about sponsorships and promotions. Roadshows are when they go to the client and outside broadcasts is when they go to the place and tell the audience you are there. Richard then gave us a task. We had to create ideas that would help sell tickets for the RedBull ‘Crashed Ice’ event that will take place in the Odyssey Arena on the 20th and 21st of February 2015. After we had thought of ideas we put them up on the board for the other group to see them and to hear what ideas the other group had too.

Nigel Gould-News

Nigel Gould gave us a talk on news and sport. He told us that a journalist’s main role is to inform. In news you just report the facts not opinions. The big thing at the moment in news is education and health. When putting a story together you must put the listener at the centre. It is the brand key. Some stories they did last year was; ‘bomb at St.Anne’s Square in Belfast’, ‘Hardwell concert-major incident declared’, and ‘Health service in crisis’. Some campaigns they done are organ donations- ‘save a life’- ‘Be a Donor’, and Road Safety- ‘Take care get there’. Nigel then gave us a task where we had to come up with a news story/feature. He told us to think of something we want put out there and how we were going to do that. The golden role is the 5W’s; Who,What,When,Where,Why.

Choosing pictures for Cool Choices website page

We started of the day by looking at the photos that Simon had taken and decided on what photos to use for the Cool Choices website page and the Cool Choices Facebook page. I’m really happy with mine as the backdrop to my blog.

Cool Plus and Florence

Eamon from ‘Cool Plus’ told us about his role at the station and showed us the web page. Then Florence Ambrose gave us the health and safety talk. She told us how we should leave the building in the case of a fire and about hazards in the room. She then gave us a quiz on the information she had just told us and there was 3 winners who got Cool FM prizes.

OCN with Sonya

Sonya took us through the first part of our OCN today which was on the names and roles of individuals within the station and health and safety. Also on what Downtown Radio/Cool FM business produce on air, off air and in the community.

Imaging with Carl

Carl, who is the station imaging producer, took us down to his room in groups of 3 to show us what his role is within the station. He showed us how he makes jingles etc. His role seemed really fun and exciting.

Keith Law

Keith Law told us about his role at the station which is commercial director. Keith makes adverts and does the scriptwriting for them. So when someone wants to put an advert out on the radio, Keith will write a rough script for the company and let them read over it to make sure they like it. When the company agree that the script is what they are looking for, Keith will put the advert together, either doing the voice over himself or getting someone that the company wish to do the voice over and then it is sent off to a place in England to be clarified that it can go out on the radio. It was interesting getting to hear the different adverts he had made in the past and his job seems really fun and exciting.

Ross Tilley talking about the website

Ross Tilley talked to us about the website and about social media. He also talked about adverts on social media and developing of technology. Ross is the website editor at the station. It was interesting to hear what he had to say about his department.

Big Lottery Visit

Lucy and Rachael from the ‘Big Lotto’ came in to visit us and asked us some questions about the course and how we were getting on. They asked us to think of good ideas for projects that will help support young people in Northern Ireland and how to launch the idea. They have 50 million pound to spend on these projects. The target age group is between 8-25 year olds. We were put into groups based on the 4 key points we had to focus on and came up with ideas of projects and hashtags that could be used.

William Gallagher

William Gallagher told us about his role at the station and about the steps taken to ensure that the OB (outside broadcast) can take place at the selected area. He talked about the different lines they may have to use depending on where the outside broadcast is taken place. Most times they have to put in a line and it cost £1,000 each time.

News Team

Jordan from the news team came and chatted to us today about his role at the station and how they get in contact with people to interview and how they package the information up. He talked to us about the road safety campaign that Cool FM have going on at the minute-‘Take Care,Get There’. We brainstormed some ideas on how to improve road safety e.g. Translink should have more buses as this would help improve road safety.

Presentation Skills

Rebecca talked to us about presentation skills and gave us a powerpoint on points to remember when ‘finding your voice’ for example; thinking before you speak, clear and concise pronunciation and be confident. Confidence is a main thing in presentation. Rebecca got us to write a bit about ourselves, a cool fact about ourselves, and our highlights at the course so far and what we are looking forward too. We also had to include a quote that we felt was best suited to us. After we had decided what to write, Rebecca asked us to stand up infront of everyone including David, Caoimhe and Helen and present back. After we had presented, David, Rebecca and Caoimhe gave everyone positive and negative feedback on their presentation.

Deciding on the roles

Today we started by deciding what we wanted to based our ‘micro-station’ on and about the content we would need in it. We chose 4 main points to focus on; Advice, Experience, Self-Promote and Retrain. We listened to everyone’s voice recording and decided on the role each of us should have. Chris M, is going to be our main presenter. Samuel and Lara are going to be the co-presenters and Shannon G, Lily-Rose, Cherelle and Fintan are going to be the news reporters. Chris K and I are going to be doing programming. Kyle is doing sales. Elliot and Conor are doing engineering and Gavin is doing imaging. Then we decided on the music we would want played on air during the hour.

Big Lottery advert

Gavin and I were given the opportunity to do a first draft of an advert for the Big Lottery to put out on the radio to help get ideas from the public on projects they could do to help young people aged 8 years old- 25 years old. We went into the studio with David and recorded our lines and added in music to the background. I enjoyed doing this. The chance that it might actually make it to air is amazing.

Research for Downtown Radio

I had to do some background research on Downtown Radio – for example; the current and past presenters, that it was the first radio station in Ireland to offer news bulletins, on the hour and what type of music they play. I had to create a crib sheet on what to say on the phone when contacting someone to come in for an interview for Siobhan McGarry’s daytime show. I enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Downtown Radio and the history related to it.

Down with Ellen(Downtown Radio producer) and Siobhan McGarry

This morning I went down to Downtown Radio production team. Ellen is the producer assistant of the Siobhan McGarry show and she gave me an overview of her role. Ellen took me down to the Downtown Radio studio during Siobhan’s show to show me what all happens while on air. Siobhan was doing a competition on air and Ellen had to take the calls from those ringing in. Ellen answered the phone and I took down their details. It was really interesting getting an insight into Ellen’s job role. Siobhan had a guest coming in to her show and I had to go and meet him at reception and take him down to the studio. I really enjoyed working on a live show.

DJ Ryan A

Today we met Ryan A. He told us about how he got interested in Djing and how he got a job at Cool FM. Ryan still Dj’s in clubs and different events for example at ‘Secrets nightclub’ in Magherafelt. We got to go down to the studio to watch Ryan mix music. He told us what makes good mixing and let us hear what bad mixing sounds like. He let us all have a go at mixing music. I enjoyed watching and listening to Ryan mix music.

Setting up interviews

Samuel, Lily and I rang around to different organisations and companies to try and set up telephone call interviews to help us get more information for our radio show. We had to get their details and make up questions that would we ask them during the interview. It’s all about preparation.

Making Adverts about each other

A lady from Bauer Media Group was coming into the station and wanted to see what we do at Cool academy, so we decided to make an advertisement about each other based on what we know about them.


I had to write my advert about Kyle. After we had written out what we wanted to include in the advert, each of us went down to the studio with Sonya and recorded it. After everyone had recorded their advert, Sonya put them all together including jingles and music at the start and the end.

We listened back to it all out together and heard what everyone wrote about each other. I enjoyed recording the adverts. Caoimhe then split us into two groups and gave us a question. For the first group their question was ‘what does Cool Choices mean to you’ and for the second group; which was my group, ‘What have we learned?’. We had to create answers and present them back to the other group.


Cherelle, Chris K and I started to script write what the presenters will say when introducing the topic ‘advice’ and the clips of audio we have gathered about them from the different interviewees.

We listened to the clips of audio and decided on what we wanted to include and at what point to include it at. I am learning more and more about my role in the programming department.

Listening back to Audio

Conor, Chris K, Elliot and I, listened back to the audio the reporters and presenters had gathered through face to face interviews and telephone interviews. We started to tidy them up and take out parts we didn’t want to include in the show and put them into folders relating to what answers the interviewee had given and which of the 4 topics it came under.

IMG_2267[1] IMG_2266[1]

Voice Recording

9 February 2015

Sonya Mac took us in groups of two into the studio to do voice recordings. We had to talk about ourselves and record the audio through the software Adobe Edition. This isn’t an area that I want to pursue because I am a quiet person and don’t feel I would be suited to being a presenter.

RedBull Crashed Ice

5 February 2015

We got to play a game called Red Bull Crashed Ice on the xbox. It was one against one and was fun to watch the others compete. We will be doing a task on this in the future. The game looked cool.IMG_0035


Richard Hoey gave us a tour on the engineering side of Cool FM. He told us the reasons behind why the walls are so thick and the reason the windows are angled differently to sound proof the rooms so that when on air no noise can be heard from anywhere else in the building. I got to visit the recs room where the majority of engineering occurs. Engineering isn’t something I would want to go into due to it being too technical.


David Mc Cammond works with programming including editing and the playlists that are played on the radio. He is only 23 years old and is basically responsible for the things put out on air. Programming is one of the most important roles within the station and holds a great responsibility. This is a role I would like to find out more about because it is very hands on and I feel like I would be suited to this department area.

Sales and Promotions

Simon Mann, the sales and commercial director then gave us a talk about his career to date, the Downtown Radio and Cool FM commercial team and the radio market in Northern Ireland. Simon is the head director of 5 different groups. Others areas of the station such as the charity ‘Cash For Kids’ reach out to the community to help disadvantaged children aged 0-17 years old. A big part of the business is concert promotions. One concert they had put together was Nathan Carter at the waterfront. Also the ‘JingleBall’ which they have at the Odyssey. He also told us that 89% of the population listen to the radio every week for 21 hours. Simon then gave us a task which involved an idea the Odyssey are doing during the summer. We had to come up with ideas that could be used for the event.

Presenting with Pete Snodden

Today, Pete Snodden; who is a presenter on the breakfast show, came in and talked to us about how he got to where he is today. He also told us about presenting and what he thinks makes good presenting. A good presenter is someone who can speak well, can relate to the audience and is reliable. He answered any questions we had. I respect that Pete Snodden is an extremely talented presenter though presenting isn’t something I am interested in progressing further with. I would prefer to work behind the scenes in the radio station.

History of the Radio

Today we had a talk on the history of radio/Cool FM from 1921-2000, by John Rossborough; who is a radio developer. We learnt that Cool FM started in 1990 and its 25th birthday will be on the 7th February. Although the talk was informative it is not something that I am interested in knowing more about though I appreciate the fact that it has brought us to where we are now.

Syling and Photoshoot

Today we met Rebecca McKinney. She gave us a powerpoint on the expectations of the course and what is expected from us. Jerry and Luke, who designed the Cool Choices website, showed us how to write and upload information on to the website. After they had finished we wrote a bit of information about ourselves and read it out in front of the others. After lunch, Rebecca went through styling and personal image stuff with us to find out what we would call our own individual style. Even though on radio you can’t see the presenters, styling is still important because you have to represent the Cool FM brand when doing work outside of the station. Simon, the photographer then came in to take group photos and individual photos of us for the Cool Choices website and Facebook page. This is something I didn’t really enjoy doing because I don’t like getting photos taken.