My name is T.J, I’m a 22 year old Ballymena lad who is easy going and loves having a laugh. In my spare time I’m a novice actor who is currently in a short horror film production which is based in Ballymena. I’m creative type of guy who can find ways to improve any task I am giving, this helps especially in acting when one of the cast forgets their lines I can improvise so they don’t have to cut or retake the scene.

My interest for being on the programme is to gain a better understanding in Broadcasting and Presenting. The reason for this is because I have a massive passion for music, I play guitar (mostly rock music) and have hopes to make an EP and release it. For being on the Cool Choices programme I can gain some contacts to show me what are the appropriate ways to get air time with a single or an EP. Also if the music side doesn’t flourish I can fall back onto Presenting and follow that up as another career path. I see doing this project as an opportunity to get my foot in the door and see what actually goes on in a radio station and understand what makes it tick.

What I want to get out of Cool Choices would be to gain new skills that I never knew I could to, try different aspects within the radio station such as Programming, Editing, Sales and Marketing and Presenting and try them out and see what I work well with and what I don’t.

It’s the Final Countdown!!

2 July 2015

Well it’s our final week at Cool FM with Cool Choices *sad face* so for the final week we have been all been working hard to bring our broadcast to life. From the 25th of June we’ve all had our hands on deck by gathering all our content and piecing it together for the dead line which is Wednesday the 1st of July.
For the past week the guys and me in editing have been working very hard on getting the interviews and music montage finished to get slotted in to the show whereas the guys in Programming and Reporting have been working alongside each other to pick out which best bits from all the content we have gathered.
I know I can only speak for myself but I feel that all the guys in Cohort 3 are very excited and proud of the progress that we have all made in the past 5 weeks. We have worked very hard to get to this final outcome and we also have grown a bond with everyone. Hopes to us all to keep in contact after our time is finished and stay good friends forever.
It was a hard process but worth it all together the show is sounding fantastic and big thanks has to go out to Steve Turnbull for helping us in putting it together. Also a big thank you to David Corscadden, Rebecca McKinney and all the guys in Cool FM and all the guest speakers that took their time to speak to us.
I personally have enjoyed my time working for Cool FM and this will be an experience I will never forget.

I Said, Now I’ve Got My Magic Bus!

1 July 2015

From the 18th to 22rd of June we started to plan out our wee trip BAC (Belfast Activity Centre) on the media bus on the 23rd to gather content for our show from peers that are in our same age group. We did a full scale plan for what we would have to do. I made a check list of things we needed take with us here is the list.

• Checklist (X1)
• Schedule For The Day (X5)
• Clip Boards (X4)
• Pens (X5)
• Survey Sheets (X60)
• Lanyards (Everyone bring theirs)
• H4’s (Rebecca McKinney bringing X2)
• Laptops (Get them on the bus the night before and bringing X2)
• Headphones (Molly, Racheal and/or Catriona bringing their own X3)
• Risk Assessments (Molly and Natalie X15)
• LUNCH (if bringing any/sandwiches prepped on Monday)
• Travel Reimbursements Forms + Money (Caoimhe and Clare X15 plus extra)
• Cool Choices Flyers + Application Forms (Flyers having X100 different ones from Start 360 and of Cool Choices and X20 Application Forms for Cool Choices)
• Media Bus (X1)
• Michael O’Connor’s Laptop and Headphones (x1)
• Speakers (X2)
• Chargers For Laptops (X2)
• Batteries For H4’s (X4)
• Microphones For H4’s (X2)
• Steve’s Laptop With Music Playlist (X1)
• Steve’s Microphone (X1)
• Steve’s DJ Turntables (X1)
• Dictaphones (For backup X4)
• Bus Number To Get To The Place (X1, 8B or 8A at 9.06AM at City Hall left side)
• Bring Suitable Clothing e.g. coats, hats etc.


Soon after the check list was made we then made a plan of the day of what certain people would be doing e.g. T.J Thompson (me), Michael O’Connor, Adian Brennan and Ryan Watson are the editors of the show so they would be editing the interviews on the bus and showing some people how to edit audio. Here is a wee quick rundown on what we planned.
9.30am – Arrive at BAC
Set up
10.00am – Begin
Icebreakers-> Surveys -> Interviews -> Bus -> Surveys
Icebreakers – Michael, Melissa and Conor
Surveys – James and Kyla
While ice breakers are on-going, Nathalie will take 6 people to begin surveys (Kyla and James)
Interviews – Cat and Rachel
Nathalie and Aaron will guide the first group on to interviews while others gets another 6 to begin surveys
Editing On The Bus – T.J, Adian, Ryan and Michael
Nathalie/ Aaron will direct the group onto the bus. If there isn’t enough room for everyone to edit, some of the editing team should run a mini Q&A to pass time
Surveys – James and Kyla
As group gets off the bus they should complete their ‘after surveys’ with James and Kyla
Grit – arrive at 10am till 2pm
12.00pm – Lunch
12.30pm – NRC guys arrive
2.00pm – switched onto employment group arrive (Start360)

We had a quota to reach on the day of how many people to meet and interview which was 25 and we were told to possibly try and reach 50 which we did hit bang on.

Video Killed The Radio Star!!

30 June 2015

We got a visit from John Rosbrough on the history of Radio. He gave samples of radio shows that were on the air from 1920’s up to 1990’s. I took down a lot of bullet points on this subject here are some interesting facts.

• The first radio was a local commercial radio
• The first station in Belfast was called 2BE
• War caused a lot of development for radio
• John Reith a Scotsman was the first manager of the BBC
• There was limited TV during the war and it was the only way to keep up with content on the war
• William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) was a speaker for the German regime and he was hanged in 1946 for being a traitor to his country
• The BBC set up a services programme during the war
• Kids in the 1950’s found entertainment by listening to Radio Luxembourg at night
• The 1950’s was a medium for TV
• Radio in the 50’s had to make an idea to reach a better audience due to TV taking the big stars such as Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and putting them on air to reach to teens due to them loving music
• Radio Veronica was the first Dutch station to broadcast taped shows in International Waters
• Caroline in a few month’s had millions of listeners due to playing the latest music in the 60’s such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Kinks
• The Marine Defenses Act kicked in after a shooting happened in International Waters and the act is that if you held a passport and helped on a radio ship you we’re a criminal
• Due to no laws in International Waters you are also not in the safety of the laws on land
• BBC was limited to play 6 hours of music per day from records
• BBC split Broadcasting into 4 radio shows called BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4
• BBC Radio 1 – Pop music
• BBC Radio 2 – Old stuff from Light
• BBC Radio 3 – Classical and Education
• BBC Radio 4 – Speech
• Tony Blackburn came into the BBC on the 30th of September 1967
• Caroline continued until March 1968, Dutch tendering seized them
• They towed the 2 Caroline Ships to Amsterdam harbour
• 1970 had an election (Labour side wanted state to run radio and Conservatives wanted public radio)
• Election took June 1970 and Conservatives got it but stopped jamming the radio ships servers once the ship moved to Holland
• Isle of Man had a station in Douglas
• 1972 Conservatives made the act to have commercial radio
• London had 2 stations in 1970’s called LBC and Capital
• Belfast got 1 station a company called community radio services LTD and gave them the station a name called DownTown. The name originates from County Down and town in 1976
• DownTown scored on news, there was a report that DownTown got word on a big newsflash of a person resigning from the government and DownTown broadcast it 2 hours before anyone else.
• In the 80’s there was a demand for more radio
• DownTown Radio was another station in Belfast in the North West 1986
• In 1990 DownTown gave Cool FM 97.4
• Cool FM started its first broadcast in 1990 and the first song played on Cool FM was Starship – We Built This City

Start Spreading the News, I’m Leaving Today!!

25 June 2015

We got a visit from Nigel Gould who is a journalist at Cool FM; he gave us the insight of what a journalist does. Nigel told us basically that journalism is going out, capturing the facts, delivering it truthfully and making sure it is accurate. Everything is news but it’s up to a journalist to make sure its news worthy. Nigel as told us that when you are delivering an interview if you‘ve got time, give the time which means if you have a bit of time to spare before inducting the interview make the person you are interviewing make them comfortable.
If ever conducting an interview to get a proper answer besides yes, no or maybe ask “what do you think of” blah blah blah. If you give clear, simple questions you will receive clear, simple answers. 1 key point is to always visualise the answer that you want to receive. Always research and take notes on who your interviewing so you don’t give false information. And always remember HUMAN CONTENT IS THE KEY!!!

All We Hear Is Radio Gaga!

24 June 2015

On Tuesday we got a visit from David McCammond or (Deputy Dave) He came to speak to us about programming and how he sorts out the music for the shows. David told us the music represents the brand and the 3 core things to remember that…

• Is the song they play representative of the brand
• Is everything they say representative of the brand
• And is everything they do representative of the brand

He showed us that a *classic* song in Cool FM’s eyes isn’t something from 1980’s. Their classic type of song would be Where Is the Love by The Black Eyed Peas. And a wee tip to remember is that if you grew up in the 80’s your listeners might not know of 80’s music.

We were told that on the programme Selector there are different categories for songs such as S List, A List, P List and R List.

• S List stands for Stay Current List which means songs that are still current over new content. (an example would be Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk)
• A List is a category for brand new songs and it is on a loop to play once every 3 hours (an example would be OMI – Cheerleader)
• P List stands for Power Current List which songs in the S List go to after. (an example would be Clean Bandit – Rather Be)
• R List stands for Recurrent List which means songs that are still current would be in here (an example would be P!nk – Raise Your Glass)

David told us that there is perks to working in the programming sector such as going on trips to promote a competition (going to Las Vegas for a OB), working with Rebecca McKinny, Pete Snodden and Paulo Ross and get to book acts for the Cool FM Jingle Ball.

Everybody’s gone Surfing… Surfing the Internet!

12 June 2015

Later on in the day we got a visit from Wayne Denner who’s a computer whiz and gave us a talk on Online Reputation and What it Says About You. We got started on a bit of history on Wayne such as that he ran a website called www.outlastnight.com which was made in 90’s before Bebo, Facebook and Twitter we’re invented. It basically was a social site which had photos of you if you were out in a facility where Wayne and his colleagues were, the average user base was from 45 to 50 thousand and the website came to an end when Bebo started. Wayne is nominated for an award for best invention of 2015, his invention is an app that can find negative content on your Facebook or Twitter and delete it. He said the idea came from a statistic showing that 93% of employers look up the applicants online and browse through Facebook to see if they are the people they say they are online.
Wayne gave us more of an insight on statistics with different internet aspects such as…

• 900,000 people in the EU have digital shortage skills
• 276 times we check our phones
• 10 hours a day we spend on Snapchat
• 600,000 tweets are sent per second (isn’t that crazy)
• 82% of children pictures always end up on a parasite website
• There’s been a rise on Virtual Kidnapping
• 60% don’t read what they retweet
• 59% of teens delete or edit something they post
• 83% of recruiters get put off by drug use that’s put on an applicants Facebook
• 70% of recruiters get put off by sexual posts
• 44% of recruiters get put off by alcohol posts
• 35% of recruiters are less to interview someone they can’t find online
• And 78% of teens have committed suicide due to cyber bullying

We have been told a Golden Rule when it comes to internet safety which is *Generate Positive Content* which means if you have something positive to say nothing negative can be said about you. Tip on internet safety is to Google yourself or type your name in different search engines to see if anything negative is being said. And finally contribute to the internet and become an online influencer.

FLASH! AHHHHH Simon Say’s Photography!

11 June 2015

On the Friday we got a visit from Simon Hutchinson the photographer who did our photos for the website. He came in to talk to us about how he gets the perfect image and what type of software he uses to edit the photos. Simon told us that he does a variety of photos such as engaging with people to bring out their inner smile to food and drink in a restaurant. He got very technical on the camera side of things which confused most of us but Michael O’Conner was fascinated by it. Simon told us to get a good quality picture you have to carefully place the subject to gain the better quality and that you have to balance out the light on the shutter time. The most consuming part of photography is editing, one of the software which Simon uses is Light Room which he does all of his editing. He said that he used Kodak Gold and Kodak Gold 200 on our photos and showed us the before and after of our photos and the differences are outstanding.

Today’s Gonna Be a Great Day!

I don’t know how to start this so I’ll dive straight into it. Our first proper day at Cool FM and we stuck straight into what we were going to do on our 5 weeks at Cool. Rebecca McKinney gave us full detail on what we are going to be doing on the course. We did a game on guessing how many presenters there are in Cool FM and then we got the proper rundown on who’s on at certain times. Soon after we got a chance to pick the brains of Rebecca McKinney, Steve Turnbull and David Corscadden. We got to ask radio interview type questions to all 3 to get more of an insight of their personalities and backgrounds. It feels like we’ve formed a bond!!
By doing the interview task it gave us more of an idea on how to properly ask a question to someone and if your question does get asked you still can ask it but in a different formant. This helps for when we will be doing the proper interviews for our show.

Let’s Get Technical!

At the start of Day 2 we got a visit from Florence Ambrose who is the Features/Programme Co-ordinator at Cool FM, Downtown and Downtown Country. She also is the head of Health and Safety. She gave us the idea of what way she does the health and safety of the building and what procedures she has to go through when a visitor arrives. She also gave us a quiz to do afterwards and whoever got the most points won a prize, Melissa Riddell won! Soon after Steve Turnbull took over and gave us a detailed insight on sound imaging. He showed us certain ways to edit audio such as your voice for recording an ad. He also showed us how to edit your audio so that if you have a sound track that is louder than your voice, you can alter it so it is in sync with your voice.
His tips and tricks actually helped me on how to edit my voice in an audio processer because I do some YouTube videos and the quality isn’t great but with Steve’s knowledge it has helped me to do it better.

Twilight of the Innocents (Ash)

On Wednesday we got word that some of us would be getting a chance to interview the band Ash in the Limelight on Monday 8th June 2015. Later on in the day we were told that we would have to write up 8 questions to ask Ash based on the topic of Body Image which is our subject to talk about on air.
We got a visit from Cool FM’s very own Paulo Ross who talked to us about what his average day is like at Cool FM. He told us besides doing The Breakfast Show with Pete and Rebecca and his other show on Saturday afternoons. He is always using social media such as Facebook and Twitter for Cool FM. He showed us some things that he does on the Cool Facebook such as what way he schedule’s his content for certain times.
Paulo then told us certain ways in which websites generate revenue using advertisements. He explained the best way to grab attention on Facebook is to have something that is eye catching because in today’s society it only takes 3 seconds to view content on Facebook before moving on.

Cash for Kids Talk

Later on that day we got a visit from Darren Fowler from Cash for Kids; Cool FM, Downtown Radio and Downtown Country’s charity organisation. He explained the criteria to gain support from them including needing to be under 18, living in Northern Ireland and highlighting what is the disadvantage and how Cash for Kids can help. Darren also showed us other aspects the Cash for Kids charity is involved in. For example used a slide show presentation showing on of the previous candidates they have supported. A child called Billy who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy whose mother contacted them for help. Cash for Kids responded and helped him get the treatment he needed to be able to walk and by extension help improve his mental well-being feeling more ‘normal’ amongst his friends and peers. Billy’s mother kept in touch with Billy’s progress but recently they haven’t heard anything else, and Darren said that it’s a rare occasion that they do get updates.
Cash for Kids has been around since 2008 and to date, they have raised over £2.7 million and helped thousands of local children in Northern Ireland. Not bad for a charity that started off with a piece of paper, a Funderland pen, 2 full time workers, a regional manager and a volunteer student! The logo was actually made from 2 kids who were finger painting in Newcastle and the painting stuck. If you need to contact Cash for Kids the website is (http://www.coolfm.co.uk/charity/) and you can apply.