I am Claire and I am from East Belfast. I am passionate about the music industry as I really like singing and listening to the radio. I am also passionate about the performing arts industry as I love dance films; e.g., Step Up and dance shows, e.g. Strictly Come Dancing. I am also a fan of musicals especially Grease, Chicago, Dirty Dancing and Hairspray.
I joined Cool Choices as I am hoping this gives me the opportunity to get into the music industry and work with professionals to see what careers are available in music and radio. I would also like to meet new friends and develop my digital media skills.
I have a 2.1 BA Single Honours Degree in Childhood Studies and I really want to get into a childcare related career but I am open-minded as to which area of childcare. I would consider working with children to teach them an area of the music industry.
15 April 2016
Monday began as a new week as we had got most of the broadcast completed. All that was left to do was to do was scripting, imaging, selecting the music and some of the editing from last week’s interviews. We began the morning by having a debrief of what we had already done and what was left to do. As I had already conducted the interviews that I was allocated, I then had the role of listening to the St James community forum as I had conducted the interview on the Friday before. I enjoyed having this opportunity as I got the chance to take on an editing role except I wasn’t actually editing. This was good as I got to hear how well it went and evaluate how I spoke. My role involved having to write down the times of the interview when they were good bits, for example, good answers referring to our topics and answers in general. I got to have a conversation with Liam regarding the editing of the St James interview which was nice as it was nice to get the opportunity to work with him instead of being in separate teams. I didn’t have to pick out the bad points as this was the role of the editing team. This took up most of the day and then I passed the role onto the editing team. Then it was time to pack up and go home.
Today began with a good feeling as I made the early bus to Newtownards which put me in a good mood as well as having a great chat with my cool friends. I started to get organised by choosing my lunch and organising the day ahead. I started to prepare my blogs for the Cool Choices website by writing it up in a word document to then be posted to the Cool Choices website. This took up the majority of the day however I chatted to David and the group in-between working and l at lunch. It wasn’t the most enjoyable of days however with the craic of the group and David, Lyndsey and Rebecca, this made it better. Just thinking today, I can’t believe the broadcast is nearly finished as the five weeks have flown in even though they haven’t finished. I really am going to miss Steve, David and Rebecca as well as the group. The Day ended off on a positive note as I found out we were all going to do an activity where we all said positive things about each other. I did this kind of activity in Springboard and it really gave me confidence so I can’t wait to do it again to end the great journey I have had in Cool FM.
Friday appeared and I knew I had a lot ahead of me as I had review the questions prepared for Ellen and Gavin as well as St James. I was so glad to have the company of my Cool Academy friends in the morning. This made me good as well as finding out there was a nice selection of food for lunch and really appreciated the opportunity to have a lunch made for me before doing the interviews later. I was able to get the questions finally checked by Rebecca and ready for later. I then found out that we would be going out to St James which made me feel excited as it was something different and I would not only get to meet the manager of Dungannon Swifts but also some of the young people in the community. We had to also review the questions for Ellen and Gavin who were from transgender related organisations. Finally the time came when I had to interview Ellen firstly and then head to St James Community Forum. This was scary as I have no experience with transgender So I wasn’t sure how to react to her questions. It went well although was quite nervous but was so proud of myself. Next it was time to head to St James’ community forum in North Belfast. I was so nervous but excited at the same time. It also gave me the chance to have a conversation with Garth and David privately which was nice as I was able to ask questions I hadn’t got asking. We got there and got set up, when I realised Damien was lovely and some of the girls were so nervous I felt so much better and was able to be myself. In the end, the interview went really well even though part of it wasn’t recorded but I saved the day as I realised the H4N wasn’t actually recording and told David. Soon it was fixed and the interview was over soon.
11 March 2016
When I got to Newtownards, we had a meeting after we had got a chance to talk to us each other and have a laugh. We discussed what needed to be done and then we started to get into groups which were our usual teams in the broadcast, for example, news, editing etc. I was part of the news team which involved making questions for St James and reviewing them as I thought the interview was meant to take place but it was postponed to the Friday afternoon in the end. We had to review the questions quite a few times as Rebecca thought I could make changes to them to make them better. I didn’t mind this as I could see the benefit however it was making me feel a bit stressed as I was starting to feel under pressure as the day went on. Eventually I did get them completed and was gutted to find out that the interview was postponed. I also had to review the questions which had been written for Aodhan before they could be asked and passed on. This brought the day to an end which to be honest I was glad even though I really wanted to stay and get the questions finished for tomorrow.
Wednesday began with getting into small groups, some listened to Jack’s interview and others went through the voxplot. This involved either editing or sorting out which bits were good and which needed improved. Some of the voxplots had to be re-recorded as they were too quiet, for example, my own however it had good content. All of the voxplots had good content however some people were quite nervous and a few needed more detail. We also were involved in completing the videos which were based on who were inspired by. We basically had to say who we were and who we were inspired by while holding up the picture of our famous celebrities. To finish off the day, we prepared questions for Aodhan and did research on Sexual assault and also for St James as they were to be interviewed on Thursday. The interview for St James’ Community Forum was based around homelessness and how they achieved their task of helping the homeless people. This ended the day as we packed up and prepared to go home after having a debrief with the whole team.
Tuesday began with a group meeting where we sat together and discussed what we needed to do to continue with the broadcast. As of yesterday we had created questions for Jack Graham which we as in the news team went over to make sure they were o. Some of these were “What support organisations would you recommend?”, “Are you finding your friends and family supportive?” and “What was your life like growing up?” We made sure to add in a note to ask Jacks’ name, age and where he is from. After we had completed the Jack Graham questions and got them printed out, we got on with getting the final voxplot recorded which was what we were most proud to overcome. It was hard to work the H4Ns but I\ knew the basics so that was all good. My answer was that I was most proud to overcome all my difficulties at university, for example, overcoming my granddad being unwell and my gran dying just before my Easter holidays and having to go to her funeral as well as completing quite a lot of my assignments. When I heard some of the other responses they were all really good, some were personal and some were general. Tuesday also involved us getting the research summarized on transgender and slotted into the new folder we had made. This brought us to the end of the day where we planned for the next day.
Today started off with the usual getting the number 5 or the 7 bus to Newtownards and taking the opportunity to chat to my friends about the day before in Cool FM and any news or information from social media. When I got to Newtownards, we did the usual as in filled in the lunch menu and received our travel money. When Rebecca and Steve arrived, we had a team meeting as to what we had done and what we still had to do in preparation for our broadcast. This was the day when we were getting all the preparation done as we prepared and completed the voxplots. These were based on our top celeb role models and our inspirations which were local celebs or other people in our lives which we found inspirational. These were two main voxplots and the other voxplot we are preparing for is what we have overcome in our lives. The celeb role model could be anyone from Leonardo di Caprio to Kim Kardashian and the inspiration could be anyone local. The two questions which we used to ask both in the practice runs were “Who is your top celeb role model and why” and “If you had to pick one person to be your inspiration, who would it be and why?” Before we could start practicing the interviews for the voxplots, Steve needed to give us an introduction to the H4Ns. We finished the day preparing questions for Jack Graham related to his transition from female to male.
8 March 2016
Leading on from Thursday, we had a discussion as to what we needed to achieve before starting to split up into our different teams. This was so we knew what we needed to do after we had our photos taken by The Sunday Life Magazine which took up until lunchtime. This was enjoyable as they were all nice people and was cool to get our pictures taken. It was good as it was more relaxed because David and Rebecca were making me laugh. After this we got to hear from Mollie and ask her questions regarding her interests and how she worked with her group to create a good broadcast. Later in the afternoon, I did research on Press for Change which is a transgender organisation as we were preparing for Jack Graham’s interview tomorrow. Other members of the group created different sections in a new folder in order to keep our research together. We gathered our research together and placed it in each section of the folder. I also researched LGBT as in charities; for example, The Rainbow Project and Carafriend. I also found that transgender people have their own newspaper which is good because they have their own voice. One quote which I thought was good was “seeking respect and equality for all transgender people in the UK”. This ended the day as we gathered our research and had a debrief of what had been done during the day. After this we prepared for the bus and headed home.
7 March 2016
On Thursday, we got the opportunity to listen to Cohort three and four’s broadcast. These were on different topics which were body image and social media and followed different structures. Before we started to listen to Cohort three and four’s broadcast, we went over the title of the broadcast which is pathmaker although we came up with quite a few ideas which could also be hash tags. Steve and Rebecca also gave us an introduction as to what today was going to entail. This then led onto listening to Cohort three and four’s broadcasts which were interesting and well produced. Both included really good interviews and really good content however cohort three sounded better as it was more natural. I really liked the way there was good conversation between the two presenters as it sounded fun and chatty. I didn’t realize it was played to us that one of my friends from Springboard was in one of those radio broadcasts. I felt really proud of her when I heard her part in the broadcast as she was really open. Cohort Three brought a lot of personality into their broadcast however Cohort four did too but it wasn’t shown as much due to the amount of content in theirs. It was interesting as we got to see and hear from Mollie who was a member of Cohort Three later in the week. In the afternoon, we started to do research for the broadcast as one group focussed on mental health and the other on transgender. I found really good research on Transgender NI which is a support group for transgender individuals. This took us up until home time when we came together to collaborate our information and then headed for the bus.
Wednesday started with the usual chat and banter on the bus to Newtownards. We began the day with a talk about Nigel Gould’s role in the news team where he talked about his background and the different stories he had covered. This was interesting as it was inspiring to hear as he had to deal with some of the big top issues. He gave good tips on how he reported the news and how we should do it when it comes to doing the interviews for the broadcast. This was really helpful as it was useful to know how to interview people who are experiencing difficult issues or helping someone with a serious issue. He talked about how one of the reporters went to Thailand and got caught up in the tsunami. That really scared me as it made me realize how dangerous a reporter’s job can be. One thing he mentioned was that he had been to Washington to visit the White House which reminded of my trip to Boston with my family in the summer of my fifth year. This led up to lunchtime where we got lovely food. In the afternoon, we started storyboarding and developing a structure as to what each section should focus on. We divided it up into eight sections however we only needed six as we had five interviews to get through plus the possibility of having a celebrity so it needed to less than thirty minutes. Once we had came up with a structure we fed back to the group as to whether they agreed. Last but not least in the day was deciding whether to and what would be the title. We all came up with different ideas however some of the group came up with really good ideas which meant we didn’t need to come up with many other ideas.
Tuesday began with the usual rushing to get the all important bus to Newtownards in order to make it in time to Cool FM. Once I made on the bus, I enjoyed the chat we all had together before arriving in Newtownards ready to face what the day had entailed. We started the day by meeting Rebecca and Steve and finding out what we were going to doing regarding our broadcast. First of all we had to prepare questions for Adam mcPeak while catching up with blogging until 11. At 11, we had a talk with Adam mc Peak who is the boss of his own company “I love bass” and Hype in general. This was really interesting as it was good to hear how he created the company and also addressed each of our interests, gaming, music etc. The only thing that I didn’t like was that it was mainly based on photography and youtubing however I was inspired to make my own YouTube page for my Karaoke videos. I also thought it was inspiring that he said “Do your own thing, live your life”. `I really enjoyed seeing the video of electric playground as it made me want to go to a festival. Later on in the afternoon, we researched who the interviewees should be by brainstorming people we knew who we thought deserved a chance of being called a role model and given the spotlight. We had a discussion and each gave ideas as whether it was family members, friends, celebrities or local people. From our discussion, we were able to define our top five which were Nicole Grace, Chloe Mortin, Aahdan Woods, Strength in Numbers and Jack Graham in relation to transgender. Our top five celebrities were Jamie Dorman, Carl Frampton. James Nesbitt, Liam Neeson and Michael mcKillop who is a paralympian.
26 February 2016
Today was the return of being back at Cool FM as we returned to thinking of a broadcast topic and to find out what the day entailed. It may have been hard getting to newtownards however making it to Cool FM made up for this long journey. Once I arrived with some of the group we sat down and chatted to our friends and got caught up. Soon enough it was time to begin as we got an introduction from David Corscadden regarding what the day would involve. The first thing we had to do was to pick who would be as presenters before doing the voice recording. This gave us the opportunity as to who we thought would be good presenters in terms of communication on radio. This was good however I didn’t like waiting too long as it was building up my nerves as I knew I had to impress. Once I started recording my voice it got a bit better with David’s encouragement as this helped me to relax a lot more. I did it a couple of time however David had said that it was perfect first time which I was really shocked about. Following this, we started to pick our broadcast topic as we had a brainstorm. Some of my ideas were university and education; politics and young unsung heroes which was changed to role models. The next step was to pick out the broadcast topic by ranking our top five ideas and then narrowing it down to which came out on top which ended up being role models. Finally we had got a topic which could be used and we could brainstorm as to how it should be structured. It was now time to begin thinking what a role model is and how we should structure the broadcast. It was nice to get from Rebecca and Steve as this made the process a lot less stressful and more enjoyable. We finished the day off by doing research on less known young people who have been inspirational and then preparing to get the bus home.
24 February 2016
I was so excited about coming today as I knew we were doing a session on djing with Steve. I was really excited as I had a djing session with The Prince’s Trust and I loved it. It was good we were split up into two groups as it would have been hard to fit everyone into one room. It also made it nicer to talk to others and easier to come out of my shell. The other group went to the engineering room for a tour of the engineering department with William. The DJ session was really good as we got to choose which ever song we wanted as long as it was in the Rand B genre or dance genre. I chose an old school dance song which was”Set you free” by N-Trance but Steve was not sure of the song I wanted so I had to choose to again. I was a bit disappointed as I really wanted this song but I didn’t mind having to choose another song. He picked another good song which was “Work hard, play hard” by David Guetta which I really like because it always cheers me up. I learnt a lot during the session and wanted to stay there longer but unfortunately we couldn’t as we only had an hour. I learnt not only how to bring music but also how to put effects into music. In time, it was our turn to go to the engineering room for a tour. I found this was ok however it was a bit boring for me personally because I wasn’t really interested in software and engineering. I thought it was nice that other people were given a chance to find out about their passion for engineering. In the afternoon, we prepared our pitches for the last time on the NI Food and Drink Festival in order to present it to Simon Mann. Soon enough, the time came in the afternoon when we had to present our pitches to Simon Mann which I found quite scary as it was only then that you learnt the reality of the situation and how important it was to win. I found it quite nerve-racking and had a mind blank which meant I could not remember what we had talked about in detail.
Thursday began thinking about how I was nervous about learning about editing as it sounded really technical to me although I did learn a lot later on. It was a nice morning as we got to listen to Paulo talking about social media however this brought up a couple of bad memories which made me feel a bit emotional. It was really interesting just finding how successful the Cool FM page is on Facebook and how they keep up to date with most forms of social media. It is disappointing however that they face horrible tweets or facebook posts considering they are all lovely people. I thought it was really cool that Paulo had come with a new idea to snapchat videos or pictures of people sending in their song requests. This really encouraged me to take part as I thought it would be a good and easy way to interact with Cool FM and Paulo in general on the radio. I thought this was interesting as it would attract a younger audience. I thought it was really cool that Paulo trying to replicate a post that Capital FM had put off and did a social experiment to see how many likes he could get. One thing I had learnt not only that day but throughout the two weeks is that radio presenters are really genuine; they don’t try to be anyone else. Paulo’s talk led us up to blogging time and then lunchtime where once again we were provided with really good food. After lunch, Steve gave us an introduction to editing which was interesting but sounded really technical. I was thinking it would be interesting for djing but I am not sure if I would want to take up this role when making the broadcast. . The afternoon concluded with a question and answer session with David Corscadden which was interesting as we got to find out his background. We also got to ask him general questions regarding his career in Cool FM. This was really good as some people asked random questions which made it funny to listen to.
Wednesday 3rd February 2016- Day 8
Following an interesting day on Tuesday, we began with an introduction from Steve and Rebecca and then waited for Darren from Cash for Kids to come in. This was a rally talk as I am really interested in working with children and wanting to help them. His presentation was really good as I felt for the children he and the team had worked with. It made me think of the children I worked with when I was helping my mum out with a photo call in Londonderry. I felt knowledgeable about Cash for Kids as I had already volunteered for them before doing the Mission for Christmas project. This involved me putting toys into different age groups and male or female. I really enjoyed meeting Darren as he was a really nice guy and would really like to work with him and his team to help disadvantaged children. After Darren had finished talking, we had a chat with Steve and Rebecca about what we would be doing next and carrying on doing preparation for out blogs. In the afternoon we carried on working on pitch for the NI Food and Drink Festival in order to present to Simon Mann on Friday. They also explained what we would be doing on Thursday which was working on our pitch for the NI Food and Drink Festival and learning about editing which will be useful when it comes to doing the broadcast. This made me feel nervous as media was not my strongest subject in school so talking about editing was going to sound complicated to me.
Tuesday began with the normal chat to other members in the Cool Academy about what we got up to the day before. I think is really good as it helps the group to get closer to each other. We were then introduced to Richard Ross who is the manager for sales in Cool FM. He gave us an introduction on his role and a quick chat with us and the staff. He started the presentation by addressing what his presentation involved. The presentation was focused on sales as Richard is the sales manager. He made it really interesting as he compared Cool FM to other radio stations and explained which radio stations are part of the Bauer Company. He sounded really interesting as he showed statistics on how popular each radio station was. This led to the task I had to do with the task we had to complete which was based on the fact that this is Northern Ireland Food and Drink Year. This means each month represents a different food type or heritage or legacy; for example, March is heritage and tradition month; May is landscapes and places and April is brewery. We had to work out a way to promote the year of Northern Ireland and promote Cool FM’s brand at the same time. I really enjoyed being involved in this task as it made me more aware of what Northern Ireland was famous for.
4 February 2016
Monday was not the best start to the week as I missed my opportunity to watch Pete, Rebecca and Paulo do their breakfast show. On the positive side, I got to listen to their radio show on the radio and contribute to their topic of discussion later in the morning when we got to meet Pete Snodden. When I got to the Cool FM Academy, I got to meet Pete Snodden as he gave us a talk on his background and role as a presenter. We also a chance to ask Pete questions after he had finished talking. Everyone’s questions were all really intriguing and relevant and I found out a lot of new information from them. The best part of the morning was getting to ask Pete did he know my brother as he made me laugh when he was joking. He was really forward in what he had to say which made me a bit embarrassed as I felt bad for him. This was because he was joking that he wasn’t that good. This made me realize how genuine and down to earth Pete really was. The good times continued as I was able to get a selfie with Pete Snodden. I really liked Pete’s inspirational messages as it made me have a different perspective on how to live my life. Following on from this great morning, I started to prepare for my blog. After this, Rebecca set us a task which was to write about our inspirations or what we wanted to be when we get older and then we had to do it in front of the camera and using a microphone. We could either focus on a placer, person or thing. My presentation was based around how I’m inspired by the charity NSPCC as I love children and I have had bad experiences with social media mainly facebook. I wanted to show my passion for children through the presentation as I love working with them in any context and they make me feel happy. I also know hard it is to deal with negative experiences on social media and to deal with other issues too. I foubd this experience scary as it was the first time we had to present in front of the group although I felt more comfortable around Rebecca and looking at the camera. After we had done the presentations, we got feedback from Rebecca McKinney and Steve Turnbull. I found this really useful as it was helpful and it did not seem too critical. After lunch, we did preparation for the pitch for Simon Mann on the Euros 2016 and then carried out the pitches to see who would win tickets to The Vamps Concert. I found it interesting but quite competitive as I really wanted my own team to win.
3 February 2016
Following from Thursday 28th January 2016, Simon Mann gave us a talk regarding his role in Cool FM which is sales manager. He gave us an insight into what he does for a living which is to promote sales and to try to come up with ideas in order to sell a pitch, for example, Northern Ireland getting into the Euro 2016. His presentation was really interesting as he names many of the brands associated with Cool FM, including, Stenaline and many others. He gave us many statistics about the company which we had to remember to answer the questions in the quiz he was going to be doing at the end of the presentation. I could not wait to do the quiz as I was so excited that he was offering concert/ game tickets for the prizes. The end of the presentation came soon enough and I was eager to win a prize. I thought I wasn’t going to win anything as everyone was so competitive but I was wrong. Soon enough, he asked a question about the number of brands Cool FM is associated with and I answered 107. I wasn’t sure if this was right but then he through the tickets in front of me so I assumed it was right. I couldn’t believe I had a got a prize and was even more shocked as I read the front of them and realised that it was X Factor Live that I had won tickets to. This was possibly the best part of the day and the best way to start the weekend. The final part of the afternoon began with Simon Mann giving us an insight into the brief. The basis of the brief was to plan our ideas as to how Cool FM could get involved with promoting their brand and inspiring Northern Ireland to go to the Euros in the summer of 2016. Friday was finished off by putting our ideas together in small groups and them Simon Mann concluded the day by explaining we were to carry out this pitch on Monday.
After having been undecided on the topic, I was excited as to whether we would come to a decision in the end. I was eager to hear what David McCammond had to say about his role as a deputy programmer and how he chooses music. This was really exciting as it is programming that I really want to get into however listening to Luke Gill and hearing about Cash for Kids I am eager to join any of these areas. During the presentation, he used radio terminology to explain his role as a deputy programmer which was interesting but also really confusing. It was interesting as it sounded similar to the job of a DJ which I really enjoyed during my time in the Princes Trust. He showed us the different statistics of each radio station and who their biggest rivals were. After finding out how music is programmed and selected; I wrote down ideas for my blog. The final part of the day and the best part of the day was discussing and debating our topic. As a group, we went over all our ideas from yesterday and then brought our ideas to life. By the end of the day, we were still no further with making a final decision on what topic to use for our broadcast.
2 February 2016
I arrived into Cool FM with optimism as to what the day was going to include. The day began as usual signing in to the head office of Cool FM and going through the list of options for lunch. I was greeted by the group as I got into the Cool Academy which I found welcoming and made me feel closer to the cool choices team. At ten o’clock, Florence Ambrose, who is the designated Health and Safety officer for Cool FM gave me and the group a talk on the basics of how to stay safe within the premises of Cool FM. During the talk, Florence explained her background and how she got the role as a Health and Safety Officer. She finished by quizzing me and the group on the key points in her talk. I didn’t get a chance to answers to the questions as the group was quite competitive when it came to wanting to give the right answers. I certainly was excited to answer them as I was optimistic as to what the prizes would be. I thought the talk was interesting and boring as it was interesting to find out about Florence as an individual however I knew it was necessary to be reminded of the importance of Health and Safety. I thought the quiz was really good as it was fun and I did not expect to get a prize which made me feel like a winner too. Following the quiz, I got a chance to take notes for the blog on what I done so far that day. I struggled at first as I was so used to writing essays in university instead of diary entries. The final part of the day was to come up with a topic individually and decide on the most popular topic. In order to decide which topic was the most popular, I had to choose my top three ideas and discuss with the other members of the crew. I felt strongly about Mental Health due to the experiences I had in the past. My second option was Lack of Employability and my third idea was Young Unsung heroes as I thought this could be inspiring to those experiencing mental health difficulties and inspire others in the community.
As my Cool FM journey continued, I signed in and headed to the Cool Academy to find out the activities I was going to be taking part in. I started by having a talk with Rebecca and Steve and they told me what I was going to be up to. First, one group began with a talk from Matthew Murdoch, which I was involved in on his experience of how he got into Cool FM in the street team and promotions. The second group went on a tour of the studio tour which I was involved in. I got to visit every area of Cool FM, including engineering, dubbing, programming studio and the news studio. I thought the tour of the studio was the best part in my opinion as it felt a bit like a school trip. I loved seeing the dubbing room and studios while the programmers were presenting aka Emma Fitzgerald. It was cool getting to meet her and all members of staff. There was part of the station which felt a bit similar to a museum when I saw the old vinyl’s and CD notice boards. We also reviewed the photographs which had been taken on Wednesday 20th January 2016. I finished off the day with a talk on blogging and seeing examples 0f blogs. This helped me to get an idea of blogging and encouraged me to create my own blog. It was really interesting to hear what bloggers blogged about. By the end of the day, I was eager to become a part of Cool FM which could be marketing, sales and promotions, programming or Cash for Kids.
My journey on the Cool Choices course began as we met Rebecca in the morning and another programmer called Stephen Turnbull. They began by introducing us to the programme and explained exactly what the course would cover. This included a tour of the studio, talks from some of the staff in other areas of Cool FM and collaborating ideas to come up with a topic we all agreed on for our radio show. Furthermore, they talked about how the weeks would be organised. This took us up to lunchtime where we got a lovely lunch all thanks to Mount Charles Catering Company. I had a choice of sandwiches and crisps or a hot beverage which could be anything. In the afternoon, I had a chance to quiz Stephen and Rebecca on anything I wanted within reason. This could relevant to what I wanted to do or get out of the course or something random. I really enjoyed this opportunity as not only was it fun but I found out how you can get into radio and djing.