My name is Liam, I’m a 20 year old media enthusiast. I started my own little media & promotional business in which I produce video advertisements for local businesses, I also do photography for nightclubs and pubs in my local area.
On top of that I produce High Quality video blogs of my day to day life which currently has gained around 150,000 video views, In my spare time I do an hour long broadcast/live stream to a following of 5,000 followers on a site called younow. When creating this I use very high quality equipment (Including a condenser microphone and 1080p webcam)
To finish off my ideal career path would be creating content either by hosting a successful visual or auditory method of entertainment and I’m willing to work hard to achieve it!!

Day 17: Everything’s Coming Together

18 March 2016

Today I’m starting to get a sense of relief because it feels like it’s all coming together! Me & Thomas started editing the Voxpops today, the interview team and the presenters sat in with us to hear how they sounded when they were edited and how they could be linked to the script.

Me, Conor & Clare sat down with rebecca a little later to see which of the skits could be used some got thrown out and the ones that got chosen Rebecca helped Conor and Clare refine the scripting while I went back to editing.

After lunch a friend of mine Jack Graham came in as he was one of our Role Models on the list as well as a previous cool choices participant! Misky took Jack to the studio down stairs to complete the LGBT interview.

When they had finished, the raw interview popped up on my screen in the editing sweet so I started editing it straight away! The first interview already beginning to be edited! We’re moving in the right direction!

What\’sort H4ppening!

Today was one of the busiest days as of yet! We started this morning by having a group chat to Steve and Rebecca during which they let us know how much pressure was soon to be on the editing teams shoulders.. oh boy that sounds exciting! I’m just kidding, I love the pressure, let’s do it!

Before lunch as there was nothing to edit so we did some general research, I myself focused on Michael McKillop as he is one of the role models we have put on our interview list.

Steve took us for a quick tutorial on how to use a h4n it was great getting a quick refresher on how to use it seen as I hadn’t used one in a while.

Straight after the tutorial I took it upon myself to get the voxpops with the cohert recorded so we could start getting some material created for me and the other editors to get working on! Caprice who is part of the news team came in to help record the rest of the Voxpops and actually recorded mine! Thanks cap!

For the broadcast itself I came up with a skit to start the broadcast so I have been put on the skit team alongside Conor to scripth tbe beginning. We did encounter some difficulties including some of the skits maybe not agreeing with some of the stories we were covering so we put out heads together and quickly thought of an alternative.

Day 15: Getting our face in the paper!

11 March 2016

Today we met a lovely girl called Molly who was in Cohort 3, she was in today because the Sunday Life we writing an article on herself and the cool choices program.

Before her interview with the paper Molly told us the story of her past and explained how she used the cool choices program to get herself back on track when going through a difficult time, we then asked her some questions and I found out that she to was a massive Harry Potter Fan.. I can’t remember how it came up but we were instantly friends! ❤

During lunch Mark Mahaffy the Managing Director of Cool FM came to visit and have a chat with us telling us about his background and his general role with in the station, after which we got to ask him some questions to learn further about him, I was very interested in the stress levels of his career which he said he remains quite calm which is very admirable is such a variable market. Like a lot of people at Cool they all moved from newspaper.. I’m starting to see a trend between working in newspaper and ending up in radio hmm.. maybe it’s the secret.

To end the day someone from the Sunday .. came and wanted to take photos of the group for the paper to go with the article that Molly was doing today It turned out to be a pretty nice group photo!

Day 6: Lights, Camera, Action!

Day 13: Crunch Time!

7 March 2016

When we arrived today we met a man called Nigel Gould who I believe is the head of the news team in Downtown, I asked him some tricky questions that I thought would put him on the spot seen as it would have been him now being the individual being in a kind of interview scenario, I asked him some tricky current political questions and I felt he answered them very well and was able to remain on neutral ground.

He then proceeded to tell us some interview tips and techniques that he has picked up over the years and what he would recommend, this advice will be great for the interview team but Ive taken notes all the same because I’ll never know when they could come in handy!

To finish the day we sat with Rebecca and started setting up the layout of the broadcast on the board basically stating what order each segment is going to be done, Rebecca was very impressed by how well we were getting through this as a group, It’s very exciting starting to see a project we’ve been talking about for weeks finally starting to pull together and creating something entertaining!

Day 12: Starting a business from playing Halo?

To start off the morning today Adam McPeake, the owner of The Hype Factory and I Love Bass dropped in to Cool FM to talk to us about his odd rise to the top of the visual production game and how it all originated from his love of editing halo videos and making Machinima.

He told us about them getting their new office soon and showed us his favourite go-to equipment and explained of their tradition of throwing their new photographers in to the deep end and having them work in one of the busiest clubs in Belfast in order to teach them how to work in an intense environment.

He gave us some contact information to get in touch with him and suggested possible work opportunities! This sounded very interesting seen as I have a passion for photography and cinematography!

To finish the day we worked on creating a storyboard for how the broadcast was going to be laid out and some ideas for who we should be interviewing, all in all today was quite eventful and I feel that Ive took some good stuff away from it!

Day 14: Putting Meat On The Bones! ☠

When I came in this morning that pesky step at the entrance of cool fm doors tripped me up again! (Step 2 – Liam 0) but thankfully the almighty Matthew (another cool choices member) welcomed me with a cup of coffee! After this Steve and David let us listen to the broadcasts that the two previous Cohorts had created, David explained that so far ‘We’ve built the skeletal system & now it’s time to put some meat on the bones!’.

In terms of how the broadcasts were put together I’m going to have to choose Cohort 3 (body image) in comparison to Cohort 4 (social media) as it sounded much more natural and not as rushed via the editing. In saying that both broadcasts were great & have set a high standard for us but I know that if we pull our heads together we can knock this out of the park and top the previous Cohorts.


Day 11: My Dad Saved a Woman!?

So it’s the third week at cool fm I’m so excited! But.. I’m missing today.. for a perfectly good reason of course, my dad was being given a reward by the mayor at city hall and I couldn’t miss it!

Quick background story is that my dad is a postman and over Christmas when on his walk a woman collapsed and stopped breathing so he performed CPR and resuscitated her, she then contacted royal mail to find out who my dad was and then events came in to fruition that then lead to the Belfast lord mayor contacting my dad to give him a reward for his bravery.

So we got dressed up, I love any excuse to wear a suit and then made our way as a family to city hall where my dad was given his medal.. and I couldn’t resist asking the Lord mayor could I get a photo with his chain.

Immediately after the lovely little event I contacted the group to find out what they had been doing and it turned out they had decided the roles of who was going to be doing what within the broadcast and did voice tests in order to decide who the presenters would be and sadly I wasn’t there to take part although I know that Conor and Clare will both do a fantastic job!

It turns out that the group, although I wasn’t there have decided I’ll be doing the station imaging, (meaning Ill still be talking on the radio) and editing! I’ll make sure that I’m doing both to as high a standard as I can! Im really appreciative that they still took me in to consideration!

Starting to feel like we’re becoming a bit of a family.

Day 9: How To Get Half A Million Likes!

26 February 2016

Today is the day we finally met Paulo Ross, a name that everyone has kept mentioning from the moment we arrived at Cool FM! Quick background for him is when he started out at Cool FM they had around 70k likes on Facebook and under his control of the page he has got Cool FM to 500k+ likes. He explained to us quickly of his background and how he just happened to run the Cool FM page by coincidence and that it just takes one post to go viral to attract a lot of attention to an individual page, in cool FM’s case it was ‘The Dancing Dog’ video.
Paulo also looked at one of the competitor networks and performed a social experiment where he made his own equivalent of another pages meme that lacked detail and showed that by making it in a certain style and with better detail he showed that he could dominate them in the level of engagement that the image received.
We then were given the challenge to go off and design our own ideas for memes and I really enjoyed it, I tend to find that some of the best memes may be deemed inappropriate so thinking of clean ones were refreshing and then we had to present them to the group I must say everyone had some very funny pictures!

I must say today was very enjoyable!

Day 10: Steve ‘Turntable’

Today was the first day in Cool FM that we had to start our paper work in order to actually get the qualification, when we were first shown the booklet.. I’m not going to lie it looked bigger than my future but the way in which it was formatted it wasn’t as bad filling it out as I thought it would be.

After the paper work was finished we got split into 2 groups and got took on two different tours, the first one I did was the DJ crash course with Steve Turnbull which was by far one of my favourite experiences so far and has really interested me in producing music mixes using a turntable, perhaps a future investment, I actually found it quite difficult in the beginning but from watching others closely I was able to learn and do it well on my second try.

Secondly we went on a tour of the programming department with William Gallagher which personally made me feel like I was back in A-level computing and GCSE ICT as it was a tour showing the vast amounts of computer components and the technical side of the studio including hard drives and computer processors used to keep the studio’s running smooth.

Day 8: Beardy & The Beats!

24 February 2016

Today was quite an anticipated day we were finally meeting ‘The guy with the awesome beard’.. Totally wish I could pull that off! On a more formal basis his name was Darren Fowler and he is the head of ‘Cash For Kids’ and he took us through a presentation of some of the projects that they have funded so far and he let us in on some history and facts about Cash For Kids.

So after Darren’s presentation and he left in the ‘Cash for Kids Chopper’.. which totally exists! We got back in to our groups and continued to work on our ‘Heritage and Tradition’ ideas for our brief from Richard Ross about ‘NI – Food & Drink’. The plan for today was to refine our idea so that it is of a high enough standard to present is to Simon tomorrow.

Then to finish the day, after lunch Steve Turnbull was teaching us about Station Imaging (Straplines & Sonic Branding) The idea of subconsciously linking a sound to the radio station baffled me and I was amazed to see how many large company sonic sounds I’d actually knew in the game Steve had made. To finish the day we were given a brief tutorial on editing sounds in Adobe Audition which is something I found very interesting seen as I’m editing a song at the moment.

Day 7: Anxiety & The Power Of Advertising

When I arrived this morning I started with my trusty cup of routine green tea while waiting on Richard Ross who is the Commercial Manager for Cool FM, Downtown & Downtown Country.

When he arrived he walked us through a step by step presentation of Sales & Promotions, I learnt so much as to what ad placement is and how putting an ad on at different times of day, or different stations targets specific age groups.
We looked also at how one of the most important elements was the content of the advertisements and what time of day they were aired, a good example he gave was that you wouldn’t put an advertisement on In the afternoon about selling beds, yet advertising food would have a larger impact because everyone will be hungry around lunch time and the add may influence the listener to eat at the advertised establishment.

As the presentation finished Richard Ross gave us us a real life brief that his team is currently working on! ‘Northern Ireland – The Year of Food & Drink’ and each month is linked to a different event. In order to think of ideas we were split into groups and told the best ideas may be rewarded, I was paired with Clare, Matthew and Misky, all the groups then selected a different month, ours chose ‘Culture & Tradition’, in the beginning I felt it difficult to think of strong plans but once the team got the ball rolling I got into the swing of things and was able to give some great ideas!

Now for the most anticipated part of the day that I feel was saved for last to build some serious tension! We had to watch what was recorded yesterday, I don’t mind watching myself on camera but I knew my fail was coming up and I was a ticking time bomb of anxiety watching it!
When I finally seen my fail I realised what Rebecca and Steve meant by me being to critical of myself because my ‘Fail’ wasn’t to bad but I must say I feel like this exercise has built my confidence a lot and feel that I’ve learnt so much more from making a mistake than if I had have got it perfect!

Day 5: Getting ⬇ To Business!

Its Friday and that means after today it will be the end of week one at Cool FM! It’s amazing how much you can cover and learn in such a short amount of time!

On arrival today we were told we would be meeting the Commercial Director of Cool FM Simon Mann, and as the commercial director he has quite a vital role in ‘keeping the lights on’ in the station as he is in charge of Sales, Sponsors and Promotion.

When he arrived he started with an introduction and asked us some general questions to get to know us and then got in to business! He showed us the statistics of the downtown stations including; Cool FM, Downtown & Downtown Country, and taught us what we could do with these stats.

After his talk he showed us a brief that cool fm are genuinely working on and gave us the task to break up in to little groups and come up with ideas for promoting this event, I was finding it difficult to come up with ideas and this frustrated the heck out of me.. (note to self: get more sleep)

On a brighter note To finish off a great week Steve & Rebecca told us we had to decide on our subject for our broadcast! As I said in a previous blog about how I wasn’t very excited about the two topics previously discussed so I said that to the group today and a few people shared the same concerns. I suggested a topic from a list we made when group brain storming and the team seemed very happy with it, so the final decision came to ‘Safety on a night out’ which I think is a fantastic choice because of the target audience age of 15 – 35.. also I can already think of some parodies off the top of my head to make it comical while also making it informative.

I’m getting very excited about what is still to come!

Day 4: Deputy Dave’s Roundup!

16 February 2016

When we arrived today we were given the task of guessing & thinking about how many viewers we thought Cool FM got on a weekly basis before David McCammond, (Deputy Dave) the deputy program controller of Cool FM came to talk to us I guessed 250,000 a week and amazingly it actually turned out to be 375,000 listeners which to me sounds like an amazing figure to be hitting!

David also explained to us how radio stations receive their statistics from an official body called RAJAR, and how when they arrive they’re own figures are quickly compared with competitor stations to see where they’re dominating and where has room for improvement.

Something that really interests me is audience retention for my own personal work so Dave explained to me methods of doing this using A class tracks in an application called ‘selector’ which is the worlds most widely used scheduling program and it is preset in order to reach Cool FM’s target audience of 15 – 35! We literally covered so much today yet it felt like it only lasted an hour!

Day 3: Enslaved By The Bell ⏰

5 February 2016

Didn’t get home from work until 5am last night and I’ve had such little sleep, I physically couldn’t get up for my alarm at 7am. I’m so mad at myself after being given this opportunity and Ive already missed a day! Who would have knew you needed sleep that much?
What’s done is done and all I can do is ask for forgiveness and make sure I keep my work at a high standard to make up for it! I have to now go and contact everyone in the group chat we created with the other Cool Choices participants and find out what happened today while I was off.

So I contacted what I found out a lady called Florence Ambrose the health and safety advisor came in and showed the routes to fire escapes and told the team of her first aid training.

On top of that the team also debated on what subjects they wanted to do our radio broadcast on, they were choosing between mental issues with youth and unsung heroes. I don’t know how I feel about these but no final decisions have been made yet so I’ll talk to everyone tomorrow about it & we’ll discuss other possible options, although if the group have settled on these subjects Im more than happy to take part and work with them on it!

Day 2: We Are Live! ★

Luke Gill, the website designer for this blog you’re reading now came in today and showed us how to use the site and some examples of the previous blogs done. We chose what pictures we were going to use that we had taken last week by Simon Hutchinson and may I say we all look awesome!

Steve Turnbull took us on a tour of the entirety of downtown radio today where we met all the cool people all the way from sales and promotions right to the radio boothes and technical team. I made sure to get plenty of photos in the studio in front of the microphone to make my social media *cough cough* instagram look delightful.

After the tour we were introduced to a guy called ‘Matt’ who was brought to the ‘Cool Academy’ via prince’s trust and although he was only here for only one week he managed to impress the right people so much that he has now been working with Cool FM for a few years! This has shown me there is hope for me still =D because I’m here longer it will give me more time to impress the right people! Time to get the head down and work hard!

I have work again tonight and wont be getting home to 5am this’ll be so difficult getting up tomorrow!
Today has been the most exilerating day so far!

Day 1: So It Begins!

2 February 2016

It’s officially the first day of cool fm, I didn’t sleep at all last night so I’m being punished this morning although I must say I’ve never been more excited to be given this sort of opportunity in my life, so getting out of bed wasn’t to much of a challenge! I’m ready for what ever may be thrown at me and I’m here to make a good first impression, I can’t wait to see if this opens any doors for future work in the media, let the journey begin.

Bus Journey:
It took me two buses and a devastatingly long walk to get to cool fm today.. even though the bus seat has rendered my butt numb, I’m way to excited to care!

On arrival:
As I walked in through the doors of the ‘Cool Academy’ I was instantly met with a nice quote at the bottom of the staircase saying ‘If you take a step in the right direction’ I guess you could say that just doubled my motivation even though I was already ‘buzzing’!

We were welcomed to the cool choices program by Steve Turnbull & Rebecca McKinney (Radio Hosts) & David Corscadden, they explained what was going to be happening over the next few weeks.

Presentation skills:
We were asked who our role model was and why today and I chose ‘Casey Neistat’ as he is someone I find very motivational at the minute and I can relate to him thinking sleep is a waste of time and with personal experience of educational history!
Steve and Rebecca allowed us to ‘roast them in moderation’ by asking them questions about their job and personal life it was good seeing them stand up in front of the group and go first and I felt I’d be comfortable to volunteer out of my group to stand up first and talk about my role model and reasons for why we chose them. Rebecca told me I came across very confidently and my voice become more slow and controlled as I continued.

Lastly today I found out of an angel named Silla who provided us with an incredible lunch #LoveYouSilla