In June 2011, a childhood friend Christopher Smith (Head of Media & Marketing) asked me if I’d like to be the station manager for an RSL to run at the Poacher International Scout & Guide Camp in 2013. At first I thought “That’s years away! I don’t know what I’ll be doing then!”, but I said yes anyway and here we are!
To prepare for the task of managing a radio station aimed at the Scouts, Guides and leaders at such an event, I went along to the Essex International Jamboree in August 2012. I had a great time with the Scout Radio team and also learnt a lot about what can be expected from an RSL covering a Scout or Guide camp. I also looked at how they were doing things and how I could possibly do them different to suit our campsite and audience size.
So firstly, what is ‘Poacher’? It’s a camp for Scouts and Guides from all over the world in the setting of the Lincolnshire Showground, near Lincoln, England, UK. It happens every four years, and I attended the event when I was younger (2004?). However they decided to postpone it a year, as it should’ve happened last year. I think it was because of the London Olympics and that EIJ was also happening that they decided to delay it.
Because Ramadan means there are so many more RSLs throughout the UK, Ofcom decided to setup a small application window for RSLs that wish to broadcast during July and August 2013 (read more). We went through the process, and thought that historically there are usually only RSLs from the Showground during the summer months in Lincoln, so we wouldn’t have an issue. We were proven correct as there was only application for an RSL in the Grange-de-Lings area; ours.
Earlier this month we received confirmation of our broadcast, which will take place on 87.9FM, with the full wattage available to us.
So how will we be broadcasting from the Lincolnshire Showground?
Fortunately we have the use of the EPIC Centre, which is a permanent structure, and this will offer us power, internet and a secure place to broadcast from.
Equipment wise, we are hiring in most of the equipment from Radiquip. For playout we are renting Myriad and AutoTrack from P Squared, as both Christopher and I have lots of experience with Myriad and find it a nice experience for presenters (most of the time). We also feel it will enable us to make sure we aren’t hearing the same 20 songs on repeat thanks to presenters choosing all their own music!
We’re also very excited to be using products with HD Voice for our outside broadcasts. In essence it will be good quality audio, along with reliable signal. It also means that we’re being very ambitious with some of our show plans.
On top of that, of course we’ve been making sure we get the right broadcasting licences from Ofcom along with PRS and MCPS.
The most recent activity has been surrounding our actual on air content. Presenters have been asked for their opinions on the schedule and I’ve been speaking to some of them about what will happen during their shows. I’ve also been working on our on air imaging, where Christopher has been recording voice overs with some students from Sunderland.
In addition to broadcasting live, we’re also planning to do PoD; Poacher on Demand. It will be a podcast type format, which is posted via our AudioBoo channel. These ‘PoDs’ will contain highlights from throughout the broadcast, as well as anything extra that we don’t find time to play on air.
Another feature of our AudioBoo account will be the option for camp participants and parents of those participants to share voice messages with us. They simply record them into our channel and then we’ll moderate them before being played on air. We hope to embed this into the Poacher smartphone app. We also envisage people recording request messages via the platform, which we can then play straight on air.
So overall things are coming along nicely. There’s still a few of the finer details to work through, but with an 11 strong team, I’m very much looking forward to the week!
Poacher FM will be broadcasting from Saturday 27th July to Saturday 3rd August 2013, on 87.9FM and also online via the Poacher website.