Saturday, 3 March 2018

URY 1350AM: Spring 2003 - Life In The Funny Lane

This is my second compilation of University Radio York output, this time featuring highlights from Spring 2003 - my second term at uni, and my first on air on URY (cringe).

As with last time, it's all from cassettes that have been sat in my parents' loft for over a decade, all recorded from medium wave, so adjust your audio expectations accordingly.  Unless someone else was pressing play-and-record at the time it's unlikely this audio exists anywhere else, so hopefully it provides a unique window into student radio in the early noughties.

I originally had no intention of presenting on the radio station, instead thinking I would help out editing things behind the scenes.  However, after an utterly tedious two hour session helping make a thirty second McCoys crisps commercial, and encouragement from my housemates (more of them later), I decided to have a go.  At URY you had to have a training session - usually in the studio late at night in one of the on air slots the Student Broadcast Network insisted they have - followed by a "demo" to prove you had the minimal technical expertise required.  I can remember for my demo I bought all the tabloids from the student union shop to mine for stories to talk about (as if anyone would give a toss what I was saying), eventually settling on a bizarre story about a Countdown fan playing the show's theme at their funeral.  Towards the end of the term this clearly gripping recording gave me the green light, and I was allowed to go on air from January 2003.

On air in January 2003 (photo courtesy of Simon Taghioff)

The schedule was pretty crowded at this point so newbies were generally given an hour slot, so I was awarded 4-5pm on Wednesdays.  However a few of us - including my housemates - expressed an interest in upping URY's airtime by also filling some more "off peak" slots.  So I made my debut in the primetime slot of Sunday 7-9am, which of course on student radio was christened "Early Breakfast".  Between us that term, URY went on air at 7am, seven days a week, and at the weekend stayed on air until 3am.

Despite the early alarm, I absolutely loved it.  From putting the station on air in the morning to having hours and hours to muck about, make mistakes and talk nonsense, I was so excited about going on air each week.  It was also a big term for the station, as for the first time it could be heard around the world on the website.  For around a year previously it had been available on the campus network (so basically in computer rooms), but now it could be heard literally anywhere - and in stereo too, not fuzzy old medium wave.

Also in this compilation - the debate over differential rents, two very different special guests, the buildup to the second Iraq War, talk of Heslington East and a central venue (it'll never happen), more early morning and late night broadcasting, coverage of that year's Student Union elections, and Red Nose Day.  Happy memories of simpler times.  Enjoy.

00:06 The Ultimate Student Chart 2003 promo that was the call-to-arms towards the end of the Autumn 2002 term for...
00:49 The Ultimate Student Chart 2003: Top Ten Cheesy Tunes with Buzz and Lizzie starting with the definitive "technical difficulty" that we all had at least once, which was go on air before switching the on air output from SBN to Studio 1... (11/01/03)
02:06 The Ultimate Student Chart 2003 with James Brookes and Pam Wells.  As heard here James is in his second stint on URY "training as a maths teacher", which he's now been doing for real for many years, and of course he's still on URY in 2018... (11/01/03)
05:30 Sunday Early Breakfast with Jonathan Bufton.  That's me, and this is my first link, at 7.03am on a Sunday morning.  Could be better, could be worse, but at least I hit the bloody intro spot on! Not that I'd been practising... (12/01/03)
06:09 Soldiers of Hell with Spencer Vale, specifically Bargain C*nt with David Dickheadson.  2003 in a nutshell, there (14/01/03)
07:58 No idea who this is, but it's another new presenter clearly struggling as they try to hit the top of the hour.  He correctly identifies that as with Alan Partridge the last thing you want is an awkward gap whilst trying to hit the news at the top of the hour... (16/01/03)
09:07 The Source at Six with Verity Wilde and Nick da Costa.  This is all I have but shows how Iraq dominated the headlines that term (16/01/03)
09:52 Freshly Brewed at Early Breakfast with my housemate Michael Brothwell.  The new webstream meant we did (very occasionally) get exciting emails from around the world.  Notice also the slight tension towards SBN's output, which we all regarded as total shite (17/01/03)
11:28 Sourcenight reporting on differential rents between different accommodation, something that was still a hot topic for many at this point.  Of course, nothing changed (17/01/03)
13:30 Stop Broadcasting Now with my housemate Simon Taghioff.  Yes, the acronym was intentional.  The filled the late slot after 1am on Friday nights, and here Simon tackles the truly abominable York Star newspaper that we'd been receiving in Edens Court (24/01/03)
15:10 James Gallagher versus James Brookes on a Saturday afternoon (25/01/03)
16:39 York Hire Ware advert, voiced by Phil Stewart, which always used to annoy me when it referred to "scuff links".  Sadly York Hire Wear closed down in summer 2017 (Spring 2003)
17:01 Tim Bateson with special DJ guests Friday Night Posse and a debate on vinyl versus CD.  This discussion will be somewhat out of date within a few years... (26/02/03)
19:55 The Festering Skunk with Michael Brothwell and special guest Dr Maden Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute.  Quite a coup for Michael although I have to take the credit for the phone flashing so early in the show... (28/02/03)
21:14 SU Elections 2003 Question Night for the Student Union elections, which entirely by coincidence starts with the eventual president, Chris Jones, whose interview I've included in full (02/03/03)
27:30 Epiclectic with Simon Tagioff and yours truly, whose mobile embarrassingly goes off as soon as we go on air, immortalising my naff 2003 ringtone forever (05/03/03)
28:50 SU Elections 2003 Warmup with James Wickham and Owen Murphy as they build up the excitement for the big night (07/03/03)
29:44 SU Elections 2003 Results Night with James Doughty, James Gallagher and Simon Taghioff.  Here we have the intro, a technical cockup after Tatu that James G links out of superbly, the policies of the eventual president Chris Jones, highlights of the week's coverage and a nasty technical cockup.  Worth listening to for James G's comment on Doorsafe alone (07/03/03)
37:56 Freshly Brewed with Michael Brothwell and myself on Red Nose Day 2003 - and the last day of the Spring Term 2003 - reviewing the term's news to the sounds of that year's Comic Relief single (14/03/03).

Next up - Summer 2003.  I bet you can't wait.