Audio Daddio: My Year on Radio

The year of 2015 – 2016 was an interesting one. It was the final year of my undergraduate, and I was deep in the clutches of medieval cultures and literature. I was in a relationship for the first time, having avoided that sort of thing since my deeply unpleasant experiences as a teenager. I had cut off all of my hair “for charity” (yes, it raised £500 odd for CRUK, but the real reason for the haircut wouldn’t come out for another year). And, perhaps most strangely of all, I was hosting a weekly radio show called Audio Daddio.

This wasn’t some big, network radio show of course. We were on Queen’s Radio and had a weekly following of maybe around 20 people, mostly the other presenter Kieran’s family and online friends. The show’s name, Audio Daddio, was a reference to a shared interest of ours, the Cartoon Network show “Steven Universe”:

Our show wasn’t wildly professional. We’d take it in turns to come up with a theme each week, and make a playlist to go with that theme. We did a bit of talking every couple of songs, but mostly it was just about playing the music we’d come across while doing our prep. The music was generally split pretty evenly between the best songs we could find and the most ridiculous songs we could find.

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Audio Daddio Christmas Episode: Kieran and I with guests Rachel (bottom left) and Chantelle (top right).

I guess the reason me being on the radio (even in this tiny way) was exciting was that it’s not something anyone expected me to be capable of. I’ve always been very quiet and timid. As a child, I’d run in terror if anyone showed up at my house, even if it was someone I’d known my whole life. I was the kid who’d be paired up with the teacher on school trips while everyone else chose their best friend for the task.

By the time I was in secondary school, being “shy” was no longer an alright trait to have. I felt left behind in any sort of group work there was. At best, I was something of a mascot for the class. At worst, I was to be ridiculed and looked down on. In fourth year, I started learning sign language in a bid to never have to talk again. This didn’t work, of course. Teachers stopped asking me to answer questions in class.

The students in university were kinder, but I still carried that mascot sort of vibe with me wherever I went. I never got higher than 5/10 in class contribution marks – not because I wasn’t trying, but because I wasn’t talking.

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Audio Daddio Wild West Episode. Left to Right: Niall and Rachel (guests) and myself (host).

You can imagine people’s surprise, then, when they learned I was presenting my own radio show. But I was doing it and, even more surprisingly, I was enjoying it.

I made friends I never would have met otherwise, and developed a whole new set of skills – everything from working recording equipment to public speaking. I think it’s probably one of the few extracurricular CV-boosting things I’ve done that I’ve actually benefitted from as a person rather than as a sheet of information.

Our show was not amazing. It was full of “umm”s and “ahh”s, and the jokes were likely far funnier to us than to any of our small following, but it really didn’t matter all that much. We were making something interesting to us, and I think that’s kind of neat.

If you’re in a university or school that has its own radio station, I really recommend pushing yourself to give it a go. It may sound like the least appealing thing on earth, but it’ll be worth it. (And if it isn’t for you, at least you can say that you tried!)

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Fourteener: Ode to a Banana I Found in the Grass at Donegall Quay

While walking calmly by the quay, I saw a strange display:

A ripe banana lying there with no sign of dismay.

It lay so sweetly in the grass, just basking in the light,

I had to ponder what events could lead to this delight.

Oh, sunshine fruit! Your life has changed! How startling it must be

To now be lying in the shade far from your mother tree!

Your freedom has come at a price – you’re stranded in the leaves,

Your skin is quickly ageing from the sunlight it receives!

But though you know your fate is sealed, you do not whinge or cry.

You take the punches meekly as the days are passing by.

As time ticks on and seasons change, this feeling, too, will pass.

We’re not so different after all, banana in the grass.

And now, for our optional prompt! Today I challenge you to write a fourteener. Fourteeners can be have any number of lines, but each line should have fourteen syllables. Traditionally, each line consisted of seven iambic feet (i.e., an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, times seven), but non-iambic fourteeners also exist. The fourteener was popular in 16th and 17th century England, where it was particular common in ballads, but it also is the form in which “Casey at the Bat” is written. The form is versatile enough to encompass any subject matter, but as the example of “Casey at the Bat” shows us, it is particularly useful in narrative poetry, due to the long line and the step-like sense of progression created by the iambs. (NaPoWriMo.net)

This one’s more than a little silly,but I definitely had fun with it!