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.
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.
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!)