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Roller Coaster of A Radio Course

Recently I have had one of the amazing and mind blowing experiences of my life which cannot be explained in words for two reasons, one is that I don’t have words to express my true excitement and second I am short of vocabulary, well kind of.

I am an asylum seeker in Ireland, where we hear a lot of hue and cry about the bad treatment of asylum seekers, there we have some examples of exceptionally honorary treatment of the asylum seekers as well.

Today I am not gonna bore you with the discussion about Direct Provision and how to Improve it on the other hand I will try to make you a part of that beautiful and  amazing experience which we had while learning an extensive Radio Course QQI level III Just in 5 Days with the course material worth learning in 3 to 5 months, we did it just in 5 or 6 days if I Include the “Recording in Studio day” as well, It was really a Roller Coaster of a Radio Course.

Why Roller coaster, because when you are on a Roller Coaster, you are unable to grasp the view in sight properly as your whole attention is diverted to keeping yourself stable and safe throughout the whole ride. Same was the case with us. Our whole 5 days, were very brilliantly divided into sections by our very brilliant Miss Terri Kruschke from LifeFM, we were pushed so encouragingly to Learn the Theory and Practical bits of the course that we almost forgot everything else happening in our lives for 5 days but the course. Imagine learning the Basic Concepts of Radio in 5 days and along the side Practical Production, Recording The Vox Pops  and covering the ongoing Events in the UCC for our Final Product, our Own radio Programme. A lot was going and we were just trying to comprehend and grasp the passing moments, a very brilliant experience.

Before Going further into it let me explain a bit to clear the picture in your mind about the organisers of the course. Our Radio Course was basically Organised by as I understand, Miss Gertrude Cotter, who is an academic staff of UCC and also a radio Presenter of the programme “Global Hub” at Community Radio Youghal. Obviously the course was conducted in Association with Community Radio Youghal (CRY104 FM) who sent two of their brilliant Members, Linda O’Connel and Darragh to teach us the technical bits of Creating and Recording Radio Programmes In these fast paced 5 Days. All the basic Concepts were taught and the schedule was created by very Brilliant, Miss Terri Kruschke, no one else could have possibly achieved all the targets of the course as Miss Terri, very brilliantly did, a really gifted person.

Now Imagine once again, UCC is celebrating the Refugee Week, there are multiple activities going on In the UCC, along the side, we, the asylum seekers from Different Accomodation centers, all across the county Cork, by traveling from far and wide, through very long distances, some on train and some on busses reach the UCC campus to find that there is no specified Room for our Radio Class. Due to concurrent activities happening in the UCC, our schedule was created in a way to make room and space available for everybody which also a gave us an opportunity of exploring UCC and I loved it.

The very first day, we were given Room in the Boole Library UCC, It was an amazing day, When I reached in the Class, I was also joined by five other shining students, namely, Funmi, Dudu, Ozwell, Concelia, and Dolapo.

Very first day, a lot to learn, but Miss Terri very brilliantly taught us the basic concepts of Radio, It seems now as if she is the one who was able to pull this task off, very successfully, I doubt anyone else could have taught us so brilliantly as she did and completed the course within the specified time of 5 days.

Very First day and we are short of students, Funds were available for the course only for a specified number of students, our class was in immediate danger of termination, everyone of us struggled to invite our friends, and thankfully, Two more students joined us, the second day and pulled us out of the danger of immediate nature.

But hold on, I am not finished with the First day yet, there are many funny moments, which I cannot dare to skip, we were taught to use the portable recorders by Darragh from CRY 104 FM. Ladies in our class practiced to use it within the class, but we, the boys, decided to experiment in Public, very first day, on UCC campus, among the Unknown students, with a dangerous looking recording device in hand, with our African and Asian, unfamiliar faces, approaching people like a terrorist with strange devices in hands, I would not have surprised, if everyone had refused to give us a short Vox Pop interview. but believe me, very first day, I and Ozwell, got very brilliant recordings from the students of UCC, who cooperated with us wholeheartedly, no one got scared. Those recording are the part of Final programme which was aired on 5th Feb at 7 by CRY 104 FM. Darragh was with us to supervise us but we approached students ourselves and interviewed them while he stayed at a distance. Don’t forget that we, just learned the use of portable recorder, which was still a new device for us.

The same day, our classroom changed in the second part of the day, we migrated to another nearby Room to complete the rest of the theory for the day. It seems as if Migration has been destined to be our way of life.

Anyway, next day, we were assigned a different classroom, Perrot Avenue, Seminar Room, UCC.

I was pretty sure, I would find it, Google Maps is all it takes to find a place, I thought it would be a piece of Cake, and yes It was, I reached at the spot all right but I ended up entering in the neighboring street where i was banging the doors of unknown buildings when another participant, saw me from across the street and came out to guide me to the right Place.

In the classroom we were joined by Two New Students, Mandeep and Serge, Our class was not in danger of Immediate termination/elimination now, Linda O’Connell from CRY 104 FM also joined us in the Class.

Now it was the ladies rotation to record people on the Campus during the class time while I and Ozwell were given a task to Record interviews and Vox Pops from  UCC after the Class.

Ozwell went to an appointment and joined us later, I was on campus after the class, with a heavy headphone fixed on my head, portable recorder in my hand, listening to my own unfamiliar voice, in an effort to create an Intro for the event. It was my first day recording an Intro, It felt crazy in the beginning as I was talking to myself, obviously it was kind of a funny picture, I was also carrying a heavy jacket and my side bag with me alongside headphone and Portable Recorder, above all, I was talking to myself, kind of. No matter, how hard i tried, I could not absorb the situation properly. Though I don’t lack confidence in anyway, I have been speaking and singing on stage and I was familiar with that feeling, But this was a totally different feeling than that. Anyhow, I recorded the first Intro somehow, even in the aired Programme, I sound pretty weird at that moment, in the meantime, ozwell joined me there. That night we left the UCC at 9.30 or later with very broken and funny recordings, not well prepared, not rehearsed, Nothing but, we did what we could. I was dead tired as well.

Third Day day, same place, we learned the Interview Technique from Linda O’Connell as Guest in the whole scenario, who we were supposed to interview and Miss Terri taught us the Basics of Interview, though we had already recorded a few broken interviews even before learning the Proper Technique, this was kind of confidence, Miss Terri infused in us.

Fourth Day, Location Change, Muskerry Villas, Seminar Room, Google Maps was unable to find the Exact Location, I reached near the Location, before anybody else, obviously very enthusiastic about the learning new things but was totally Lost, where was this place, I asked the people around, none was able to help, then a kind Girl saw a bag on my shoulder and guessed that I might be a student of UCC so she guided me to the UCC Department of Theater building, Muskerry Villas, which was close by and at last I found that place, but lo and Behold as i entered the building, no one was there, i thought to myself, that I might be in the wrong Place, Then Miss Terri Called and asked me to Come out and guide her and the other students with her, to the place. I was happy to oblige but as soon as I opened the Door, they were standing, just outside, I let them in but still some students were missing, Our two beautiful ladies and Two nice gentlemen were still looking for the place. Everyone was guided and brought to the class and ultimately, we were able to start the session. That day, we created the Promo ad for the programme we were creating along the way of learning.  We also brainstormed and discussed the name of the Programme and the running Order of it. After a very Healthy Discussion name of the programme came to two options, we were stuck there and unable to pick any one of them, Until Daragh from CRY 104 Came like a Messiah and helped us in choosing the right one, which was, Combining the two of them to create one big name for the programme, This was how, “Life In Limbo, Any Hope For The Future” came to being.

The very same day we were supposed to leave the place for one hour to accommodate another class. For that hour, we were divided into two groups, one was sent to UCC to record events, while I, Funmi and Miss Terri went to neighbouring hotel, where we sat in the Lobby and Completed the INTRO, OUTRO and Anchor links for the program, also took some amazing pictures there, how could we miss such a picture friendly location.

Fifth day, we submitted the assignments which we actually completed with the help of Miss Terri,

D day, the Sixth Day, came, a bus was hired for us to bring us to the CRY FM 104’s studio, where we were supposed to record, Intro, outro, anchor Links which we had already created and  a panel discussion for the Programme, on the topic of Difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker plus Direct Provision System.

We were thrilled, excited, ambitious, none of us had any previous experience of any studio recordings for a radio programme, totally unaware of everything in the studio.

Now it was the day of Linda O’Connell and Darragh, who actually guided us and  led us like small children to go through the equipment and all the recordings including, Intro, Outro, Anchor Links and Obviously the Panel Discussion, We were able to do an unscripted  Panel Discussion with ease under the able and experienced supervision of Linda and Darragh, Though we had the script for anchor Links and Promo ad, but for Panel Discussion there was no set script, we just had to Discuss our issues like a panel.

Now all of that feels like a dream, because we were going through our course material and practical bits so quickly that we could not grasp a stable feel of any particular moment, It was a Roller Coaster.

During the week of Course, when I listened back to my own recordings, I was abhorred by my own voice frankly, It was nothing like very soothing and composed voices of anchor persons, I used to hear on Radio or TV. But believe me, the end result which came after editing was really amazing, I was sounding way better than I really am. The end result in the form of a programme aired on 5th February at 7 Pm was really a beautiful programme, I was not abhorred this time to hear my voice on Radio,contrarily, i loved it.

Representing all of my class fellows, here, I would love to thank Ireland first of all, despite dealing with various issues itself, It’s only because of Ireland and the good people of Ireland that we were able to earn this honor for ourselves to record our own Radio Programme. But Nonetheless, I would mention here with sheer gratefulness, Miss Gertrude Cotter, Miss Terri Krushke, Mr Darragh Parker, Miss Linda O’Connell and CRY 104 FM for making it possible for us and providing us this opportunity on a totally Invaluable Price i.e. Totally Free but with extreme care and love.  I have no words as I said in the beginning, I have no words to express my real gratitude for these lovely people and Ireland. Thanks A Million Everybody.

Written by Asad Mahmud

Participant in the CRY104FM Direct Provision radio course

21-26 January 2019