Tucked away on the top floor of the Union, there is a buzzing hive of media activity as the people from STAR radio are busy flicking on all the switches for another year of student broadcasting. The Saint’s Stephen Jenkins sat down with Broadcasting Officer Kate Reid to talk about what the year has install for STAR radio.
Stephen Jenkins: So, STAR is back for another year of broadcasting, hurray! For those who are new to St Andrews or who have been living under a rock for their entire time here, what is STAR?
Kate Reid: STAR is the only radio station in St Andrews, run by students for everyone who has a computer. We are news, events, sports, as well as loads of different shows with everything from political debate to folk music and rap and music to game shows, there’s something for everyone!
SJ: Are you excited for the upcoming year?
KR: Definitely! It’s been very stressful getting everything up and running but it’ll be worth it. Once we’ve put all our efforts into making it happen there’s that beautiful feeling when you can sit back and watch it all happen organically. Presenters have so much enthusiasm for their shows, they put a lot of work in and we really appreciate that. Anyone who listens can learn a lot whether they hear a cool new band they’ve never heard before or they learn something about current affairs or about the University that they didn’t know before.
SJ: What are you planning on doing differently this year as oppose to previous years?
KR: Nothing to drastic. The playlist that we had in previous years is not going to happen this time round. A couple of years back there was a big kerfuffle about STAR making people play certain music, which was never really the intention and it got all a bit skewed and nobody knew what was going on. So basically, people can play whatever music they want. We will have a ‘STAR’s listening to’ playlist which we’ll play overnight when shows aren’t on air. We also have a new music blog starting which will be our Music Team sharing videos they think are cool, sharing new artists they think are cool, and telling people about the music shows we have on STAR.
SJ: Do you think STAR adequately covers and caters for the diverse musical tastes in St Andrews?
KR: Definitely! Every genre is covered. We have many shows that play various genres and many shows that play particular decades of music such as the 90’s and the 00’s. We have a folk show, a rap show, an Americana show, basically everything. The students bring with them a great variety of musical taste; they all have their different individual interests. A lot of musical societies have their own shows: RockSoc, SoulSoc, Music is Love all have shows, and they bring with them their own musical niches.
SJ: As well as having plenty of music shows, you also have a lot of talk shows. What kind of stuff do students want to talk about on the radio?
KR: We have a lot of people interested in doing political shows this year. We also have several comedy shows this year; we listened to their demos and the whole committee were in stitches crying with laughter, so we’re really excited about them.
SJ: What are you most looking forward to this year with STAR?
KR: All the new shows! I’m excited to see all the new people bringing their enthusiasm to the station. We’re just looking forward to making things happen and being one of the biggest and brightest student groups.
SJ: What aren’t you looking forward to this year?
KR: The massive amount of work! But we have a strong committee who are working diligently away in the studio as we speak and together we all bring various skills and we make it happen. Running a radio station is a full-time job and yet we’re all students. I really respect the committee for the amount of work they put in. I know I’m going to be bringing a sleeping bag here and sleeping in the studio, but it’s ok, this is like my second home and it’s always warm, which is nice!
SJ: You’ve acquired yourselves a very fine-looking mascot, what’s his story all about?
KR: [Laughs] Several years ago, STAR decided they would have this symbol which was this monkey listening to headphones and it got taken to a crazy level – we had monkey suits and banana suits that would get brought out. But then people decided they didn’t want the monkey anymore so he disappeared for a while. We then had our t-shirt design competition last year and Toby Marsh designed an excellent t-shirt which had the monkey listening to headphones on it so, naturally, we thought the monkey has to come back, he’s been resurrected.
SJ: Does he have a name?
KR: No, actually! Maybe we should get him one; maybe we could do a poll on the website.
SJ: What’s he listening to on those headphones?
KR: STAR radio of course!
Tune in from the 1st of October.