My BBC Blast Diary
By Will Kisby, BBC Blast, Leicester
The 'not so' secret diary of Leicester's latest BBC Blast reporter, Will Kisby. You can follow Will from start to finish as he works his way through various projects and features.
My name is Will Kisby and this is my BBC Blast diary. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing all my 'Blast experiences' straight from the frontline of BBC Leicester.
Hopefully you'll enjoy it so much that you'll find yourself coming back again for your weekly dose of BBC Blast 'reportage'.
Well one can dream!
Week Six: Blast Off!
It is my last week as a BBC Blast reporter and I've spent the best part of a day reliving all my experiences, picking out the many highlights and adding them to this diary!
The original plan was to add an entry every week but once the 'reporting ball' gets rolling it literally doesn't stop!
I have really enjoyed my time here at BBC Leicester, and I hope you have found my features insightful and interesting.
Seeing my completed work on the homepage has been a brilliant feeling. All the hard work finally paying off.
However all this would not have been possible without Sonia and Becca, BBC Leicester's web team, who have guided me through my placement.
I am very grateful to them for finding time in their busy schedule to assist in technical matters and helping me get the most out of my features!
Over these past weeks, I have met so many different people and it was a pleasure to dive straight into a music scene that is so full of talent and be able to report on it!
Also thank you to the venue that offered me free drinks for the night, they clearly know the right way to my heart!
What a 'Blast' - again excuse the pun!
Week Five : Summer Sundae
From the start of my Blast reporter experience, I knew that Summer Sundae coverage was a absolute must, but how to cover it?
From the start I didn't want to cover the festival just by interviewing indie band after indie band. I wanted to to show the alternative side. The artists creating new and exciting music, whilst also looking at side attractions, such as the Silent Disco, but more on that later!
My first interview at Summer Sundae was with Beardyman, a beatboxer.
Never heard of beatboxing? Then check out my feature and become enlightened!
This was probably my most surreal interview to date.
Beardyman would start to answer my question but would soon intersperse his reply with impromptu beats!
I even managed to score a free lesson in beatboxing! Something that I always thought would be easy... I can tell you now it's not!
The Streets who were due to headline, had to pull out of Summer Sundae 09 and this meant that Beardyman was taken from his slot on the indoor stage and promoted all the way to the main stage. This allowed more people to be exposed to beatboxing and one of the best performances of the festival!
Never before have I seen so many people rush forward to greet an artist. I get the feeling that this cult following in Leicester just got a bit bigger!
Quiet as a mouse
Although they have been around for a while. This year Silent Discos have really taken off, especially at music festivals and Summer Sundae was no exception!
Once the bands had played their final chords, hundreds hot footed down to the 'Rising Tent', which has been transformed into a disco. Festival goers had to be quick though, as the Silent Disco was very popular.
Even that is a slight understatement!
Before the event all I knew was that, no music would be played out. Instead each dancer was given a set of wireless headphones with two channels to pick from.
What I didn't expect was the weird sensation of taking the headphones off and hearing no music but people dancing away, singing along and cheering... to nothing. It was very surreal.
It was really one of those events that you have to witness first hand, but if you missed it and want to know more, check out my report! The next best thing to actually being there!
During my time as a Blast reporter I set myself one on-going feature that would lead up to the festival.
For this I would follow one local band, Shortwave Fade from their rehearsals all the way to their main stage performance.
On the final Sunday of the festival, I met up with the band as they prepared backstage, and backstage is where I thought I would be staying; with all the various generators, cables, boxes and discarded equipment.
But it wasn't long before I found myself wandering out on to the Main Stage itself. Darting about, taking photos here, recording the band there!
(In fact if you look carefully in the photo gallery, you'll see me in the corner of one of the pictures. In a way it is a bit like Where's Wally!)
Walking around and witnessing the huge scale of the Main Stage made me wonder. How must the band be feeling?
'Pretty nervous' seemed to be the overriding feeling, but as the crowd gathered, and the last of the sound checks were complete. The boys opened the Main Stage in fine style. Even the weather was fabulous!
Not Just Music
Summer Sundae 09 wasn't just about music, they also had a poetry tent called Phrased and Confused. I met one band who played there called Skint and Demoralised.
A group headed by poet Matt Abbott, who mixed lyrical verse, with pop music.
While not the most popular tent, for his performance the Phrased and Confused Tent, was packed!
To find out more check out the report.
Matt was good enough to talk to me the minute he had rushed off stage. He explained his inspirations and why he found poetry so important!
Week Three, Four : Going it alone
The next two features that I created focused on two artists who were going it alone.
In the last update I left, I said I was off to meet a very talented singer / songwriter called Grace Petrie from Leicester.
She reminded me of a female Billy Bragg, which might sound like a backhanded compliment to some. However not in this case.
She was brilliant and talking to her afterwards, I saw that on stage she was absolutely herself and didn't use an on stage persona which for me was very refreshing!
Mixing it up
For my next report I thought I would take a completely different direction, both musically and in the way I would create it.
From the start I had always said that I wanted to cover local DJ's and producers from Leicester and low and behold I found Rival Consoles, a local electronic producer and De Montfort University graduate. Perfect.
Not only was this report musically different, instead of using the classic microphone and camera step up, I was going to break into some video work!
I met Rival Consoles at the Sumo, Leicester and finding the perfect spot for the interview was quite a challenge.
A noisy bar can be a difficult environment at the best of times, not least when you have a video camera, tripod, interviewee and the constant thought of sound levels on your mind!
However the interview when well and I got some excellent shots, now all I needed to do was edited it all down and upload.
Watch: Rival Consoles
Editing is one of my favourite jobs. I enjoy starting off with various different elements and piecing them all together to create a story. I guess the same is true of feature writing. Bringing everything together to communicate a message.
Rival Consoles, also known as Ryan Lee West was a pleasure to interview and very knowledgeable about his style of music and knew exactly where he wanted to take his project in the future.
I admire both of these artists, Grace and Ryan, for heading into the music industry as solo performers. I guess this is initially what attracted me to them in the first place.
I found the sheer determination and will power to go ahead with their music without a group behind them very inspiring.
Week Two: Busy, Busy, Busy
Everything is go!
For the build up to Summer Sundae I've started my feature, 'Road to Summer Sundae', in which I am following one local band as they prepare for their Summer Sundae main stage performance.
I met up with the band and joined them for a rehearsal session. This was a really good chance to witness first hand all the effort and hard work that a local band has to put in before a big performance.
Although it sound very corny, I don't think I could have found a nicer band to work with if I had tried!
I also went down to a local Jazz Jam, something that I had never really tired before. The musicians I met there were hugely talented and I enjoyed it so much, that I can actually see myself going back to the next jam.
It was difficult to properly appreciate the music, as I was darting around taking photos, interviewing and recording, but then such is life when one is a BBC Blast reporter!
For my Jazz Jam report, I also got to go into a radio studio to record a few links to accompany report.
It felt good to be back in the studio. I also got a chance to learn more about how a professional studio works as my mentor gave me a brief overview of what all the various buttons, faders and screens did.
I don't know what it is like anywhere else but at BBC Leicester the possibilities literally seemed endless.
Next I am meeting a female singer/songwriter for our BBC Introducing pages, which will be fun as I have a huge admiration for solo artists.
They have to do so much work all on their own. Write, produce, record, promote... They also often turn out to be the most talented.
However you won't catch me saying that to any bands anytime soon!
On top of this I am meeting a local DJ/producer for separate feature. For this though I'm going to do something a bit different and get my teeth stuck into some camera work.
Of course as always you will be able to see the fruits of my labours, right here on the BBC Leicester website!
Week One: Settling In
Day one was mainly getting my e-mail and CMS log in set up as well as working out where everything is.
Along side all the important rooms, I've discovered that there is a shower is on the second floor!
I might cycle in now. Just to get full use of all the facilities on offer!
I got in early and set about practicing my 'feature writing' which will be very important for when I start to produce my own features over the next eight weeks.
To practice I had ago at writing a web feature. This involved listen to an original interview or report that went out on air and then re-writing it for the web.
Once finished, my article will eventually find its way on to the BBC Leicester web pages to support the original on air content.
This was a big learning curve as while I have done Internet pages in the past this needed to be on different level.
After lunch the heavens opened and Leicester experienced a short thunderstorm, but I was far to busy to watch, although if I'm honest the inevitable soaking I'd receive on the walk to the train station was lurking in the back of my mind.
Should have brought an umbrella!
In the afternoon, I started to get to grips further with CMS. (The software the BBC uses to create and upload web pages).
Having touched on it in training and then again on day one, I thought it would be important for me to explore it myself today.
I now feel pretty confident with the program and next week will be able to start on some of my ideas... so watch out Leicester!
Today I also had a chance to meet and talk to more people inside the office.
Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming. What more could a new Blast reporter ask for?
To be continued...
To Start: Applying
I first heard about the Leicester BBC Blast placement at school, and being the type of person who can't sit still for five minutes let alone the whole summer, I enquired further. Could I, Will Kisby, straight out of Sixth form, really work within the BBC?
I have always had an interest in radio and new media. I guess it all started at the age of 12 when I tried to get into Hospital Radio.
I managed three weeks, then they found out that the insurance didn't cover me, and I was kindly shown the door.
I also enjoy the 'raw edge' of new, live music and the reporter's placement seemed perfect, as it married my two passions together. Brilliant.
So I filled in the form as soon as possible, sent it off and then waited… and waited… and waited.
Three months later, just when I was starting to think that my application had been rejected, I received a letter and was called in for an 'informal' interview.
I say interview, looking back now it was more of a relaxing chat. But still, I was incredibly nervous!
After the interview, I was told I would be called back the same day if I had been lucky enough.
In the hours between, time seemed to slow down, but when the call came through I was over the moon.
At once I started to pack my bags for the training in Bristol which, if you'll excuse the pun, was an 'absolute blast!'
As I type this I am sat at my desk surrounded by 'busy' professionals. Learning and listening. Just letting it all sink in. So far I think having my own BBC e-mail address definitely has to be one of the cooler perks to the job.
I am very passionate about media, especially new music and the radio.
Previously I worked on Takeover Radio in Leicester, the UK's only youth station run by young people, which gave me a platform on which to learn about the frantic nature of producing live radio.
Also Takeover allowed me to get in touch with Leicester's vibrant music scene.
As well as creating live radio I also set up my own podcast that now has listeners from all over the world. The podcast gave me first hand experience of new media.
With a bit of luck my first entry has got you up to speed on my experience so far.
Keep checking back each week to find out what Leicester's BBC Blast Reporter has been up to!
last updated: 26/08/2009 at 14:58