Newcastle Student Radio Set to Return to the SU

Newcastle Student Radio Image: Newcastle University

After a hiatus from being broadcast in Newcastle University Students’ Union, Newcastle Student Radio (NSR) is set to return to the Student Union’s speakers.

The motion to re-instigate the playing of NSR points out the Union’s June 2012 promise to “provide greater support over the coming years” for the radio. The change should see NSR broadcasted in the Union’s commercial areas during term time, aside from exam periods.

We spoke to Station Manager, Meg Long, who is delighted to be back on the Union’s airwaves: “NSR really believe not only that we should be played in the union but that we provide radio shows that embody what Newcastle students want to hear. Our playlist is curated by students, our news updates include campus news, and we have more variety than any other station.”

A former station manager pointed back to the 2011-12 academic year, when NSR was taken off the air in the Union after receiving complaints over uncensored songs. They went on to talk about the station receiving permission to be played again in 2012-13 however Dave Bendall, manager at the time, came to the decision that NSR was not yet ready to be played in the Students’ Union. The former manager also discussed having meetings with the Union in 2013-14 and being told that the station’s sound quality was not of a high enough standard to resume broadcasting within the building.

Despite investing money and time into improving these aspects, NSR was then hit with another setback as they were informed by the Union that there was an IT issue preventing the airplay. The following year, NSR’s station manager identified the issue but was able to make little headroom until the station’s head of marketing in 2015-16, James Vesty, set up a petition to get NSR switched on again. This received support from a host of previous radio members who voiced their concerns about the Union’s policy towards NSR which they found to be damaging. However, Editor of the Courier at the time, Victoria Armstrong, was opposed to the petition on the grounds that they had misunderstood the Union’s policy, and demanded that Vesty lost his position on the committee, though it’s understood that never happened.

The student radio station turns 20 this year and has enjoyed one of their most successful recruitment phases to date as well as improving working relations with The Courier and NUTV.

NUSU President Ronnie Reid had the following to say about the change: “NSR is one of the great institutions of student media at Newcastle University, and any way in which we can increase our number of listeners is something that we should consider.”

Despite the motion not mentioning Luther’s, Reid did also point towards having NSR played in the Union bar: “By having NSR played in Luther’s, we’re increasing the listener base of a station run by talented and committed volunteers.”

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