University Radio York
|Slogan||On Air, Online, On Tap|
|Frequency||1350 AM (on campus)|
|First air date||1967|
|Sister stations||YSTV (television)|
|Webcast||Live stream online and iTunes|
Like most student radio stations, University Radio York is run entirely by volunteers, all students studying at the University of York. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day during university term time (a total of 30 weeks per year). The schedule is made up of a variety of shows including entertainment, news, speech, drama and music. With a new intake of students each academic year, the station's output can change significantly.
In 1967 Mike Greasley then a student of the university, obtained a testing and development license for "Radio Heslington". Then, entering his final year in 1968, he handed the project over to Ranjan Karunaratne, an overseas student who changed the name to Radio York and broadcast illegally through the summer of 1968, to drum up support for the project which had been dismissed in all quarters as impossible: the GPO said it was legally impossible, the professor of physics said it was physically impossible and the Student Executive said it was financially impossible. (Volunteered that they might consider part of a £200 equipment fund but Ranjan's budget of £1,500 was out of the question). The illegal broadcasting (signal was picked up as far afield as Norway, when it was supposed to be contained to the campus) was a successful tactic: Ranjan's motion for full funding was passed at the next annual general meeting. The following issue of Nouse, the student newspaper, emblazoned the headline: "King of Radio York Triumphs!"
The other limitations were strategically overcome and in 1969 the name Radio York not being available, University Radio York was licensed, becoming the first station independent of the BBC to broadcast legally in the UK. The station launch was a joint show with BBC local radio station and featured a guest broadcast by DJ John Peel.
The station switched from its original 999 kHz induction loop system to a LPAM licence in 1999, and now broadcasts across both of The University of York's Heslington West and Heslington East campuses on 1350AM. The station has also conducted several RSL FM broadcasts across the whole of the city, the last of these being in 2008.
Initially the station's purpose was to broadcast current affairs, and programmes of general interest in the arts and sciences as well as popular music, however the output is now mainly entertainment-based, with additional specialist arts and speech programming. News was provided by The Student Broadcast Network until its demise however, the station's long-running news programme URY Newshour (previously York 60 and York Report) at 6pm is still a pivotal part of the weekly schedule.
In 2008, URY broadcast 12 hours of US Presidential Election coverage.
The URY Marathon was broadcast in March 2013 for 40 hours in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. At the time of broadcast, it was URY's longest show ever. The two presenters, William Chalk and Tom Edwards, and one newsreader, Ben Bason, broadcast without sleep for the duration, raising over £1,800.
In Autumn 2013, the Chief Engineer and Assistant Chief Engineers of the time (Stephen Clarke, Thomas Haines and Andrew Durant) started a project to completely overhaul the internal audio systems of URY. The main aim of this was to remove the 'URY hum' - a low level buzz starting at 50 Hz with subsequent harmonics which filled the entire audio range. Following Alumni grant and crowd funding, and with the support of Focusrite Audio Engineering, the team was able to upgrade all studio interconnects to be digital, using Focusrite's RedNet system on the Audio Over IP protocol, Dante. In September 2015, URY was able to begin broadcasting a 'hum-less' stream. The project was nominated for a Student Radio Award in October 2016.
URY's longest show ever, URY 101, was broadcast in June 2016 for 101 hours in aid of Yorkshire Cancer Research. The show was presented by Joe Willis, Naomi Gildert and Caterina Soave, and produced by Adam Brain, Peter Rogers, Stephen Clarke and Andrew Durant. They each took shifts to ensure the broadcast continued, with the presenters getting three 7 hour sleeps over the 4 days and the producers working for 6 hours each. The entire show was done as an Outside Broadcast, from Greg's Place on the University of York campus. The total raised was £1710 (including £1,188.16 donated online), and the show included live music, a broadcast from the campus lake and a whole host of games and challenges. It was completed as part of Yorkshire Cancer Research's '100 for £100' campaign.
Achievements and awardsEdit
URY won the Student Radio Association / BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Station of the Year award for the first time in its history in 2005. This was also the first time the station had even been nominated for a Student Radio Award. URY's Programme Controller at the time, Matt Wareham, was also nominated for the Best Station Sound category in the same year, but did not receive an award.
As part of the prize for winning Student Radio Station of the Year, on 29 May 2006 URY was broadcast on BBC Radio 1, taking over the 4 to 7 am Early Breakfast slot usually occupied by JK and Joel. The show was broadcast nationally on 97-99 FM and DAB, across the USA on Sirius Satellite Radio and online through the BBC Radio 1 website. It was also made available by both URY and BBC Radio 1 on their websites.
At the same awards in 2008, Rob Watts won bronze for best male presenter, URY Breakfast with Rob Watts and Steve Gardner won bronze for best entertainment programme, Rob Watts interviewing Greg Dyke won gold for best interview and The Technical Difficulties won the Kevin Greening Creativity Award.
At the Student Radio Awards in 2009, The Technical Difficulties won bronze for best entertainment programme, Joshua Chambers' interview: "Hilary Benn on Binyam Mohamed" won gold for best interview and York Report won gold for best journalistic programming.
2010 was another successful year for URY at the Student Radio Awards, where they picked up two accolades. For the second year running, the URY News Team were award-winning by getting Silver for Best Journalistic Programming and also CoCo Cole managed to win the Silver Best Female award.
In 2011 URY received six nominations at the Student Radio Awards. Four of these were successful: The Chalk and Charles Show won Gold Best Entertainment Show, James Bugg's The More Beautiful Game won Bronze Best Speech. On top of this, URY picked up Silver Best Station and The Kevin Greening Award for Tess Humphrey's Prince of Humberside.
In the 2012 Student Radio Awards, URY received seven nominations; for Best Station, Best Female, Best Specialist Music Programming, Best Journalistic Programming, Best Technical Achievement, Best Speech Programming and Best Interview. For the second year in a row, URY won Silver Best Station behind URN.
At the 2013 Student Radio Awards, URY received nine nominations, with six awards being won on the night - Silver Best Technical Achievement, Gold and Silver awards for Best Speech Programming, with 'Trimble' also being awarded a silver award in the Kevin Greening category, a Bronze Best Entertainment award for 'The Harry Whittaker Show', and a Silver Newcomer award for Harry Whittaker.
URY at the 2014 Student Radio Awards won Silver Best Journalistic Programming, for the News and Sports teams special programme, 'River Safety: York's Rising Problems'. The one-hour special, presented by former Head of News and Sport Ben Bason and produced by News Editors George Lane and Carys Brain, discussed the issue of river safety in York after a number of fatalities in 2014.
At the 2015 I Love Student Radio Awards URY were shortlisted for 4 awards, 2 in Best Audience Initiative for Freshers 2014 and YorkNext, Best Outreach Project for Alex and Tom: Getting gold for Charity and Outstanding Contribution to Student Radio for Jay Glover. The Freshers 2014 marketing and OB setup ended up winning the overall prize for Best Audience Initiative. In 2015, URY won 5 SRA Awards at the 20th Anniversary Awards ceremony - Bronze Best Male (Harry Whittaker), Gold Best Entertainment (The Harry Whittaker Show), Silver Best Event (Elections Results Night 2015), Gold Best Newcomer (Rebecca Saw) and Silver Best Technical Achievement (Roses Mini-OB Kits). The station was also nominated for Best Sports with the York Sport Report. URY Alumni Ben Bason also won Silver Best Entertainment for his show of Forge Radio. Continuing their successful year, URY were also shortlisted for the Radio Academy Yorkshire "Station of the Year".
2016 saw URY receive 7 nominations for the Student Radio Awards. These were: Best Live Event or Outside Broadcast, for the 101 Hour Charity Broadcast; Best Technical Achievement, for 'Beat the Buzz'; Best Speech Programming, for After the Tone; Best Entertainment Programme, URY:PM with K-Spence; Best Multiplatform Initiative, URY Music; Best Station Branding; Best Female, Kat Spencer. Of these, 2 awards were won: 'Beat the Buzz' received Gold in the Best Technical Achievement category, and URY received Bronze for Best Station Branding. Additionally, Biscuit News won Bronze in the Kevin Greening Award for Creativity.
In 2017 URY won four awards out of five nominations at the Student Radio Awards. Joshua Kerr was nominated for the Best Male category, and the station's Visualisation project was nominated for Best Technical Achievement, for which it won Bronze. Kat Spencer took home Gold in Best Entertainment Programme for 'URY:PM - with K-Spence', and URY received two medals in the Best Newcomer category, with Matt Stratford winning the Silver award and Will Batchelor going home with the Gold.
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