Pictured Above: Students and course coordinator Muireann de Barra of the Advanced Media Production/Radio programme with Richard Lynch at LCFE’s Open Day. Picture by: Billy Butler.
LCFE’s online radio station iMIX, was launched with great success on Monday Feb 2 by special guest Eoghain Fitz of SPIN South West. The launch, which was staged at LCFE’s courtyard, also hosted special guest, Sarah McTernan, contestant on The Voice. Sarah performed live and was a huge hit with the attending crowd, while Eoghain offered words of wisdom and encouragement to the current learners. Eoghain commented on the high standard of the studio facilities at LCFE, stating that they were “extremely impressive and of industry standard.”
The studio is a state-of-the-art, high spec radio studio that prepares the students for broadcasting, and teaches them new skills. It was purpose-built for the course that was launched in 2013, and they’ve been broadcasting online for the past 2 and a half years.
The level 6 Advanced Media Production/Radio course is a year long, work practice course, and is built around the core work practice module. Students do their training from September to December and start piloting shows at the end of this period, so they’re ready to go on air from January to May. In their training the students learn theory and practical production skills. They do broadcasting presentation skills, and writing skills for script-writing and news broadcasting.
Muireann de Barra, the course co-ordinator of Advanced Media Production/Radio, says the most important part of the Advanced Media programme is that “they are getting hands-on experience, it’s not just about the theory or learning and listening to what goes on in the radio, they are actually doing it themselves. On a personal level, the most important thing is that their confidence is built. I see huge growth in confidence in all of them. This year there’s 11 in the group, and they all get experience working in the radio. It’s great to see them grow and develop their confidence and their voice. Some come in saying they just want to research, they don’t want to be on air, but they don’t have a choice, they have to go on air. You can see them grow up as individuals, it’s really wonderful. There’s a sense of equality and because the group is small, there’s a great bond between them and great teamwork. “
The students are operating the radio station, and Muireann is the station manager, who makes sure things are kept on-track and mentors them. She passes on the skills to them, and they all take on the different roles in terms of production. Muireann explains that the students love that “they have a sense of ownership of the station, and they have a chance to develop their own radio persona and personality.”
Student of the Advanced Media programme, Sadbh Farrelly, explains why she loves her course, “It’s the best way to get hands-on experience, because I’m working in the radio. I’ve learned a lot more than just doing theory. My favourite part of the programme is learning to enjoy the butterflies in your stomach when you’re live.”
iMix broadcasts live shows every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9.00 and 1.00 with live on-air competitions each week, and otherwise, it’s just music being played. Between 9 and 10 is the breakfast show, iRise, iTalk is on between 10-12, a mid-morning chat show when they do interviews and talk about what’s going on in the college, around the country, or internationally. iAccess is on at 12-1 when what’s going on in the college is mostly discussed, and students are invited to come in and talk about events, experiences and activities. Through iMix, the college has a voice. International students are invited to come in and talk on the radio to share their culture and their traditions, as there is over 30 different nationalities represented in the college. Students doing art work, or musicians are also invited into the studio to perform or talk about what they’re doing. On the days there aren’t live broadcasts, the Media students are in class attending modules on law and media analysis and doing their assessments.
There are also evening courses available that offer radio production at level 5.
Photos by Richard Lynch and Billy Butler for I Love Limerick, 2015. All Rights Reserved.