by Kirsty Smyth
BERWICKSHIRE’S very own community radio station is in the running for a Scottish New Music Industry Award.
Nominated in the prestigious ‘Radio Station of the Year’ category, Generate Radio will go head to head with the likes of Real Radio and Capital FM.
And Generate Radio directors Kyle Wilson and Oscar MacAndrew are appealing to the community to get behind them and vote.
“We’re up against some big names so we’re pretty nervous, but very excited at the same time.” Kyle says. “It shows that all the hard work is paying off.
“We have to show that we are promoting local music to show that we deserve the award, and that’s what we’re all about,” Oscar adds.
The Generate project first started as an online pilot in August 2009 with a vision to create a better sense of community within Berwickshire, and to introduce something that had never been done before.
And almost two years down the line, Generate Radio is going from strength to strength, with the Scottish Radio Station of the Year nomination highlighting just how much has been achieved already.
Speaking to the Berwickshire News from Generate Radio HQ, a funky attic studio in Duns’ Market Square, Oscar admits: “When we first started up even my family didn’t really think it would last, there wasn’t a lot of belief in it.” Kyle nods in agreement.
“But now we have been nominated for an SNMA they are always asking about the station - they’re beginning to get the belief,” he adds.
Following the unprecedented success of the online pilot in 2009, Kyle and Oscar - then just 16 years old - persevered, and Generate Radio became an incorporated non-profit community company in May last year.
It aims to provide a local radio station for Berwickshire residents and to give a better sense of community to the area, as well as promoting the local music scene.
Oscar and Kyle head up a committee committed to the cause, and with the help of around 45 volunteers, mostly from Berwickshire but some from Edinburgh and the central Borders, Generate broadcasts online day in, day out.
“The day to day running can be a bit stressful,” Kyle says. “You sometimes find yourself working very long days. But it’s all coming together, and when we hear positive feedback - or get nominated for a Scottish Music Award - it makes it all worthwhile!”
Relaxed in each other’s company, yet focused and professional at the same time, it’s easy to see that Oscar and Kyle’s relationship is a productive one. The Generate Radio phenomenon - crafted originally by them from absolutely nothing but a common drive and shared passion for music, with a touch of technical know how - speaks for itself.
Oscar explains how the business partnership functions so effectively. “We have been friends for years but we take away the friendship when we’re doing this - we say ‘when we’re in here we’re just business partners’”.
“We have some banter, but when we have a real difference of opinion here we know it’s nothing to do with the friendship - it’s separate,” Kyle confirms. But they’re usually on the same wavelength anyway, they say. “We tend to bounce off each other very well,” Kyle adds.
Over the last two years Kyle and Oscar have nurtured Generate Radio together, taking the station from a pilot project in the old Berwickshire High School to a 24-7 broadcast from its own studio. Now, with a SNMA nomination for best radio station in the bag, and FM status potentially just around the corner, the future at Generate is looking bright.
Kyle says: “Our main focus over the next few months is to get the FM application in, we’ll be applying in August/September time, and we’re hoping this nomination will help - being nominated for an award alongside the likes of Real Radio really puts us on the map.
“If we get on FM we’d need to take on other people, and the work rate would increase 10 fold to be honest, but nothing worth having is easy!” he adds ruefully.
“We get a lot of support from local people and local businesses, and we want to get involved as much as possible with the community as well.” Oscar insists.
“We pride ourselves on our open door policy - if someone’s in the area they can just come in - don’t be afraid of walking in the door. And anyone who wants a go at presenting can just get in touch.
“The main focus is the music but there’s talking in a lot of the shows too - we like the presenters to put their own twist on things, that way they can come out of their shell a bit more.”
Generate is one of 11 nominated stations from all over Scotland who are battling it out for the Station of the Year accolade (Aberdeen Student Radio, Capital FM, Real Radio, Celtic Music Radio, Generate Radio, Fresh Air Radio, Heartland FM, Oban FM,Radio Magnetic, Radio Six international, and Rock Radio).
The SMNA will be presented at a prestigious ceremony in the Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, in September. To give Generate Radio the chance of being there, vote for them at www.scottishmusicawards.co.uk.