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How to get the most out of your Radio course

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Published: 12 September 2017

Jay Sykes, received international recognition for his work less than a year after graduating from MA Radio at the University of Sunderland. His radio drama SeaBurn received universal acclaim, winning Best Student Drama Program at the the New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs. Here, he shares his insight about why Sunderland is a great place to study radio.

Jay Sykes


"I don't think I'd have achieved anything without having Spark FM."

"The first thing that attracted me to come to Sunderland was definitely the facilities. They’re outstanding and have been for a number of years. They’re ahead of most commercial radio stations in the industry and I know that the BBC and other groups come in to use our facilities all the time. They really are quite standout.”

“I don’t think I’d have achieved anything without having Spark FM. I feel like Spark made the experience tenfold better. Having a student radio station on your doorstep where you can go in to volunteer and make your own shows is just the best experience. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to win my Gold in New York.”

"I ended up winning Gold for the best Student Radio Drama programme in the World."

“In the final year of my Radio Masters I made a 43-minute drama, SeaBurn. It was a labour of love for a few months and then I finished my Masters and started teaching. My former lecturer, Richard Berry said that I should enter it into the New York Awards. On a whim I went for it and ended up winning Gold for the Best Student Radio Drama Program in the World, which was just fantastic. And because of the University, I was able to go to New York – they paid for the flight and made it possible.

“I love being an Academic Tutor. It means I can pass on the skills I’ve learned on the course to other people. I find it so uplifting that I’m helping the next generation to develop their radio skills. I love being on the other side, I love motivating people. That’s what I’m all about.

“We have a great range of lecturers from a whole host of backgrounds. There’s so much variety. I feel like I’m learning so much now as an Academic Tutor.”

“I think audio is so relevant. Podcasts are now more popular than ever before, in terms of Serial, Welcome to Night Veil, No Such Thing as a Fish, they’re shooting up in numbers and I listen to podcasts every day. I honestly think the future of radio content is in audio. With YouTube, Spotfiy and Pandora, you can listen to music wherever and whenever. The reason radio still survives is because of good content. The University is here to teach you not just how to play good music but to help you make good content. That’s the future of radio.“

“Sunderland as a city has improved drastically over the past few years. There’s so much culture in this city. There’s so much going on here and it’s brilliant. Come to Sunderland, get involved in a city that is so undervalued but has so much value.”