This year, IC Radio covered the JPR Williams Cup match at Varsity 2013. The first time the station covered the match was 4 years ago, and according to former station manager Dan Fowler, it was “absolute chaos”. With those words of encouragement, off we went, armed with a few microphones and a Union minibus.
I was driving the bus, hilariously, as the only executive media member old enough to qualify (over 21) with a full EU licence for more than two years. You don’t have to have a minibus licence for the Union training – the minibuses operate under a special permit scheme that allow you to drive their vehicles if you have passed the Union’s tests. Driving to Varsity was really fun actually – only downside was that I had to wait until we got back to Imperial to crack out the Corona!
STOIC, Imperial’s TV station, were the first to get the ball rolling on the Varsity Media extravaganza. They filmed a pre-match team line-up, that you can check out here on Youtube, and coordinated with Sport Imperial to get access to the Stoop in Twickenham for filming and wifi for IC Radio and Felix. Being all friendly and cosy in our homes down in West Basement, I heard what STOIC were up to and figured IC Radio would jump on the bandwagon this year, surreptitiously sweeping the dust off our OB (Outside Broadcasting) equipment and crossing our fingers. We booked a bus under the Media Management Group and tottered off to Harlington sports ground on the morning of the 13th of March (stopping off at Sainsburies for Coke and cookies along the way).
We decided that we wouldn’t overexert ourselves too much this year, and just do live coverage of the rugby match at the Stoop in the evening, so during the morning at Harlington we helped out STOIC with their filming of the different matches and sports, and did some spot radio interviewing along the way to play out before the match. I even got strapped into a hefty steadicam outfit and pretended to be professional whilst filming hockey and football and other sports I know nothing about.
The Stoop is the home of the Harlequins rugby team whom, incidentally, my home team Munster enjoyed a comfortable victory over a few weekends ago. Normally, I deplore the behaviour of those lording their team’s victory over another, but after a disastrous 6 Nations campaign, our Heineken cup dreams of the glory days of 2006 and 2008 are all I have left.
Setting up at the Stoop was fairly uneventful – STOIC had a few cameras stationed around the stadium, and IC Radio set up on the opposite to the supporters seats, so you could hear the crowd in the background but it wasn’t too overwhelming. We had four microphones, a laptop, and a mixer outside for us presenters, nothing too technical, and inside the luxury room behind us, our Technical Manager-elect Max had the broadcasting running through his own laptop, with a back-up to our constant music service back at the station in case we lost the feed. It worked out really well, we managed to get all the match and a bit of pre-match banter in, although I slightly misjudged the recording time and the first part of the recorded show online is music. Still, a good learning experience for next year!
As there were a good few of us around, pretty much everyone had a go at presenting and commentating on the match. Commentator King turned out to be STOIC president Jonny, whose rugby knowledge and instinct far outstripped my own (he is a die-hard Harlequins supporter, and doubtlessly their defeat at the hands of my home-team Munster is still haunting him). We also managed to hijack his wireless microphone feed and get some audio of him interviewing the players after the match. The inter-society love in the media group is really a peak these days – now all we need is a scandal of some sort to restore the natural order… Just kidding lads, please don’t take the toys away!
Our varsity coverage can be heard on IC Radio here. It may be a little biased due to a lack of medic presenters, but that and a few minor sound blips will hopefully be rectified next year… I’m definitely proud of our efforts, and glad that I got a chance cover a college-wide event during my time as president. Probably the best thing about IC Radio is how much I’ve learned in a practical sense – just a few years ago the equipment that we use would have defeated me despite my engineering stance. Three years later and I’m still learning about production and sound engineering! However, the most awesome part of the day was probably getting a Tweet from a listener in Australia enjoying the coverage:
This one from WillyPrince the next day also kinda made it worthwhile: