Monday was the start of the BBC Radio 1 Access All Areas week – where they give the listeners to see what goes on behind the scenes at Radio 1. They've held interviews and live web chats with DJ'S and the Newsbeat teams, live streaming web cams and the breakfast show with Chris Moyles has been on tour broadcasting live from different locations across the UK. If that wasn't enough, on Saturday this weekend, for lucky ticket holders, they are opening up the Radio 1 building for guided tours! These few lucky people will get to see the in's and out's of the studios, offices as well as meeting DJ's and seeing how the station is operated.
I just happen to have two of those tickets.
I'll be heading up to London (been about 2 years since my last trip up!) on Saturday with a friend and making a day of it – hopefully taking in some nice food and doing all the usual touristy things. This should be fantastic day, and a great to chance to look at what goes on behind the scenes at one of the biggest radio stations in the UK.
UPDATE (13th Nov 2010)
I know it's a nearly a week late, but I've been busy.
My trip up to London for the Access All Areas Tour ended up being a great day out! After having to consult various tube maps and the sat nav, we managed to find the studios (Yalding House) where we were met by security. We were taken through into the main office where Chris Moyles, Scott Mills etc are based where we were met by the weekend producer who gave us a quick introduction. We were then met by James Bursey (producer for Nick Grimshaw, also worked with Annie Mac) who took over the tour. We slowly wondered round the office, being shown the various desks and the junk laden on top of them. I was quite surprised how plain the office was – I was expecting something colourful, fun and exciting – but it looked like any other office. Still, it was quite cool being there nosing around all the stuff the DJ's and their teams had left lying around.
We then headed down into the basement of Radio 1 where we saw Dev who stopped to say hi and pointed out a few of the big name DJ's in the photos on the walls. We then headed into the studios – first off into the live lounge! It was a lot smaller than I was expecting in there, when you think about all the equipment artists / bands bring in with them. It was kitted out with some pretty nice equipment though. We then heard a few stories about artists meeting up in there – most either getting on really well, or sworn enemies with little more then a “Alright” being exchanged. Because the live lounge is sandwiched between the two main studios with glass between the two, we were able to watch Jo Whiley as she was live on air.
We then headed into the other main studio which was empty at the time. Wow. They have some seriously nice equipment in there, but I guess that is kind of expected from one of the worlds biggest radio stations. Like the live lounge, I was initially surprised at how small the studio was, but thinking about it now, I suppose they've got it about it right really. We were shown how the playout software desks work by one of the producers – for such a big station, it did look incredibly simple. One member of our group was volunteered to record an audio slip for a request, with the rest of us cheering in the background which was the played out later on the request show with Reggie Yates. There was time for a quick group photo, before been whisked out back up to the main reception.
Whilst I enjoyed what we saw, I was kinda expecting to stay for longer and see a little more given the hype they were generating on air – we were only there for around 20 minutes. It would have been nice to have met more of the presenters and seen the rest of the building (Newsbeat, management offices, online offices etc). All in all though, I was impressed with the setup there, and made me think what an awesome place it must be to work.
Whilst up in London, we thought we might as well make a day of it and ended up having lunch in a nice little cafe in Westminster, heading up to Camden for some seriously nice food in the evening, went and wondered along the riverbank by the London Eye as night fell followed by a trip over to Battersea to see one the best fireworks displays I had seven seen! Here are a few photos from the day...