August 15, 2018  

Student Success: Radio Special (Shan McGinley, Alysha Wood, Gemma Cairney & More)

Within media, radio is often seen as one of the elder statesmen, but despite the fact that it’s essentially just the printed press that has been around for longer, it has a remarkable ability to remain relevant even as platforms such as television that was tipped to bury radio fall away at the influence of the internet. The main reason for this is its ability to embrace these technologies and, with the advent of the likes of NTS, Noods and Netil, it is in ruder health than ever before. At Point Blank we maintain a long-running affection for this most dynamic medium and we’re ever-proud of the achievements of our alumni in helping to shape these new developments.

We’re so proud that we thought we thought it a prudent time to remind you of some of the more notable successes of our students in Radio. These include respected tastemakers in Madam X and Monki, ubiquitous personalities in Dev and Gemma Cairney, inventive innovators in Shan McGinley and Alysha Wood, and in-demand producers in Anna Kay and Josh Dowler. From Beats 1 to 1Xtra, our former students lead the way, and as radio continues to evolve in step with technological advances and changing listening habits, many of our graduates are at the very forefront of these developments. Below is a small snapshot of some of our recent breakout radio talent, but the number is growing all the time. Could you be next?

If you’re thinking about studying radio with us, there’s no better time: in addition to our flagship Radio Broadcasting Diploma we now also offer a whole range of shorter courses which give you the maximum amount of flexibility in chasing your particular dream.

Gemma Cairney (Radio Production part of the Radio Broadcasting Diploma )

Gemma Cairney

Gemma Cairney is one of the most recognisable of the BBC’s new generation of DJs. She’s hosted a number of Radio 1’s most high profile shows including Weekend Breakfast and the Surgery. A former stylist, she switched up careers after taking a Radio course at Point Blank – a decision that would help her land her first radio job, at Channel 4’s radio strand 4radio. From there she made the leap to 1Xtra and ultimately Radio 1 via Kiss FM. Also known for her radio documentaries and TV appearances, she’s cemented herself as one of the freshest voices in broadcasting and we’re proud to call her one of ours. Speaking on the role of Point Blank in her career, she says: “Without the intensity and professionalism of the Radio Course I would never have had the skills, knowledge or even guts to approach Channel 4 in the first place.”

Alysha Wood – Radio Production Award

In just a few short years Alysha’s CV has grown to incorporate an impressive breadth of the modern radio landscape. Initially working in local radio in Croydon, she has since gone to Radio 1 and IXtra at the BBC, helped launch and run Chris Moyles’ show when he moved to Radio X, worked in music TV at The Box and worked as a Music Editor at today’s radio/playlist behemoth Spotify. All that experience has seen her land a role as Streaming Manager at one of the biggest labels in the world, Warner Brothers.

Shan McGinley – Radio Production Certificate

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Shan came to Point Blank to study the Radio Production Certificate. Since completing his course, he secured internships at a few of London’s most cutting-edge radio stations including Shoreditch Radio and Ministry of Sound Radio before going on to produce radio shows for Artwork (Magnetic Man) and Youngsta at Rinse FM. Recently, Shan set up brand new radio platform S I S T E R with Rinse FM’s Carly Wilford and former PB instructor Chris Bailey. Scouting the cream of international club talent, S I S T E R has already played host to Benga and Seth Troxler with more big names lined up for the future. He’s even been back to host a guest masterclass with a new batch of students which you can watch here.

Josh Dowler – Radio Production Certificate

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After completing the Radio Production Certificate, Josh Dowler went on to work alongside DJ and producer B. Traits at the record label Digital Soundboy, Radio 1 and 1Xtra. Josh initially met B. Traits when she came in to Point Blank to give a guest lecture for his radio class where she discussed her new role as a Radio 1 presenter as part of their “In New DJ’s We Trust” programming. He says, “after the lecture was over I spoke to her about some electronic artists I thought were showing promise for the forthcoming festival season and about the history of the bass music culture in Britain. We got on really well.” Four months later, Josh was contacted by B. Traits’ manager and asked if he would like to come in for an interview with her for two internships. The first as an intern at Digital Soundboy then secondly as her Radio Assistant on Radio 1 and 1Xtra.

Josh now aspires to produce specialist radio shows for DJ’s and pioneers of new sounds and regards his radio idols as the likes of Giles Peterson, Benji B and David Rodigan. Well embedded within London’s burgeoning radio movement, he occasionally plays the ‘Open Deck’ slot on NTS Radio. He says “Attending Point Blank was the best thing I could have done to enhance my chances of gaining a foothold in the industry. The combination of learning the technical skills required in radio and hearing first hand the structure of how things work from tutors who not only teach the subject, but also have years of experience at the top, gave me all the confidence I needed to confirm that this was the industry I wanted to work in! The college has great facilities and a wealth of creativity round every corner. It’s a truly inspirational place not only for those passionate about radio, but music as a whole.”

Monki – Radio Course (part of the Radio Certificate)

Both Radio 1 and 1Xtra have form when it comes to accommodating truly taste-making DJs in their schedules, and Monki continues that legacy with her eclectic underground vision. A club DJ at heart, after graduating from the Point Blank Radio Production Certificate course, Monki went on to DJ for Annie Mac’s AMP parties and Bestival Radio before landing a career-making slot at London’s Rinse FM while still in her teens. She now presents on 1Xtra and, frequently, Radio 1, bringing her club selections to a massive audience in the evening slot.

Anna Kay – Radio Course (part of the Radio Certificate)

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Much like Monki, Anna Kay studied the Radio Course as part of the Radio Certificate at Point Blank. Shortly after graduating, Anna interned at Somethin’ Else where she got to work across radio shows on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, interned at Ministry of Sound Radio as a Broadcast Assistant and she produced the Breakfast show on Rinse FM before becoming a Radio Producer at Kiss FM. Here she worked across live and and pre-recorded specialist radio shows for the likes of Shortee Blitz & DJ MK, Majestic and Steve Smart, as well as producing shows for Kiss’ new digital station, Kiss Fresh. She’s now at the forefront of streaming radio, working as a producer Apple Music’s Beats 1.

When asked about her studies at Point Blank, Anna Kay said: “I loved my time at Point Blank. It made such a difference learning in an environment full of people that were passionate about what they were doing, and it was great meeting other creatives who were on other courses. The Radio Course gave me an understanding of how radio works, what makes good and bad radio, as well as the practical knowledge of how to use a radio desk. I think doing a course at Point Blank definitely made people take what I wanted to do more seriously as so many people have heard of the college and its great reputation. Thanks, PB!”

Madam X – Radio Course (part of the Radio Certificate)

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DJ, label head, club impresario. Madam X studied with us back in 2009, going on to join the Murkage Cartel in Manchester directly after finishing her course. Since then she’s built a profile as both a club and radio DJ, combining a rammed-out touring schedule with hosting shows on stations like BBC 1Xtra, Rinse FM and NTS. Mixing grime, techno, bass, garage, like fellow PB alumna Monki, Madam X is adept at playing huge festival crowds, late-night radio audiences or 100 capacity basements.

Interested in joining us and carving out your own path in radio? Our Radio Broadcasting Diploma offers the ideal foundation. Students will not only learn core skills across production and presenting from expert instructors but also delve into future trends and developments within the industry, placing them at the cutting edge.

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If you register with Point Blank, you can access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

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