On The Air – Part 3

In part 2, we concluded the story of JMJUN Radio, having started this extremely interesting story 2 weeks ago with part 1. This whole experience of running an online radio station actually had greater lessons for me than I initially thought it would. In this post, I would like to show you what the intriguing circumstances of these were and what the point of writing this whole series was. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the last instalment of “On The Air”.
Most prominently, was my realisation that a lot can be done with very little. When we had the initial idea to set up a radio station, we only had one crappy 3.5 mm headphone jack cable with 2 laptops. This quickly evolved to suit later needs, but the concept that a simple idea can be executed using unbelievably few resources at hand really astounded me. 2 Years on, this is even more true now than it was before, with the internet having expanded into its current form, anyone with an idea and a little know-how can achieve great things! Look at TheAftermatter,they emailed Stephan Fry asking him to read their blog, and a few hours later,he tweeted their link to 3.7 million followers! 3.7 MILLION! If that is not using resources available, I don’t know what is!
Remember that, somewhat annoying, expression, “Experience is the best teacher,” or something like that. I had never really appreciated it until the founding of JMJUN. Nothing I learned in school assisted me with this.Everything was done ad-hoc, by looking up stuff and mucking around with countless things, leading to their demise and eventual, but inevitable,failure! The methods we tried and the bits of kit we plugged in the desperate hope that something would eventually work. It took all this for me to finally recognise the importance of experience and to accept the fact that not everything can, or should, be learned from school. 

JMJUN was on several social networks and had a site; as such, I was the main manager of it all. Managing a site, although it was onFreeWebs, helped me see how the whole system worked, how to attract followers and how to keep content interesting and useful. It also introduced me to basicHTML and the concept of embedding, but most importantly, it taught me about copyright. In part 2 I mentioned the issue we had with the acquaintance of mine, lifting whole chunks of text from us. We took the initiative to go and research UK and US copyright law and worked out that we had a legitimate case against him, which could have gone to court if we were serious enough about this stuff. Luckily, we weren’t, and we just sent him lots of emails telling him to take the infringing content down! That is why whenever I go on a rant about copyright I suggest you listen, as I have seen both sides of the argument!
One of the more philosophical concepts I learned through this experience was something I never thought was a good idea. TheNorthumberland Folk segment was prepared by me, telling the cast what has to be accomplished in this episode. As previously said, this never worked, and we ended up with the most ostentatious, authentic and wildest stories I could never have even dreamed of! All the good and funny things on JMJUN were never planned, but came about randomly through a series of us “just winging it”. This approach, I later realised, was as true for JMJUN as it was for any other fun thing that happened, for example, I am doing the Toyota Technology Challenge,and instead of conducting organised research like I suggested, we just went on a rampage and collected more data than I expected within a week, even though multiple weeks were allocated to this task! It’s just like trying to recreate fun moments: you want it to be fun but it invariably ends up a big failure, as those moments cannot be planned!
I would like to look at that quote from Jack Usher he said during a broadcast again: “Nick, don’t turn this into another one of your ‘projects’. They always fail”. Well, firstly, that does not bode well to my Toyota Technology Challenge endeavour, but aside from that, one could argue that JMJUN did fail, as we no longer broadcast. I would have to, as is customary with me, disagree with that statement and quote. This so called ‘project,’ in my opinion (the crucial phrase here), was not a complete failure. It gave us the opportunity to experiment with multiple different things in one endeavour, like managing a site, coordinating the management and dealing with an outrageous violation of our copyright protection. It achieved what every childhood endeavour is meant to achieve,namely, the acquirement of new skills and the eventual appreciation of the lessons learned.
Oh, I almost forgot. The most important lesson learned?Never, no matter how much they beg you or your family; NEVER offer double chocolate fudge cake to your team before a pivotal moment. Offer them fruitcake instead and watch them squint their eyes in disgust. Trust me, it’s much more satisfying!
For the record, here is the link to the JMJUN radio site.
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