Today I finally faced up to reality and updated my Facebook page and Twitter bio to reflect the fact that I am no longer a part of the DCUfm news team. So, it seems like there’s no time like the present to pay tribute to the three years I’ve spent in the best student radio station in Ireland.
When I started the BA in Journalism in DCU way back in 2010, I can honestly say I did not want to be there. I had wanted to study English Literature in Trinity College. (Obviously because of all the potential job opportunities.) So when the CAO offers came out, and I missed out on a place in TCD by random selection, I was forced to accept my second choice in DCU with a heavy heart, and little or no desire to stay there for three years.
I didn’t fall in love with DCU immediately, I’d be lying if I tried to claim otherwise. I put some serious consideration into dropping out, and even went so far as to fill out my CAO form again with the hope of having better luck the following year. But things started to change as the year went on, owed in no small part to DCUfm.
I first became involved in the station in the second semester of first year. Although the extent of my contribution was reading one or two news bulletins a week, it didn’t take me long to realise how much I enjoyed it.
By the time the semester finished, I had decided to stay in the BA in Journalism, and with only the smallest hint of smugness, turned down my place in English Literature in Trinity when it was finally offered to me in August. Instead, I promised myself that in my second year, I would embrace everything that DCU had to offer, and take a bigger role in DCUfm.
For this, I owe a wealth of gratitude to my housemate and friend Nick Sheridan, who showed unwavering faith in me when he appointed me as his right-hand lady.
Nick was head of news bulletins in DCUfm at the time, and asked me to come on board and help with the management and training side of the news. From there, I became involved in the news and current affairs programme ‘Newswire’, where I was welcomed into the fold under the wings of Ciaran O’Connor and Nicky Ryan. By Christmas, the station had become my home and the people had become my family.
The third and final year I spent in DCUfm, and DCU, for that matter, was by far the best. A huge influx of
new members to both programmes as a whole and the news team made for better interest, better output and, all round, a better station. The first semester saw 52 people sign up to read news bulletins, a level that had never been seen before in DCUfm. As a result, it improved in leaps and bounds this year. There is nothing quite like the feeling of pride that comes with turning it on and listening to the intelligent, hilarious and completely original ideas that people have turned into a reality on the airwaves.
Saying goodbye was always inevitable, but we knew it was never going to be easy. Winning the Smedia for Radio News & Current Affairs Production of the Year was probably the highest recognition we could have received for our three years of hard work, and the greatest note to end on. But it still didn’t ease the heartbreak of having to leave.
Truly, I will never forget the thrill of Newswire, the fights over content, the tellings off when things went wrong, the celebrations when things went right, the stress of preparing for the Smedias, the nerves of waiting for nominations, and the unadulterated joy of winning one.
I can’t even begin to articulate the level of debt I owe DCUfm. It’s the reason I got my first job in commercial radio, it allowed me to meet some of the people who I know will be my friends for life, and it saved me from carrying around an English Literature degree that I would surely never be able to use.
So, to those who may amble across this post as they struggle to make up their mind about college, please take this one piece of advice away from it: get involved with something. You’ll be sick of hearing that from everyone – the lecturers will say it, the SU officers will say it, and every tout at Clubs and Socs Week will say it – but it will enhance your college experience one hundred fold. And if DCU is the college that you’ve been lucky enough to be offered a place in, look no further than the tiny radio studio in the corner of The Hub. You’ll never look back.
DCUfm, you’ve been a pal.
My time in DCUfm officially finished on Friday, April 26, 2013 when I read my final news bulletin on air:
But it wasn’t all heartbreak and tears that day, we wanted to go out on a light note, so our own Nick Sheridan put together this beauty to show the very best of the very worst of DCUfm News: