The Feelgood Lounge: Shows 1 to 22 and Show 23 (12/11/2020)

Time to add a new kind of blog post.

Each Friday I hope to share details of each show for The Feelgood Lounge, any thoughts and reflections on the previous night’s show as well as links to Southern Sound’s website, it’s Mixcloud page and social media accounts.

This week, thankfully, no fireworks to deal with unlike show 22. Believe me it’s not easy to talk – at least in my case vaguely – coherently when you have colourful and sparkly play missiles assaulting the night sky.

I’m actually not a spoilsport with fireworks; going to a fireworks display is always awesome. Just not while presenting shows.

Another great thing about presenting with others is the fun and laughs off-air. The Irn-Bru debate really began to fizz and if you think we’re chatty on-air, we’re even moreso when the mics are off.

On this week’s show.

Anyway, this week’s show we’re talking lockdown hobbies, is Irn-Bru tastier in Scotland, a heroic pet parrot, as well as helping you find your zen and more. Select play on the player below to listen.

Listen to previous shows either by visiting Southern Sound’s Mixcloud page or the dedicated page on this website and select play on whichever episode you want to hear. That page gets updated weekly so be sure to save it to your bookmarks.

Find out more about Southern Sound by:

The Feelgood Lounge, Thursday evenings 2000-2200 UK time, on channel 8 in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow and southernsound.org.uk.

Want to request or dedicate a song to a loved one in hospital? Send a Direct Message on Facebook/Instagram (@southernsoundhospitalradio) or email requests[AT]southernsound[DOT]org[DOT]uk with the subject “Feelgood Lounge request” by Tuesday 2100 UK time. Any requests sent after this time will go into the following week’s show.

Thoughts on presenting a hospital radio show from home

20th of July 2020 was a great day for me. My day was great generally but it was the first live edition of The Feelgood Lounge since it started in April and my first live hospital radio show since before the UK lockdown.

The only major difference between then and now – aside from now being 29 years old rather than 28 and it being called The Feelgood Lounge rather than The Thursday Night Lounge – was presenting the show from my home. To be precise – from inside my home studio (and to put it bluntly, inside my walk-in cupboard).

Up until July, The Feelgood Lounge was pre-recorded. When I started the show, the show was pieced together manually before submitting everything to the station for inclusion in its automation system.

This turned out to be the WORST way to produce the show. Mainly because it took up to 5 hours to produce one show or to put it in another way – 2 and a half Feelgood Lounges for one show. This was nonsensical!

We then switched to voicetracking which was much quicker and less painful. We still use voicetracking if a live show or recording “as live” are not viable options for that particular week.

Presenting live is a different kettle of fish. It’s much more spontaneous, the adrenaline flows like a waterfall, you have to be on your toes to start/stop on designated cues, keep to time, know what you’re going to say that is entertaining and informative and knowing how to react when things go wrong, which they inevitably do.

On the whole it has gone well. In fact you can hear the latest show [show 22 at the time of writing] and find out how it sounds live.

Now presenting live from home is not the same as presenting from a radio studio. Despite this, I learnt several things:

Preparation is everything.

Yes I’m stating the obvious but this even moreso when presenting from home. Especially if your home studio is only a mixer, microphone and a Skype connection like mine.

So when preparing my running order for example I have to include cues for when the mics on the mixer are faded up and faded down so Graham, my engineer, can help make a technically smooth show.

Always check your levels!

This is a standard must do when presenting any radio show but even moreso when you are presenting remotely.

Just because the levels sound fine on your end doesn’t necessarily mean the levels are good on the engineer’s end.

You need to check levels on both ends to make sure you don’t sound like a distorted mess.

Skype is actually reliable.

Years ago Skype was hit and miss in terms of connection relability for a call with friends let alone for presenting.

Nowadays it is pretty much bulletproof, if you combine with an isolated network connection – in my case my phone’s 4G data signal.

Even “proper radio” can present shows from home.

During the first UK lockdown back in the Spring, many presenters on major radio stations decided to present their shows from home instead of going into radio studios with various different set ups.

Even RTE Radio 1’s Bryan Dobson was presenting the early morning national news radio show from his dining room. If it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for anyone.

I still prefer to present from an actual studio.

Don’t get me wrong I love presenting from home and I’m grateful to do so but nothing beats from presenting in a radio studio. A great temporary solution, especially when pandemics are running wild but hopefully sometime in the future I can see a radio studio again.

The main point is if I can help entertain and distract the hospital radio listener for a couple of hours, then that’s what matters at the end of the day. If I’m able to do that from home then great.

Another positive is, I now have a credible excuse when I tell friends what I do on a Thursday evening, “I stand in a cupboard for 2 hours talking into a microphone”.

Busy with The Feelgood Lounge – the latest show and reflections

I’ll be honest – I’ve not been good with producing regular content on here or on social media and that’s my fault so sorry for that. It’s something I’m thinking about how to fix and I’ll let you know what my next steps are in due course. For this post, rather than trying to painstakingly plan and craft in advance, this one will be more off-the-cuff.

Despite that – I’ve been really really busy with my hospital radio show The Feelgood Lounge I present every week on Southern Sound Hospital radio. It’s definitely a highlight of my week regardless if I have the greatest week ever or the worst week ever.

From around 15 minutes before 8pm when I Skype in to just after 10pm when I take off my headphones, switch off my mixer and close the Skype line for another week, the time flies at warp factor 10.

I am blessed to have a great co-host in Fiona and a fantastic engineer in Graham providing that vital technical link between Fiona and I and the radio station. Not to mention he’s also a good laugh on air (and off-air with his colourfully blunt and dry wit and remarks that keep all of us in stitches).

If we can make even a small difference to whoever tunes in from hospital and at least make him/her chuckle and smile, then job done.

My studio clock counting down the minutes to going on air. The buzz really kicks in around 7:30pm onwards.
Reflections on show 22 and now on Mixcloud

On Friday, I caught up with the backlog of previous shows that need to be uploaded onto Southern Sound’s Mixcloud. You can find the latest show below and others at The Feelgood Lounge page on this website.

Plus you can head over to Southern Sound’s Mixcloud page to find this and many other great Southern Sound shows to listen to whenever and wherever you like. Ok, team player plugging – tick!

Show 22 was a great laugh, especially during the first hour. I won’t spoil it for you but I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard on air for a while when we talked about a rather risqué Halloween tradition in particular.

Show 22 was also a particular challenge as we were broadcasting on Guy Fawkes Night. If you’re not from the UK, once a year the country highlights the failed assassination attempt of King James I on 05/11/1605 by the Gunpowder plot. The UK celebrates this failed attempt by lighting bonfires (not so common in Scotland) and setting off fireworks.

Let me tell you – presenting organised entertaining drivel while so many fireworks that explode so loudly to make you wonder if you were broadcasting from some warzone is not easy. A real test of concentration.

For me that’s another quality any good presenter needs to have – adaptability.

What’s next?

Speaking of which I’m currently preparing some posts including one about my observations on presenting a show from home and another about what’s it like to only present versus presenting and operating your mixing desk (or tech opping) concurrently.

All being well I hope, I can share these with you along with my podcast picks for November from this coming week.

The Feelgood Lounge broadcasts on Southern Sound every Thursday evening 2000 UK time on Channel 8 in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and on southernsound.org.uk.