New York Festivals® International Radio Program Awards Grand Jury Confidential interviews provide a sneak peek into the brilliant careers of the 2016 award-winning Grand Jury members who select the World’s Best Radio Programs℠.
“The level of commitment that our Grand Jury has shown is an inspiration to us all. In addition to creating award-winning programs, they are dedicated to sharing their knowledge by reviewing entries submitted from dozens of countries around the world,” said Rose Anderson, Executive Director, New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards.
This week, NYF spends some time with Neil Sloan Programme Controller for Capital South Wales, Communicorp UK’s Capital stations. His 12 years of extensive producing experience spans stints across BBC Radio networks, as well as the Wise Buddah Group.
In the interview below, Neil shares his thoughts about the radio industry including the most important thing he learned from his first job, the hallmarks of an award-winning program, how the culture of his company encourages creativity and much more.
NYF: What’s the most important thing you learned from your first job?
Neil Sloan: I remember my first boss in radio saying to me that he “didn’t care when the work was done, as long as it was done.” I don’t think any programming people in radio work 9 to 5. The hours vary, the workload varies, the deadlines move, and that is what makes it such a brilliant job to have. No two days are ever the same in radio.
NYF: Tell us a bit about your evolution in the radio industry?
Neil Sloan: After freelancing at some small commercial radio stations in London, I got a job as the broadcast assistant on the breakfast show at BBC Radio 1. I started on a month’s trial… and left 12 years later! I became an assistant producer, and then producer, working across various daytime and weekend programmes. I left the BBC in 2013 to join the independent production company Wise Buddah, where I was the executive producer for their various radio productions, for the BBC and for commercial clients. In the summer of 2014, I moved from London to Cardiff to be the Programme Controller of Capital South Wales.
NYF: What’s your favorite radio program that you created?
Neil Sloan: Despite the 0220 alarm calls, I loved producing Early Breakfast with Greg James on BBC Radio 1. The show was on air from 0400-0630 and we were encouraged by the management to be daring and experimental. Greg had just joined Radio 1 and we had a great time coming up with daft features and creating a bond with the listeners in those early hours. We even did an outside broadcast from a motorway service station!
NYF:Will you share how the culture of your company encourages creativity?
Neil Sloan: Capital South Wales is owned by Communicorp UK, and we are radio people that make a difference. The company realizes that creativity is at the core of brilliant programming, which will result in audience growth and loyalty. At Capital South Wales we use creative programming to make our output super-relevant to our Welsh marketplace at key day parts.
NYF: What are the hallmarks of award-winning programs?
Neil Sloan: When I’m judging entries, an award that stands out is one that you just have to keep listening to. The entries that make you laugh, that make you stop in your tracks, that make you turn your radio up – they are the entries that will always score highly. Also, critical for me is an entry that knows its target audience and talks to it in a knowledgeable way.
For more information on the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards please visit: www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/