13th October 2011, 4:00pm
Students grill the man behind BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend
Jason Carter Lincoln students got the opportunity to tell the man behind BBC Radio 1’s live music events what they thought of the station when he visited the University to give a presentation in the School of Journalism yesterday.

Jason Carter, responsible for Radio 1’s Big Weekends and currently masterminding their biggest outdoor music event yet, ‘Hackney 2012’, addressed a packed auditorium as he explained how the station had developed its live events, launched the ‘Introducing’ concept and responded to its listeners - increasing its audience each year. He was accompanied by Claire Thomas, the executive producer of Introducing.

Speaking before the event, Jason said: “It’s great to be able to come and engage with the students as they are within our 15 to 24 year-old target audience. They’re the young end of the licence fee payers so they are the future of the BBC.

“I really want to get across to the students the strategic reasoning behind the initiatives we launch, such as Introducing, and the events we put on. Everything we do is planned, based on a lot of research we do with our target audience. I think you can apply the same principles to your time at university and your career; look at what you want to achieve and set yourself a plan as to how you will work towards it.”

As well as sharing behind the scenes information with the students, Jason gave some useful pointers for people planning to work in the media industry. For anyone who doubted the value of work experience, Claire Thomas – now executive producer of the BBC’s Introducing, the platform for new musicians that’s catapulted the likes of Florence And The Machine and Chipmunk to fame – shared that she had made her way on to the BBC’s staff team following a work placement she had with them several years ago.

Jason answered as many questions from students as time allowed, being especially keen to hear and respond to criticism. When asked why it was difficult to get tickets for the Big Weekend events, Jason explained how the BBC works responsibly, using the revenue from the licence-fee appropriately and not overstepping the mark in the marketplace.

“We reflect the other festivals that our target audience goes to, such as Glastonbury, Creamfields, Reading and Leeds,“ he said. “But we purposely don’t put on something on the same scale because, as we offer free tickets, we would impinge on their market - and that’s not what we’re about. It can be difficult to get that limitation across to the hundreds of thousands of people who unsuccessfully apply for the tickets to our gigs though.”

Principal Lecturer in the Lincoln School of Journalism, Barnie Choudhury, organised Jason’s visit. He said: "I invited Jason for one main reason - our students listen to Radio 1. What Jason did was to bring home some great tips on how they can break into a wonderful industry. I think our students had great fun in learning something which will stay with them for the rest of their lives - and Jason was able to meet the people his station caters for.

“Who knows, he may have taken away some thoughts and ideas which could help shape Radio 1's future output and policy.”
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