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  • Jasmine Owen-Moulding

The Resurrection of Fresh Air: In Conversation with Edinburgh’s Student Radio Station

Our Creative Director, Jasmine Owen Moulding, chatted with Fresh Air’s Station Manager -Elizabeth Ashley, Assistant Station Manager – Erin Kieser, and Social Secretary – Yasmine Ghourabi. The interview discusses their upcoming event The Resurrection, as well as their future plans for the society.

Jasmine Owen Moulding (JOM): You’re hosting an event called the Resurrection, what is the reason for it?

Erin Kieser (EK): Over the summer our website actually got deleted – we don’t know how! But that obviously had a huge knock-on effect on our broadcasting, which, as a radio station, is the main thing we do! So, we’ve been working really hard to get it up and running again, and now that we’ve got our brand new website we want to celebrate the fact that we’ve bounced back, not only as a radio station, but as a society too. It’s also a great opportunity to fundraise for Fresh Air in general.

JOM: Can you tell me a bit about the event itself? What is the Resurrection?:

Yasmine Ghourabi (YG): The Resurrection is a relaunch party/DJ event. Our theme is retro futurism, it’s all about looking towards to future of Fresh Air. The ‘rising from the dead’ vibe works super well too, as the event is taking place around Halloween, so we can make it kind of creepy!

We’ve got a great line up of DJs: ENAEN, 65WEST, KETIQUETA, LOLALOLA, and ZEIN. They’re all amazing and have really diverse sounds – there will definitely be a tune for everyone.

We also have a photographer, Achilleas Salaveris, for the night! I got in contact with him through mutual connections and luckily he was really interested, which is amazing because I love his work. He’s going to help us achieve that retro-Hollywood party vibe, just capturing people having a good time.

We are so grateful to all these fantastic artists for helping us make this a great night!

JOM: What was the process behind planning a big event? How did you find a venue?:

YG: I started out by finding the best date. Eventually we decided that Halloween weekend would be a great fit for an event called the Resurrection! Then I started contacting venues to see who had availability for the 26th – we went with the Biscuit Factory because it’s such a cool venue and the warehouse vibe really fits the theme.

Then I began contacting our DJs and Photographer which was actually such an easy and lovely process because everyone was so enthusiastic and helpful.

JOM: How are you hoping the event will help Fresh Air?:

Elizabeth Ashley (EA): I hope it can help us get back on the map! We actually used to be the second biggest society at the whole university, we had over 300 members in 2018/2019. And then COVID was catastrophic for broadcasting – we couldn’t use the studio anymore and no one wanted to do their shows over zoom.

We’d barely begun to build ourselves back up when we had all these technical issues over the summer with the website. So the Resurrection is really symbolic of Fresh Air’s journey, we also need a nice big celebration for all our hard work!

We’ve got a great committee this year, and some really cool shows – we just need to show off a bit! We need to get our name back out there.

EK: The radio just has so much potential; we have such great equipment that you can do so much with. It’s such a shame that so many people don’t know about it! A lot of people don’t even know that the studios exist.

EA: It would also be great to re-establish a social framework for Fresh Air that can be continued into the future. We want to make events more regular, to keep people informed about the station – to keep us on the map!

We want to integrate a good format for the station and how it should be operated, not only as a radio station but as a society for people to make connections in. This is a great starting point, and then whoever takes over the station will have a proper handover to use for guidance.

JOM: You mentioned that the Resurrection is a fundraiser, what are the most important things that you need the funds for? Are there any hidden costs to running a radio station?:

EA: The big thing is getting licensing for the technology because we don’t get EUSA (Edinburgh University Student’s Association) funding. We also tend to have much higher costs than some other societies because to run a digital station we need to spend money on things like website infrastructure, studio infrastructure and Zetta (radio automation system).

It’s been really tricky to find the funds for all these expenses, especially since we’ve had such low membership for the past three years since COVID. So those are the main reasons for the fundraiser, as well as just showing people that we exist! Hopefully the event will help bring in more members. Our membership fee is actually super cheap considering the equipment, training, and studio space that you have access to.

EK: I also think it would be great, if we could get more fundraising, to provide our members with even more opportunities than we currently offer.

We have so much amazing kit, and we train all of our new members, but if we had more funding we could put on workshops and really get the most out of our equipment. We just have all these ideas of how we want to take advantage of the studio space, it would be great if we could facilitate them!

JOM: How are you hoping to transform Fresh Air after this ‘resurrection’?:

EA: Erin and I both have very big plans for the station going forward. For the past few years, it’s very much been the case that you’re on your own after initial training. You just do your show, and that’s it. Essentially we were a podcasting studio, rather than a radio station.

We want to reimagine the station with a much bigger emphasis on being a radio station society – not just a stand-alone studio space. We want breakfast shows, drive-time shows, regular presenters, maybe even radio dramas! In general, we just want to have a much bigger presence in the student body.

We’re hoping to achieve this via collaboration with other societies to bring in both members and listeners. We’ve got plans for a society spotlight hour; we can bring in different societies to talk about what they do. Aside from that, it’s just so much fun to get on the microphone and mess around with all the great kit we’ve got, and we want to share that fun with as many people as possible!

EK: I really want it to be more of a community. I want people to feel like they can come and talk to us, and just know who we are. There’s so much opportunity for people to get involved and we really encourage people to do so!

Just being visible as a committee is also a big thing, I feel like we’ve not had that for the past few years; especially during COVID times. When I first joined, I didn’t even know who the committee was! So we really want to make ourselves more transparent and available to create a welcoming environment that people want to be a part of.

JOM: Finally, how can people get involved? What’s available to the general student?:

EA: The first way you can get involved is by booking a ticket to the Resurrection!

Otherwise, we run new shows every semester, so you can sign up for your own show next semester! When applications open, you’ll be able to apply through the website. Make sure you’re following our Instagram for updates on how and when to apply.

EK: We’ve always got more space, we broadcast from 10:00-22:00 so there’s so plenty of time in the day for new shows!

And your show can be whatever you like – even if you’d only like a little 5 minute broadcast instead of a whole show, just get in contact and we’ll see what we can do to accommodate you.

EA: We want to give you a platform! We have politics shows, sports shows, news shows, music shows, agony aunts – the list goes on!

If you are accepted for a show, you’ll have full access to the studios which are equipped with the same kit that the BBC uses. Don’t worry if you don’t have any radio experience, none of us did before we got involved with Fresh Air, and we will teach you how to use all the kit. We’re all still learning every day, and we are here to support you throughout the whole process.

EK: We’re also so lucky to have such a range a kit. If you want to join but you’re nervous about broadcasting live, you can start out on our podcasting deck, there’s plenty of time to get familiar with talking on the mic, sorting out your music, and just generally easing yourself in. You can go at your own pace.

EA: We’re very low pressure, we’re never going to judge anyone, and it’s all about having fun.

Get tickets to The Resurrection 26/10/23 here.

Join Fresh Air here.

Check Out the Fresh Air website here.

Keep updated on the Fresh Air Instagram here.

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