|Regatta Radio co-founder George Thomas presenting (Photo: R. Caroe)|
Regatta Radio is now a fixture at Henley–it’s the only temporary radio station dedicated to rowing for 10 days a year. Broadcasting from a shack behind the famous Leander club, the outfit is now an established part of the Royal Regatta.
|Martin Unsworth (Photo: R. Caroe)|
Acquiring a broadcast license was simple and the Stewards continue to be supportive, allowing Regatta Radio to broadcast from within the Enclosures; Leander Club also give us a corner of their car park for the portacabin headquarters.
Pundit and journalist, Rachel Quarrell, is a regular on the team. She remembers, “The early years was exciting and exhilarating. What we didn't expect was the listeners were so into it - they were visiting the studio asking for ‘shout outs’ on air saying we're from this Rowing Club and this is amazing. We started getting phone calls to the studio - the GB womens quad training 10 miles away in Caversham were listening in and they called and requested an interview!”
|Putting together the running order for the day (Photo: R. Caroe)|
Production Manager, Danny Cox, has been on the team five years. He describes his job as “making good radio.” Broadcasting 24 hours a day means they are smart with their content. Danny explains, “Our team of commentators produce online output and I am responsible for everything that goes around it from the jingles to the commercials. We package the content for example an interview on day 1 which was broadcast live would also be recorded, edited; pieced together with music, inserted into our computerized system and it'll play out several times a day.”
But the operation still has its delights–Will Smith the Commentary Coordinator is front line for problem solving. “Part of its charm is that it's not a finely tuned machine yet - one of the things that is quintessentially British,” Smith says. “It's a bit romantic - things go wrong all the time, like technical issues, and I have to race down the lane on a bicycle to a commentary station to try and fix things.”
|The mixing desk (Photo: R. Caroe)|
This once-homespun operation has now become an integral part of the enjoyment and celebration of rowing at Henley. It's unique–no other regatta manages to do this–and I, for one, hope that it continues to draw in the listeners and financial supporters to continue innovation around broadening the enjoyment of rowing worldwide. -RC
Rebecca Caroe is the owner of Rowperfect UK and maintains their daily rowing blog, and is a coach and masters athlete.
To listen to highlights of the 2012 regatta (including the interview with Harry Parker mentioned above), visit the Regatta Radio Podcasts page. Thanks very much to Rebecca for the insight, and Happy 4th of July!