Industry names flock to DMU for DemonFM's #SRACon

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De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s community radio station DemonFM welcomed hundreds of students to the annual Student Radio Association (SRA) Conference at De Montfort University (DMU) last week for the first time since 2013.

Some of the biggest names in radio – including Greg James, Mistajam and James O’Brien as well as Stephanie Hirst, Christian O’Connell and Steve Lamacq – headed to DMU for the event which saw keynotes, breakouts and other sessions designed to help students make their mark in the radio industry.

There were also two massive nights of celebration, including Demo Factor – where students could submit their demos to be judged by a panel of industry experts – and the I Love Student Radio Awards, where DemonFM were nominated for six national awards.


Judges for Demo Factor included (L-R) Absolute Radio’s Paul Sylvester, Kiss FM’s Pandora Christie, BBC Radio 1’s Jordan North and Lucy Winter, and DemonFM founding member Chris North. They were later joined by Greg James.

Mike Mayes, VP Media and Communications at DSU, said: “It was such an amazing pleasure to host the SRA Conference.

“Everyone spoke so highly about the conference and the SRA told me that they thought we’d raised the bar on all previous conferences; and that we’ll be a hard act to follow.

“The talks during the day were so inspiring and informative, and anyone looking to go into radio will have all the better chance after the wisdom imparted by so many incredible broadcasters.

“It’s been so great to have had the opportunity to put on an event which has undoubtedly helped launch careers for students both here at DMU and across the country.”

Stations from as far afield as Glasgow and Cardiff attended the conference, which was last held at DMU in 2013.


Marvin Humes – formerly of JLS – was also on campus to talk about the new challenge of presenting the Vodafone Big Top 40.

The conference, held from Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 April across Hugh Aston and The Venue@DMU, also welcomed former Demon Media students including DemonFM founding member and talent agent Chris North, Capital producer Dave Murphy and talkSPORT presenter Will Gavin.

Hannah Rowe, a third-year Politics student and DemonFM’s Station Manager, said: “I have almost recovered now! [The conference] was absolutely phenomenal, and to see everyone turn out was brilliant.

“We had a lot of feedback on our new studios, too, and a lot of stations were surprised we weren’t an actual commercial station, and that really put us on the map.”


Stephanie Hirst inspired students with the story of how she transitioned to female – and risked her hugely successful radio career in the process.

Hannah continued: “There is so much more to do than you think there is going to be, and there is always something that crops up to test you.

“My favourite piece of advice – and this shows how great it is, as I wasn’t even in this talk – was from James O’Brien who said ‘there’s not much point in having a mind unless you’re prepared to change it’.

“I’d really like to thank Mike, [DemonFM Head of Programming] Ollie McGrath and Holli Norton from the university’s events office who made it all possible.”

You can find a full album of pictures from SRA Conference 2017 on our Facebook page here.?


Greg James, formerly Station Manager of Livewire1350 at the University of East Anglia (UEA) is a massive supporter of the student radio movement.

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