Members of De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s community radio station have spoken of their delight at covering one of the most unpredictable General Elections for decades with a live 13-hour broadcast last week.
DemonFM broadcasted all the way through from 10pm on Thursday night until 11am on Friday as the results came in and the country woke up to the second hung parliament in seven years.
A team of 22 De Montfort University (DMU) students took live calls and reports from across the country, following the story as it unfolded.
Ollie McGrath, a third-year Media Production student and Head of Programming at DemonFM, explained: “Being a bit of a politics nerd, I’d always wanted to cover an election, but I was never in Leicester when they were called.
“So, when Theresa May called the election in April, I decided; no matter what, I will be there!
“With the help of Dan Wildman, Abi Gibson, Beth Mosettig and Hannah Rowe, we managed to pull off a pretty incredible broadcast. We had 22 members involved, running around trying to find the latest scoop. It was incredible.”
The team followed the results as they happened, and discussed key and divisive topics from the campaign with students and young people from up and down the UK.
“We contacted every student and community radio station in the UK to see whether they would be willing to report from any of the counts for us,” Ollie continued.
“We had a phenomenal response, with over 40 people volunteering to be reporters from rural Scotland to Portsmouth. As far as I’m aware, this is one of the biggest student and community radio station collaborations there has been without a company organising it.”
The coverage also saw more light-hearted segments – with a 3am edition of ‘Insinuation Station’ a particular highlight.
Leanne Faben, a second-year Media Production student, was the host. She said: “[It] was basically our play on Innuendo Bingo, where two unfortunate contestants had to fill their mouths with water and listen to clips of politicians.
“It was a lot of fun to host and put together, and it was a great way to break up the election coverage through the night.
“Being breakfast show producer we don’t usually have the chance to have water flying everywhere in the studio, especially at 3am, so it was definitely a highlight of my time at Demon Media so far!”
Students worked through the night to bring listeners updates as they came in –? sometimes even before the major outlets.
Leanne continued: “The coverage as a whole was absolutely brilliant. Stations around the country got involved with the coverage and DemonFM put on an amazing and professional broadcast.
“It was so great to be involved with; General Elections don’t happen every day so it was definitely a valuable experience for me!”
The team’s coverage kicked off as ballot boxes were sealed – and the BBC, Sky News and ITV News released a shattering exit poll that pinned the Conservatives short of a majority (and turned out to be correct).
Hannah Rowe, a third-year Politics student and Station Manager of DemonFM, explained that the unpredictability of the night meant that there was always something to talk about on air.
“Being such a fascinating night really helped our coverage,” she said. “I think people were genuinely shocked at that exit poll as they thought there would be a majority government, at least from the Tories, and the fact that we couldn’t even see that stability set off a night of unpredictability.
“The night showed how special DemonFM really can be in bringing students together on such a big issue.
“I want to say a huge credit to Ollie and the rest of the team who really pulled it out of the bag and did a truly phenomenal job.”
The coverage was led from DemonFM's 'nice and shiny' new studio in the Queens Building at DMU.