When COVID-19 restrictions hit in March one part-time course that was paused due to the reliance on studio time was the Introduction to Radio Broadcasting and Presenting.
The internationally accredited course for anyone interested in working in radio is run by WIT along with Beat and WLR.
The course has been delivered since 2015 by WIT lecturer and Irish Beats’ very own Rob O’Connor along with lecturer and Sunday Grill host Orla Rapple.
Teaching involves the facilities at both the purpose-built Broadcast Centre and the WIT Cork Road campus.
Five weeks into the 12-session course, it was decided not to continue online straight away as so much of the course is based around the studio which can’t be easily replicated at home, says O’Connor.
In May a plan was devised to deliver the remainder of the course in a blended fashion, with some sessions on Zoom and the studio session in the Broadcast Centre being conducted using social distancing, reduced numbers and a rota system.
As part of the blended delivery, Zoom classes were delivered by some of the South East’s top broadcasters, including WLR’s Damien Tiernan and Beat’s Niall Power.
Each student produced a radio programme/podcast on a subject of their choice and the standard was incredibly high.
Rob O’Connor notes that he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to complete the course, saying: “I honestly thought the standard would drop considerably, but I was blown away by the dedication of the students and the high quality of the programmes they produced. I expect many of them will go much further in the world of broadcasting and podcasting.”
A wide range of subjects were covered including a documentary on the life and times of Jack Charlton; a look at AFoLs (Adult Fans of Lego); The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval Dungarvan; Isolation Creations (jewellery making during lockdown) as well as plenty of music shows with everything on the pop, rock and hip-hop spectrum through to the soothing sounds of Balearic beats.
Neil Quinlan, the Head of the Department of Lifelong Learning at WIT says: “Well done to all the 2020 WIT Certificate in Radio Broadcasting who recently completed their course through a combination of online learning and hands-on practical sessions in the WLR/ Beat Broadcasting Centre.
“Despite the difficult circumstances, the course was a great success and great credit is due to the main teaching team of Rob O’Connor and Orla Rapple along with all of the staff and management at WLR/ Beat 102-103 who shared their expertise with the students. Applications for the 2021 course will open this November.”
The following Introduction to Radio Broadcasting and Presenting is not due to take place until 2021.