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News Ziggy Stardust documentary is a hit at radio awards

Two friends from Staffordshire University have won industry praise for their radio documentary about music legend David Bowie

Kelvin Andrews and Chris Steers pictured at last year's Student Radio Awards
Image: Kelvin Andrews and Chris Steers pictured at last year's Student Radio Awards

The Student Radio Awards are the biggest awards for anyone trying to get into the industry – they are equivalent to the Oscars for radio.

Chris Steers, MA Radio Production

Ziggy Stardust and the LGBT+ Revolution by BA (Hons) Film, Television and Radio graduates Chris Steers and Kelvin Andrews won Best Speech Show at the Student Radio Awards this month.

It is the second year in a row that the pair have been recognised at the annual event. Last year, they won the Kevin Greening Award for Creativity award for a moving documentary inspired by the Nazi Occupation of the Channel Islands during World War 2.

Chris said: “We wanted to make something different to the WW2 documentary and to top what we did last year. We do it because we enjoy it and to make great radio but to win an awards two years running is absolutely huge.

“The judges said the documentary would be perfect for BBC Radio 2 or BBC 6 Music which is a massive compliment.”

The duo originally made the documentary two years ago during their undergraduate degree and saw lockdown as an opportunity to revisit the project.

Kelvin, a music DJ and producer, had the original idea to explore David Bowie’s influence on LGBT+ culture in 1970s and the pair managed to secure interviews with drummer Woody Woodmansey who played with Bowie’s backing group Spiders from Mars and electronic music producer Man Parrish.

Kelvin explained: “Bowie’s career took off just as colour TV became available and we’d never seen anything like his colourful performances before. Boys were wearing make-up and Ziggy Stardust haircuts – and Bowie made that okay.

“The one thing that stood out for us both was how brave people can really be. Bowie’s creation Ziggy Stardust fearlessly championed freedom of expression, inspiring a whole generation of LGBT+ youngsters to be themselves.”

After finishing their degrees this summer, Chris and Kelvin are completing an MA in Radio Documentary at Staffordshire University and hope to expand the documentary into a series focussing on different David Bowie albums.

Chris also has several other projects in the pipeline including a documentary about dogs involved in warfare and a Formula One project.

He said: “The beauty of radio is that we can do it whether there are two, three or more lockdowns to come. We are doing a lot of interviews on Microsoft Teams or over the phone and the University has also been really good at keeping access to the studios open.”

Alongside his studies, Chris plays an active role with Staffordshire University’s student radio station OMG and works at community station The HitMix. His dream job is to work for the BBC and he believes that winning this award will help him get into the industry.

This year, OMG received a total of four nominations at the Student Radio Awards including Joe Williams for Best Speech with Tales of War, Samuel Slaney for Best Sport and Alisha Vaughn for Best Journalistic.

Chris said: “The Student Radio Awards are the biggest awards for anyone trying to get into the industry – they are equivalent to the Oscars for radio. Greg James famously won Best Male before he began presenting on Radio One.

“I know I’ll get to where I want to be. You’ve got work hard and to network, and this award will help with that.”

Winners were announced in a virtual ceremony hosted by BBC Radio 1’s Vick Hope and Capital Radio presenter Rob Howard which is available to watch online here.

Listen to Ziggy Stardust and the LGBT+ Revolution in full here.

 

 

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