Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. TV & Radio
16 March 2017updated 02 Aug 2021 10:58am

Voice of the youth: the glory of Leeds Student Radio

The tone of the whole station is of an easy joy in the medium.

By Antonia Quirke

“You shouldn’t admit your mistakes on radio, but I done bad . . .” One of the many volunteers broadcasting from Leeds Student Union apologises for an awkward gap between songs. It’s a light apology – no real embarrassment. The tone of the whole station is of an easy joy in the medium: in other words, you rarely get the feeling that any of the presenters would rather be on telly.

DJs like to talk, of course, but who on professional radio has such decently humble stories as Just Listen’s Oscar, with his “heavy metal and hard rock hour”, fondly ­talking about his dad yelling to “Invaders” by Iron Maiden on his way to work at KFC in the 1980s, driving the same clapped-out Fiat Punto in which Oscar now limps about the city? Or Lucy and Sandie on a Thursday, worrying that Courtney Love just doesn’t seem like a nice person? “But she made a banger,” Sandie concedes. “This song is awesome; here’s ‘Violet’ by Hole.”

Transmitting most hours in term time, LSR offers cookery and tech tips (“now the latest headphone stuff . . . switching from mono to stereo for panoramics if you’re mixing . . . Audio-Technica and the E70, but it can get pretty steep”), and sympathetic ads for a cab company happy to transport you from a perhaps regretted one-night stand (“Avoid that walk of shame”). The news bulletins, however, are terrible – read with an air of catatonic shock during which the station sometimes drops off air for 20 minutes, as though its mind has been blown.

But then a programme such as Saturday Sport is a very serious little operation, with four “football correspondents” covering everything from Ipswich Town v Barnsley to Yeovil Town v Morecambe. This lot (unpreening, nobody agitating to be included) are better than anyone I’ve heard on Talksport on a Monday morning going over the weekend’s fixtures.

Ditto the Hannah in the Hizzle evening slot, moving excellently between disco and grime via seductive appeals to Dizzee Rascal. (“If you’re listening, Dizzee . . . Ah, just wishful thinking!”) Hannah sounds like the bloom on an apricot, and is possibly studying Seneca, because she mentions “controlled anger” a lot while rifling through her Sister Sledge. Dizzee could do worse.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Listen online at

Content from our partners
The truth about employability
Why we need a Minister for Citizen Experience
Look at the person, not the CV

Topics in this article :

This article appears in the 15 Mar 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Brexit and the break-up of Britain