A Radio Station Without A Station

Without access to campus facilities, Radio Heatwave tells Benjamin Wellesley how the campus radio station functions in spite of challenging circumstances.

Main Editor of HYPE Issue #51

Published on
July 27, 2020

Nestled in the heart of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s atrium during the Apr 2020 semester is an empty radio studio where Radio Heatwave, Singapore’s first campus radio station, usually broadcast their live shows.

The Covid-19 pandemic threw the Radio Heatwave team a curveball as they were unable to access campus facilities, with the exception of hosting three makeshift Instagram TV (IGTV) radio shows during their Heatwave Homecoming event which lasted from Jul 2 to Jul 16.

“With everything being shifted online, home-based learning and online classes have definitely inconvenienced [the Radio Heatwave team],” said Nikki Chin, 19, who is one of Radio Heatwave’s Events and Promotions Managers. 

To preserve the essence of the station, the management team devised a way for new and returning disc jockeys (DJs) to host quasi-radio shows on their Instagram.

“We get the jocks to go onto a Zoom call where they do their talk sets, introduce the music and invite artists to interview,” said Shayanne Chang, 19, a Social Media Manager at the station. “This is very much similar to the structure of a radio programme and enables them to train or practise their skills even when they’re at home.” 

New Radio Heatwave jock Bradley Jacob, 19, lauded the management’s efforts in giving them a taste of hosting a live show. “I feel that this has been a good initiative introduced by the management, as it helps all the freshies to get [an] idea of how to speak on-air and converse with each other,” he said.

I feel that this has been a good initiative introduced by the management, as it helps all the freshies to get [an] idea of how to speak on-air and converse with each other.

- Bradley Jacob, 19

First-year Radio Heatwave jock

The first-year Media Post-Production student also said he has settled in well amidst the slew of online activities the management team had planned.

“We had a radio bootcamp over [a] weekend, where we got to know each other better, learnt more about radio from the Radio Heatwave management, and had dialogue sessions with Joshua Simon and Sonia Chew,” Bradley explained.

Joshua Simon and Sonia Chew are both reputable DJs from Kiss 92FM and 987FM respectively.

A fitness mat with a laptop showing Chloe Ting's ab workout for people who are trying to stay fit during the circuit breaker period which was set in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 cases in Singapore.

Radio Heatwave’s management team and jocks having a lively chat session about radio with Kiss 92FM’s Joshua Simon during their bootcamp held on May 30 and 31, 2020. Photo courtesy of Nikki Chin.

Shayanne added: “The management team wants Radio Heatwave to remain the close-knit family that it has always strived to be. That’s why we’ve come out with different activities and meetings for the freshies and our existing jocks from the previous semester to bond and interact with each other.”

In a bid to help new jocks familiarise themselves with the studio equipment, Shayanne utilised her design skills to create a mock prototype of the radio console.

Shayanne’s Adobe XD mockup of the actual LAWO console found in Radio Heatwave’s main studio. Video courtesy of Shayanne Chang.

“In the game-like prototype, the jocks learn about the different functions on the console and play out different scenarios to better their understanding of handling the console,” Shayanne explained. “It’s basic stuff but it certainly will give them a head start when they eventually return to campus for their on-air broadcast!”

To keep spirits high, the Radio Heatwave team emphasised putting out innovative content on social media. 

“All of our time is spent on making sure that our social media content is really good and that fills the void [left] by the fact that we can’t go school and do our radio shows,” explained Anjali Selva Kumar, 19, who is the Station Manager for the Apr 2020 semester.

Amassing thousands of views on their newly-created TikTok account, the social media team has also been putting out a stream of unique content on their Instagram and YouTube pages.

“Being stuck at home and going into a full-fledged semester of home-based learning (HBL), we have been put to the test to adapt and try out new ways to reach our followers,” Shayanne said.

The stay-home period also brought forth more interview opportunities for the station.

A jovial Nikki conversing with Keshi during the online press conference held over Zoom. Photo courtesy of Nikki Chin.

Nikki clinched an interview with lo-fi hip-hop sensation Casey Luong, more affectionately known as Keshi. She excitedly recalled: “I felt very ecstatic and could barely believe I had a chance to speak to him. I can’t help but think this wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for [the] circuit breaker.”

Opportunities also spawned for new jocks like Bradley, as he grabbed the chance to interview local artists Jeyes and Axel Brizzy.

All things considered, nothing can beat the distinct feeling of broadcasting live from the studio.

Addressing the new jocks, Anjali said:  “When everyone goes back to school, your experience in Heatwave is going to be ten times better.”

When everyone goes back to school, your experience in Heatwave is going to be ten times better.

- Anjali Selva Kumar, 19

Station Manager of Radio Heatwave for the Apr 2020 semester