Dear Younger Self by Mae Thomas

by Mae Thomas

In 2009, I was working as a News Journalist/Editor for a community radio station in Newport, Wales called Newport City Radio. There was one time in the year where our online station would apply for a short-term restricted service FM radio license to broadcast for about a month. The radio manager at the time was a smiley, warm, kind-eyed Welshman called Ian Lamsdale. When we got permission for the FM broadcast, we all got ready. Ian picked me up and I looked at the back of his car and saw this tangle of metal rods stuck together. I asked him what that was and he said that it was the radio antennae. We were heading to the highest pub in the area, to climb to the top and attach the radio antennae so that we could broadcast from our studio to a particular frequency for people to hear us on radio waves. That was my first time setting up a radio signal.

Coming back to India and working at 94.3 Radio One in Bombay as a radio presenter hosting the afternoon request show, I used to hang out with the production guy, Bipin Janavlekar and watched how he would put together promos and ads, editing music in a way that it creates suspense or an explosion of excitement. I would also chat at length with our tech team – Sushant Malvi and Pravin Pingle, who told me about all the radio towers in Bombay, where they’re located and why, which towers are used by which radio stations, or what happens when the studio broadcast cuts out – how do you continue playing music so that the frequency isn’t playing dead air (i.e., radio silence). I was the only presenter who knew how to convert the on-air studio into a recording studio where if I spoke into the mic instead of going live on air, it would be recorded into our radio computing software (RCS).

When I started my own podcast company in 2018, I wanted to know how to distribute a podcast. How do I create an RSS feed and make sure the show is available on all podcast apps? I had previously worked with a wonderful tech guy called Kunwar Anand, who I called and asked for his advice. He was kind enough to help me every step of the way.

I’m sure you remember in school we learned, “knowledge is power”. It’s true. Though I don’t know how much power I have but I do think it’s helped me understand the world I work in better. I’ve learned that asking questions, being curious and sharing knowledge is the best way to work and build. I am not an expert but I surround myself with expert opinions that I trust and value. I am only one human being and I cannot be expected to know everything.

I am not a qualified audio engineer. And yet, I run a podcast production company and consultancy where I’ve taken shows from idea to production to distribution. All because of working with people who have the expertise that I don’t. I would rather be the person who admits that “I don’t know” and ask for help, than that person who acts like they do know and never being able to go beyond their own potential.

Listen to Maed in India – India’s first indie music podcast that showcases the best Indian independent musicians.

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