2018 Conference Schedule

We’re delighted to reveal the schedule for the 2018 Nations and Regions Media Conference, Radio in the 21st Century. Below you’ll find information on how the day will run.

Further information on sessions and speakers will be added on an ongoing basis.

8.45am - Registration

Delegates register and collect their passes.

9.35am - Introductions and Welcome

Introduction by hosts Katie Thistleton and Darryl Morris.

9.40am - Speech by the Vice Chancellor Helen Marshall

Welcome to this year’s conference from University of Salford Vice Chancellor, Professor Helen Marshall.

9.50am - Katie and Darryl: The Story So Far

Rising radio stars Katie Thistleton and Darryl Morris talk about their journey in the radio industry so far.

10.05am - Next Generation Speaks

University of Salford BA TV and Radio student Ellie Lightowler reveals what it is that radio audiences want to see on screen.

10.10am - The Radio Today Programme: Radio Tomorrow

Trevor Dann hosts the week’s Radio Today Programme podcast from the Nations and Regions Media Conference with guests looking at new developments and opportunities in radio/audio production. The issues being discussed include:

  • plans for a Government content fund to finance PSB programmes on commercial radio and how a similar system works in Ireland
  • the likely explosion in small scale DAB radio stations over the next few years
  • the development of voice activation.


Phil Cooper - Broadcasting Authority of Ireland
Gregory Watson - co-creator of Folder Media And Muxco
Sarah Challis - BBC Creative Director for the User Experience of Content Delivery
Will Jackson - Managing Director of Radio Independents Group

Chair: Trevor Dann

10.40am - Improvisation Performance

University of Salford Media and Performance students perform an improvisation piece.

10.45am - Commercial Radio in the 21st Century

Radio and TV presenter Andy Crane chairs a session about local commercial radio. Former radio exec and consultant David Lloyd delivers his verdict on the state of the industry followed by a debate with other industry figures about its future.

Speaker: David Lloyd


Kate Cocker - Former Content Controller at Manchester Station Key 103

Chair: Andy Crane

11.30am - Originals Online: Is It Time for an Audio Netflix?

A short showcase of great audio content being produced for online audiences first. But what’s its future, can it be a viable business and do we need to promote it better? Is it time for an Audio Netflix?


Chris Warburton - Presenter of 5Live Weekend Breakfast and Beyond Reasonable Doubt (the 5Live crime investigation podcast)
Alex Jungius - Strategic Director at Leeds based indie and podcast producer This is Distorted
Ashley Byrne - Creative Director (MIM Productions and new platform Distinct by MIM 

Chair: 5Live Presenter Sam Walker

12.15pm - Sound Science

How do you make science work for the listener in audio? Scotland based independent radio producer and former aerospace engineer Mike Hally and Dr Hermione Cockburn, Scientific Director of Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh discuss how to make science documentaries for a non-specialist audience on radio with illustrated examples of audio from some of their award winning programmes.


Mike Hally – co-founder of Square Dog Productions
Dr Hermione Cockburn Scientific Director, Dynamic Earth

12.50pm - Lunch and Networking

Lunch will be served between 12.45pm and 1.45pm

1.40pm - Welcome Back

Katie Thistleton and Jordan North kick off the afternoon's proceedings.

1.50pm - Any Questions? With Gwyneth Williams - Radio 4 Controller

The Controller of Radio 4 discusses her vision for the UK’s biggest speech network and what the station is doing to reach wider audiences.

Radio 4 had a record number of listeners last year and Gwyneth Williams will talk about the station’s continuing role as the place for quality news, current affairs, documentary, arts, drama, debate and comedy. Radio 4 is also attracting digital audiences with podcasts such as conspiracy thriller Tracks, Friday Night Comedy and Political Thinking with Nick Robinson.
The session will also cover Radio 4’s role in reflecting the rich diversity of communities across the UK.

Chair: Torin Douglas

2.30pm - Next Generation Speaks

Provocation - what do audiences really want? Three University of Salford BA TV and Radio students set out to bring a new perspective to what radio audiences want.

2.35pm - Sisters Are Doing it For Themselves - Successful Women on the Wireless

Former GMG Radio boss John Simons hosts a session celebrating the role of female presenters on local and national radio stations based outside of London. Those on the panel talking about the challenges they’ve faced to succeed in the industry include co-presenter of 5Live Mid morning presenter Anna Foster who has reported on major stories around the UK and across the world for the past 15 years, Trish Adudu who started her career as assistant producer on Grandstand and Match of the Day and now presents the BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Breakfast Show and Chelsea Norris who co-presented Key 103’s Breakfast Show and now hosts BBC Radio Manchester’s Breakfast programme.


Anna Foster - Mid Morning presenter on BBC 5Live
Trish Adudu – Presenter, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Breakfast Show
Chelsea Norris - Breakfast Show presenter on BBC Radio Manchester

Chair: John Simons

3.15pm - Coffee and Networking

A chance to meet other delegates.

3.45pm - Painting Pictures in the Mind: Children and Audio in the 21st Century

How do we engage the youngest audiences with radio and audio in the 21st Century? Producers from CBeebies Radio in Manchester and FunKids explain how they do it to CBBC presenter Katie Thistleton


John Leagas - Executive Producer, CBeebies Radio

Gregory Watson - Co-Founder, FunKids

Chair: Katie Thistleton - CBBC/Radio 1 Presenter

4.20pm - What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Derry Girls?

Dr Caroline Magennis asks what makes Northern Irish comedy unique, why it is rarely heard on the airwaves across the UK and whether – following Derry Girls, Channel 4’s latest comedy success – there is a chance that more network doors will open?


Jackie Neill - BBC Radio Ulster Station Manager
Jackie Hamilton - Managing Director NI indie Moondog Productions
Diona Doherty - radio and tv comedy actor (played Katya in Derry Girls)

Chair - Dr Caroline Magennis - University of Salford

5.10pm - Meet the Commissioners

The chance for independent production companies, indie producers and freelance producers to meet one to one with those making decisions about radio and audio programme making in the UK and beyond.

Commissioning Editors taking part so far:

Robert Gallacher – BBC Radio 2/6 Music
Heidi Dawson – BBC Radio 5 Live
Louise Kattenhorn – BBC Radio 1/1Xtra
Steve Titherington – BBC World Service
Steve Carsey – Audible
Jeremy Grange – BBC Radio Wales
Jackie Neill – BBC Radio Ulster
Phillip Cooper – Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

5.30pm - Reception: Ray Fitzwalter Award

The start of an evening devoted to the inaugural Ray Fitzwalter Award, a £4,000 prize for an investigative journalist to use to launch their own investigation.