As part of the Oundle Festival of Literature’s speaker programme, broadcaster, Liz Kershaw gave a talk at St Peter’s Church in Oundle about her autobiography, The Bird and the Beeb, examining the highs and hairy moments of her 40 year career. Members of OSCAR Radio, a pupil-led radio team from Oundle School were amongst the audience and got to share their experiences with Liz after the event before they go on air from 4 November to 1 December on 87.9FM.
Liz, who can’t remember a period in her life unaccompanied by a soundtrack blaring out of the radio, commented, “"It would never have occurred to me I could be on the radio. I thought the people I listened to had been born into it somehow. It wasn’t something I could even aspire to in Rochdale."
She talked about the good days, when she formed a band with young TV mathematician Carol Vorderman, pioneered the TV phone vote while employed by BT, hosted Radio 1’s Evening Show in the late-1980s and successfully fought to save and transform BBC 6 Music. And then there’s the bad, when (much to her dismay) she found herself in the gossip columns as the rumoured soon-to-be-blushing bride of fellow BBC DJ Bruno Brookes, faced the sack, and crossed paths with Rochdale MP Cyril Smith and disgraced personality Jimmy Saville.
Helen Shair, Festival manager of the Oundle Festival of Literature, commented, ‘We aim to bring authors and poets to Oundle to speak on a wide variety of subjects and try to involve the local schools such as Oundle as much as possible. We have had explorers, adventurers, sporting writers, biographers and novelists in the past year and teachers have enthusiastically supported these events by encouraging their pupils to attend and even becoming involved themselves by introducing or interviewing authors. More information about our programme can be found at www.oundlelitfest.org.uk.”
Founded in 1988, OSCAR Radio is an emblem of the talent and enthusiasm of Oundle School pupils. As the only radio station run and directed exclusively by U18s it is an exemplar of the success that young adults can achieve within a professional environment. With the continued support of Sir Howard Stringer (Chairman, Sony Worldwide) and Mr Carl Heinlein and managed by Upper Sixth Form pupils, Eliza Smith (17) and Katie Vickerstaff (18), OSCAR is a legacy that has spanned over 15 years.
Katie commented, “To be able to hear Liz Kershaw speak about her experience of presenting and her career at the BBC, was invaluable and has allowed Eliza and myself to consider some of the techniques she used for the upcoming OSCAR broadcast. Her successful career and drive provided us with something to aspire to and her dedication to radio and promoting women within the media industry was truly inspirational."
OSCAR Radio reaches a 30 square-mile range and has kept its audience enthralled for all 31 previous broadcasts. With the fresh and innovative ideas of pupils who create and host their own shows, OSCAR Radio has enjoyed a diverse selection of programs from music shows - Live Lounge and Afrobeatz - to topical shows like News and Nutters; each as interesting and creative as the next.
With an ever-increasing variety of broadcasts of concerts, customary news, sports, music, current affairs, debates, community events and Drama, there is much diversity in the shows. The aim of this November broadcast is to increase the quality and variety of the shows. OSCAR will endeavour to provide the most polished and exciting shows on the air with newly introduced, Radio Plays, Free Thinking shows as well as Science talks, thoughts for the day and Language programmes.
The upcoming broadcast will run from the 4 November to 1 December on 87.9FM
Listeners will be able to tune in on their radios or use the live streaming utility on OSCAR’s website at www.oscar-radio.org where they can also listen to Podcasts. The constantly updated website enables listeners all over the globe to be able to listen in and access the programme and information about OSCAR. This year, we also hope to have a new app to make tuning in even more accessible than ever.
Eliza commented, “The forthcoming broadcast is particularly exciting with OSCAR Radio having recently moved in to its brand new premises in the Gascoigne Building. With new recording space and technology, everyone is working to make it the best broadcast yet.”
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. Phase two of the SciTec vision is now underway, with enhanced Design Technology facilities and a new purpose-built Mathematics Department planned to link the STEM subjects both physically and philosophically. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion in 2015.
There are currently 1110 pupils are on roll at Oundle School, with 865 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11.