1020, Past to Present

I first met Sean & Joelie around 3 and a half years ago, I was new to Bristol and came along to my friends show to make some new connections, I then guested on that same show and shortly after was offered my own slot from Sean. Since then 1020 and the team behind it have been fundamental in me becoming a part of the community in Bristol, through their platform I have gained more confidence, made some of my closest friends and I always look forward to my show each month. For this reason and many more I wanted to shine some light on Joelie & Sean and the ridiculous amounts of hard work and devotion they give to 1020 and Bristols music scene, enjoy…

N. So first of all, how did 1020 begin? What influenced you to embark on setting up a radio station in Bristol?

S: Funnily enough, the idea came to me at the pub. I’d been living in Bristol for a year and DJ’ing around the city so I knew plenty of people who would be keen to get involved. I didn’t have much experience to know what it really meant to take on a project like this other than the events I had ran in the past. Still, Joelie and I put together some design concepts and gutted my bedroom to craft a little studio: My old 1200’s, some CDJ’s and a PC that was gifted to us. We’ve learnt a lot since then and keep on going.

N: What was the vision for the station when you first began? has it changed in anyway since that time?

S: I guess my initial vision  was to create an accessible platform for everyone to push good music. The station and its goals have naturally progressed over the years but the vision stays the same and everything has positively improved around that. I’m sure it will continue to do so.

J: Yeah, we’ve always aimed to create an inclusive platform. We want 1020 to be a place where people can express themselves creatively and get experience DJing and presenting on the radio. We are constantly trying to create opportunities for our residents, including events, so they can do what they do best in front of a live audience. When we first started we just worked with what we had. Our first studio was in mine and Sean’s shared house and luckily we had good housemates that put up with DJ’s knocking on the door every two hours. Initially we didn’t know what to expect, but we grew as much as we could in the space available. Eventually we  realised the need for a dedicated studio space. After two years broadcasting from our house, the space behind Elevator Sound became available and moving here has been such a positive move for the station. We are now located in a great musical hub with a strong community vibe.

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N: What kind of hardships have you guys faced along the way? Assuming lessons have been learned from these?

S: After nearly four years, the challenges have come in all shapes and sizes. Finding a studio space was very time consuming and a lot of hard work. Also, working a day job and trying to run the station seven days a week meant finding a work-life balance, which has been one of the most challenging parts. Still, it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences because we’ve come so far and everything always seems to be going in a positive direction.

J: Initially there were a lot of things that we had to quickly get a grip of. Neither of us had done something like this before, so we were just learning on the job throughout really. The challenge was that so many things were new to us, from managing people to marketing a business, to building a website and everything else in between. It was a steep learning curve  but when we could see how we were progressing everyday and how well our efforts were being received, we really felt the reward.

N: I understand you've devoted a lot of your time to the station, how have you had to adapt to make it work?

S: I can’t stop devoting my time to it, after this much work and effort it’s seriously hard not to. Plus I enjoy every aspect of it (some more than others). But like I already mentioned, we’ve ended up in the perfect location and I’m surrounded by a positive team in a great space.

J: For me, it’s mainly been about learning how to balance living, working and running a business at the same time. It can be a lot but as Sean says, it really is worth all the hard work. Everyday is different, loads of great people pass through the studio, we are surrounded by an amazing team of volunteers who have become friends and we get to run a business that we love!

N: What are the best moments you've had through 1020?

J: In the last year I’ve really enjoyed creating team at 1020. We’ve build a close knit team of volunteers and it’s been so good gaining more ideas and inspiration from them and for them to help shape the growth of the station. Shout out to our studio volunteers who have helped create a great team dynamic at the station.

Another thing has been seeing our resident DJ’s grow. Some of our current residents started within the first few weeks of us launching the station and seeing their shows develop over time has been really enjoyable to watch.

S: It’s like Joelie says, having a great team of people that really care about the project is key for me,  as well as for the development of the station. I can’t thank everyone enough that’s involved in the station, from my immediate team through to Elevator Sound down the corridor and of course all the resident DJ’s that pass through every month creating the content. The whole journey has been wicked so far.

N: Any funny stories you can share?

S: There are loads of funny stories, I don’t know how many I can share though…

I recently caught someone in the middle of the day whilst coming back from my lunch break with their pants down having a shit outside the back door. Thankfully they weren’t involved with the station

N: What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to embark on the same journey as you and setup a radio station?

S: It’s hard work, particularly at the start before launching and immediately after and to be honest it always will be.  There is a rapidly growing network of internet stations across the UK and around the world so it’s a competitive industry but there is a great community within it that are willing to help each other out where possible.

There is constant problem solving involved from the day to day running to making your future plans. But the rewards are great. I would just say like advice for most things give 100% effort and if your passionate about it as well. You will enjoy it!

J: As Sean said, it can be a difficult journey. To launch a business and run a radio station that is live seven days a week is a lot of hard work around the clock.  It’s a really rewarding and exciting journey though! It’s really enjoyable to watch all of your time and effort paying off, and the station and team growing day by day. It’s all made possible by passion; from the willingness to dedicate the serious time and effort, to the ability to roll with the punches and constantly learn and adapt.

My advice is to definitely surround yourself with the right team that you can bounce ideas off and share inspiration and positivity.

N: Last of all, will you branch out from radio in the future?

That’s a difficult question to answer to be honest. I have millions of ideas every day for projects and things I would like to run alongside the station but picking the good ones out is the difficult bit.  I have some other personal projects I want to work on and alongside the station as well. But stay tuned to the station for now, there’s much more to come.

Neil Pruden