A student radio personality has been nominated for an award at the Radio Academy Awards, and is pitched against industry professionals.
Phin Adams, presenter of Phin's Barmy Brunch on CamFM, Cambridge University's student radio service, has been nominated in the category for Speech Radio Personality of the Year. Adams will be competing against veterans Alan Robson (Metro Radio & TFM), Danny Baker on 5Live (BBC Radio 5 live), Johnny Vaughan (talkSPORT) and Nick Ferrari (LBC 97.3).
Adams is so dedicated to entertaining his audience, he changed his name by deed poll to 'Pop Man', a name he must graduate with unless he plays every single number one from 1950-2014 before graduation. Although it's taken him the past six months just to get to 1970, so things aren't looking good for Pop Man.
The Cambridge theology undergraduate, entered in what the Radio Academy Awards are calling "a tantalising David vs. Goliath contest", speaks to the HuffPost UK about being nominated and what it means to him.
What was the first thing that ran through your head when you heard?
First was disbelief. I heard on the 2nd April and I was convinced it was an April Fool’s. So much so that I’m probably luckily it wasn’t the 1st, because then I definitely would have never believed it. Then I screamed in my room for about ten minutes, before calming myself down and seeing some friends and the manager of CamFM. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, I don’t fully believe it. I grew up watching Johnny Vaughn on the Big Breakfast and now I’m nominated in the same category as him, with all these amazing people.
Have you listened to your competitors’ shows? What do you think?
I obviously have heard of all of them, but haven’t actually gotten round to listening to most of their shows yet. I know Danny Baker from QI, and Johnny Vaughn from the Big Breakfast. Nick Ferrari is a bit of a controversial figure; the level of competition I’m up against is crazy!
So, Pop Man, what’s that all about?
I’m in my third year now and about to graduate so at the start of this year I decided I wanted to do something interesting. Have you seen the film Forrest Gump? It was a bit like that, him running for no reason. I just decided to change my name and play every single UK number one since records began. Also, it was the 60-year anniversary of pop music last year and I had to do something to celebrate that. Celebrating pop music and doing something different. A bit Forrest Gump and a bit “pop music is the best”!
Are you happy that you may graduate with it?
Well, it will appear on my graduation certificate, basically killing every chance that I’ll ever get a job after uni. A bit scary! The ultimatum of completing it before I graduated was pretty ambitious, that’s why I’m doing a show every day of the holidays, to try and get through it all. I’m on 1972 at the moment, solid progress.
What’s in store for you after graduation?
I would absolutely love to continue to work in radio, that’s the big dream. But that’s not easy. It’s a free medium but in order to be able to be successful and therefore free, you have to be very good or very lucky. I do not want to feign enthusiasm in working 7am-10pm every day being a runner or broadcast assistant before being able to continue what I love. I’m not above it; I would just find it too dishonest.
You’ve interviewed some great people (Rowan Atkinson, Quentin Blake, Alistair Campbell), who has been your favourite interview?
Quentin Blake without a doubt. He was such a nice person and a man I grew up admiring. I read all of Roald Dahl’s books growing up and it was a dream to meet such an inspiring person and to have that interview as part of my student radio experience. Plus he laughed at my jokes, who can fault that?
A close second is Rowan Williams though. He would have been first but he didn’t give me a cup of tea when I went to visit him – disaster. I love interviewing people, meeting them and talking about their personal experiences; hearing about influential peoples’ lives.
You had 57 followers on Twitter pre ‘the big announcement’, has there been a lot of recognition and publicity on campus about it since?
I’ve actually gained 3 or 4 new followers on Twitter, which is great! I don’t think many people really know about or understand the importance of the Radio Academy Awards. The editors of the newspapers on campus have contacted me for a couple of quotes but that’s it really.
The winners will be revealed at the 32nd Annual Radio Academy Awards on May 12th. Best of luck to you, Phin!