For 26 years Livewire have been entertaining UEA students. Interviewing almost all who cross the threshold into the LCR, they have played host to everyone from Newton Faulkner and the 1975, to Clive Lewis and Natalie Bennett. They have entertained students whilst churning out notable alumni. But now the station is undergoing the biggest rebrand in it’s 26-year-history.
The brand, which has become iconic across campus, is being rejuvenated: a new website is being launched, as well as Livewire1350+, an online podcasting domain. The main drive behind the rebrand was the belief that it was looking outdated compared to other national student radio stations.
Alex Edge, the station manager who is overseeing the change, said, “I personally felt that we had to rebrand this year because as a media organisation, I believe it’s very important to always be evolving and challenging ourselves.”
He continued, “We initiated the rebrand process during the committee handover period to ensure the opinions of all members and committee, old and new, were taken into account. There are obviously different ideas and opinions that are generated in these discussions, but I must comment on the amazing professionalism and creative thinking of all those involved in this process – I’m one extremely proud station manager.”
In the coming year, Livewire have said that they plan to continue representing ‘the sound of UEA’, whether this be in the form of UEA news, podcasts, debates, campaign coverage, and interviews. Livewire is also allowing presenters to take a stance on student politics, and shows will have the right to give their opinions, instead of staying neutral. Edge said, “This decision is taken on the fact that the station should involve itself fully in student life by being able to talk about it freely.”
Livewire began broadcasting in 1989, opened by John Peel, and is one of the longest running student radio stations and has since been the start for a number of successful alumni. Former Station Manager, Greg James, has gone on to be one of the most successful daytime radio presenters. Jay Lawrence, Station Manager 2013-14, now works for BBC Introducing, and Sam Parker, former Head of Tech, is now a producer at Smooth Radio.
When asked about the legacy left by Greg James and other alumni, Edge said that it continued to inspire Livewire: “And it’s doable too. Greg won gold at the SRA awards, which gets you nationally recognised in the industry and secures you a slot on national radio. So it’s a very clear and promotable process.”
In 2014 Livewire joined forces with Concrete and UEA:TV to form the Media Collective. Two office changes later, they reside on the upper floor of Union House.