24 hour Autism show

Gaz had long wanted to do a special event and be on air for 24 hours solid.

He eventually hit upon the idea for a show in support of the National Autistic Society, a cause close to his heart.

In February 2010, a day was chosen and Gaz broadcast for a complete twenty four hours from Friday to Saturday evening.

The shoutbox was specifically adapted for the big occasion and included features that made it resemble a telephon. Gaz had a JustGiving page through which he could collect donations.

On the 1Radio website, we had a scrolling counter that alternated betweeen displaying the money raised and how long Gaz had been on air and how much time remained. The backgrounds of the webpages changed each hour to add variety and listeners could donate a figure to have their logo or photo or a personal message appear in a prominent position. Gaz also had a webcam on for much of the event. 

There was genuine excitement from everyone who listened in or watched on webcam. The event raised around £700 and shone a huge spotlight on Autism. 

Gaz says he broadcast for the entire 24 hours. Some said that he didn’t speak on air for a few hours on Saturday morning and wasn’t present in the shoutbox. The suspicion was he’d crept off for a kip. Whether true or not, I don’t know. But regardless, it was still a mammoth broadcast that far exceeded anything else that had been done before or since.

Here are a few jingles and music beds I created for the event.

Kingdom 24Hr Beats Promo
Kingdom 24Hr Beats Gaz
Kingdom 24Hr Beats Donate
Kingdom 24Hr Beats Pledge

Unfortunately, an incident occurred after the fundraiser that almost singlehandedly undid the good work of Gaz. Immediately after the 24 hour event, there was a special show where two of our presenters who were diagnosed with autism came on to talk about their own personal experiences. The show was quite candid. The presenters spoke about their own frustrations, particularly within the 1Radio community due to their conditions and the difficulties and misunderstanding they faced. It wasn’t negative or nasty, just an honest critique of how poorly the condition was understood.

Whilst this follow up show was going out, a Mod appeared who wasn’t even aware there had been an Autism event, listened in and caught some of the negative comments. Unfortunately, they didn’t appreciate the context of the discussions and weighed in quite heavily telling the presenters to stop moaning and get on with their show.

The presenters continued regardless and thinking their instructions had fallen on deaf ears, the Mod kicked them off. This was, understandably, deeply hurtful to the presenters and was a sad turn of events, coming as it did, immediately after the Autism event.

A recording of the discussion made by one of the presenters immediately after being kicked off was quite revealing and showed just how hurt and betrayed they both felt. It was quite depressing listening and illuminated for me just how harrowing it was for them both.

I spoke with the presenters individually, apologising for the mixup and explaining how the misunderstanding came about. I also had some tactful words with the Mod.

This incident was one of a few that occurred where Mods could be a bit heavy handed. The difficulty was that some Mods took a very personal approach and when troubles arose and felt aggrieved or offended on my behalf. They would weigh in quite heavily, believing they were defending me personally, protecting my interests and standing up for the station. It highlighted a conflict where Mods were also my friends and tried to honour that. In my eyes, I felt Mods should operate with neutrality and not take things personally. It’s a difficulty that always exists when a community governs itself and doesn’t rely on a separate third party to provide a neutral, objective approach.

Don't get me wrong, the event was great and Mods do a fine job. But on this occasion, things went a bit wrong.

Posted by Tim on Mon 07 Nov 2022 at 22:05 and viewed 1,240 times.

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