On Tuesday the 25th of February I got to achieve a dream I never thought was possible. 

Hello everybody, my name is Sam Ranns, I’m 22 from Cambridgeshire and I recently got the opportunity to take part in BBC Radio 1’s Access All Areas. For 60 minutes I was given a studio that usually houses some of the best DJ’s in the world, and I could do whatever I wanted in it!  

Of course I wasn’t just given the studio time. In January Radio 1 started to promote their Access All Areas month and began to ask the nation to apply with any ideas they might have. When I first heard, I jumped on the opportunity it straight away. I filled out the application with my idea, and that was Korean Pop Music.

I have been a huge fan of K-pop for just over 3 years and have always wanted an output, some way to tell the world about what they might be missing out on. This was my opportunity, this was my chance.

A couple of weeks passed before I heard that I got onto the shortlist of 100 people. 39 places were available, so I began to think I had a pretty good shot. I started to create a set list of the perfect songs for a first time K-pop listener, including some of the big hitters (Girls’ Generation, BIGBANG) to some lesser known acts.

A week later I received an email congratulating me on securing a place in the studio. I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that I had been given a chance to do something I had only dreamed about. The days running up to studio day just disappeared, before I knew it, I was on a train heading to London.

On the way, I ended up writing a script. Everything I was going to say in the studio was in my notebook. I almost didn’t want it to be that way. I wanted to be able to just go in there and talk the whole time without prompt, but I knew my nerves would make me freeze.

Photo via BBC

I arrived at BBC’s building and was shown up to the 8th floor, the home of Radio 1 and 1Xtra. Once in the green room, the enormity of the situation hit me like a truck. Here I was sitting in the middle of Radio 1’s entire operation, waiting to play K-pop while Fearne Cotton was hosting a Live Lounge with American Band HAIM, Trevor Nelson was just finishing his show, and Kelis of ‘Milkshake’ fame walked right past me.  It was insane.

It was my time. Aled my producer for the hour was showing me to the studio, discussing how things were going to work, when the one and only Scott Mills appeared to introduce himself. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. Little did I know he was planning on eavesdropping into my show live for the nation to hear.

So I was set up in the studio, my track list was loaded into their system, and I was ready to go. Aled told me the first link was always going to be the hardest, he played an intro that was made for my show and I was suddenly live. “Hello everybody, my name is Sam and this is EXO with Growl” Showtime!

My nerves were holding up, I did have a few mistakes but we just stopped the recording and went back over them. The team I got to work with were absolutely amazing and very patient. They were all so intrigued about K-pop as a whole, wondering how I got into it, trying to figure out what the songs meant. It was truly magical, playing the songs I love for people to discover and hopefully enjoy. That was my aim, I’m sure I could find a song that any person would enjoy.

Photo via BBC

It was about 20 minutes into the show, I had just started to play Super Junior ‘It’s You’ when I was told that Scott Mills had listened into what I was doing in the studio and broadcasted it on his show. I’m not sure how big his average audience is, but this was huge. The entire idea around Access All Areas was you get an hour in the studio and then get to take the recording home with you to do what you want. I never expected to be played live on BBC Radio 1. From what I heard people had started to ask Scott on twitter more about K-pop which lead him to play parts of G-Dragons ‘Crayon’ and say that some Girl Groups have too many members. Well he can’t be right about everything can he?

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I tried to make the entire hour as friendly as possible for new listeners, and I believe I achieved it. I explained things about different sub groups, the mandatory enlistment for the military and how large groups are certainly not a bad thing.

Aled had said before the first link was the hardest, but when it came to introducing my favourite group and song of the show (Girls’ Generation’s ‘Genie’) I just couldn’t do it. It took me about 6 tries to try and convey what I wanted to say. Thanks to the amazing editors at the BBC you won’t be able to hear all of my mess ups. Although I did want to have a script, I am very glad I wrote one. It was the right choice to have a script that I could add stuff to in the moment, than not have anything at all.

I finished the show and went back into the green room while I waited for the editors to finish with the recording. It was such an amazing experience I just sat there for 10 minutes with a smile on my face. Scott Mills came out for a break and asked me how it was, I replied with “Scary but amazing”. Chris Stark (Scott Mill’s co host) came out and simply said to me “K-pop hour! Legend”

I think that is what topped off the whole experience for me. It wasn’t a “Normal” thing to do in the studio, but everybody enjoyed it and I hope you will do too.

I soon found myself back on a train to Ely, just going through everything that had happened in my head. This entire Access All Areas journey has been one I am eternally grateful for. It has helped me come to terms with my passion and love for K-pop. When I first became a fan, I was almost scared of being judged by my friends and colleagues. K-pop was and is very different to what people like.  I didn’t tell anybody in my personal life about it, I had my friends online who I could talk to about everything.  Now I feel like that has changed, I’m more confident about what I like and why I like it.

So this has been my experience with BBC Radio 1, and I highly recommended if anybody else feels like giving Access All Areas a shot, do it! They are going to do it again in the future, so go for it!

Here’s the clip of Scott Mills broadcasting the segment on his show:

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And here’s the full segment!:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/137129051″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]

Sam will also be on Turquoise Radio’s K-pop Korner tonight at 6pm – tune in here!

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