Adrian Gomm is the voice of Rebels Radio.
What’s the story behind Rebels Radio?
We started Rebels Radio five and a half years ago for a group of Slough Town FC fans who lived abroad but wanted to feel closer to the action. I was quick to get on board, having done match reports for a local radio station in the past — the chance to cover my football club was too good to miss. The first month or so was very hit and miss, but you do learn from your mistakes.
What were some of those earlier mistakes?
(At away games) making sure you have enough data coverage to broadcast the match in full, to confirming whether those clubs have power in their press areas. As with anything, trial-and-error is the way forward.
What are some ways new broadcasters can improve?
Listening to other broadcasters helps, you’ll pick up ideas. Have a listen back to one of your broadcasts every now and then, too. When I had listened back, I could hear myself saying ‘um’ and ‘er’ quite a lot. While some broadcasters turn off at half-time, we do different things to fill that gap: quizzes, ‘On This Day’ trivia, club information, statistics. Some things will work, some won’t, but at least try something different.
Whether your team is winning or losing, always have enthusiasm for what you are doing. If you can’t be bothered, why would your listeners?
What’s the most memorable match you covered on air?
In one game, Slough Town FC were 4–0 down after 21 minutes and that was still the score at half-time.
Whether your team is winning or losing, always have enthusiasm for what you are doing. If you can’t be bothered, why would your listeners? You have to make sure the audience return — give them some facts, get them wanting to stay tuned in.
I maintained that enthusiasm during that match (4–0 down)…and we ended up winning 4–5 on a cold Tuesday night in the Welsh valleys! Sure made the journey home easier.
Don’t be biased, hard as it might be. Remember, opposition fans listen in too. If they say you’re too one-sided, other fans won’t tune in.
How do you ensure you have the content to keep listeners tuned in?
- Research — do as much as you can, but don’t go mad. I use my facts for moments when the ball is out of play or there’s a stoppage. This could be statistics, player information, scoring runs, poor discipline…But again, only use when needed. Don’t go ‘stats-mad.’
- Take notes. If trying to determine who from the opposition has the ball, look at things like boot colour, hair style, sleeves, etc. If player ‘number 5’ gets the ball and wears orange boots, note it down so you can name the player straight away rather than identifying them as “number 5.”
- Treat the broadcast as if you are describing it to someone who’s visually impaired. Describe the whereabouts, actions, reactions and always look for something that’s a bit ‘out-of-the-box,’ such as manager’s reaction or a funny moment.
- Don’t be biased, hard as it might be. Remember, opposition fans listen in too. If they say you’re too one-sided, other fans won’t tune in. Describe what’s going on, not just how it affects your side.
- Ask your listeners to join in. Get their views, answer their questions, involve them. That way they will have a vested interest in your content.
From your perspective, what happens on match day?
My day is quite long as I do more than just commentate, that’s anything from ground setup, bar set up, working behind the bar. In fact, doing the commentary is the only time during game day that I sit down. Post-match mainly involves interviews with players or managers — I’m quite lucky video and social media is covered by someone else.
What makes this experience so rewarding for you?
For me, it’s when players say that their families can’t get to games so they listen to Rebels Radio to keep up. And being able to capture fantastic moments such as giant-killing cup games, and winning at the 89th minute in playoff finals. If you can get involved with people at the club, then all the better.
What can a club achieve with a community of volunteers?
The club wouldn’t be up and running without our 40–50 strong community of volunteers at each match. And when the club is closed, through volunteer work, we’ve also seen our junior membership scheme (Junior Rebels) increase by 150% in three years.
Tune into Adrian commentating live at Rebels Radio for Slough Town FC ⚽