Research undertook into the job market for my work experience
When I was looking for work experience placements I started off by googling and searching for radio stations in the local area and finding their contact information. Once I had done that, I was able to send over my CV and a cover letter explaining that I wanted work experience and what sort of things I wanted to learn from them in my time there. Once I had contacted all the radio stations that I could I waited for them to respond and once they did set up a time that I was able to come in for the work experience.
The research I undertook was very helpful for me as it also helped me understand the different stations a lot more, in regards to how they want to be seen and what their target audiences are.
Research undertook for gaining a commission for my Individual Audio Project.
Initially my idea for Individual Audio Project was very different. I started the module with the idea of getting together a group of “Ex musicians” or people who had played a musical instrument when they were younger and had given it up and were interested in taking it back up again. The show would culminate in a live performance where all these musicians would perform together in front of an audience.
Whilst pursuing this idea drew upon some of the contacts that I had made from Global whilst shadowing at Radio X, as I thought that the piece would be a good fit for Classic FM and thought that some of the contacts that I had in the building might be able to get me in contact with someone who could get me a commission for the project.
Unfortunately, the main problem with this idea was finding people that wanted to take part and organising those people for a single day to record their auditions and their group performance.
After this idea fell through I decided to change it something else which wound up being a podcast style piece that showed the different Christmas traditions around London and informing the audience about them whilst also slightly taking the mick out of how over the top they are.
For this project I sought out Camilla from Podium as the module leader Aasiya said that she would be a good person to contact in regards finding someone who would be interested in hosting my idea, and sure enough when I did contact her she was happy to give me a commission as she was also working on something similar herself.
What I learned from my work placement
My first work placement at Signal 107 taught me a lot about radio as it was one of my first experiences with the medium and showed me the wide variety of roles that are available at a radio station. One of the first things I learned was creating a radio advert and the process behind it and how it works similarly to how creating my audio project in regard to how commissions work in that you would contact the commissioner and ask them what they wanted and then create an advert that fitted their specification. I also learnt about creating news bulletins and how the key to making them good is being able to write them as concisely as possible, I also read the news bulletin I wrote which gave me some experience behind the mic and in the studio. This placement also gave me some experience in planning and presenting my own show, this taught me a lot about how to structure a show and what content works well and what doesn’t as well as giving me experience behind the mic and forming my own presenting style.
Whilst shadowing John Kennedy at Radio X I learnt a lot about his style of show and how to structure it in a way that means that the music takes center stage, but the show still carries enough of the presenter’s personality to makes the show unique and interesting for the listener. He also made me responsible for taking care of the guests and making sure they were comfortable which taught me how to co-ordinate that sort of production and how getting the best out of guests on a show can come from their first impression of the show and how it’s important to make sure that the first impression is as good as possible as it means that the guest are comfortable and will respond well to the interview. This placement also taught me a lot about interview techniques and how artists like to talk about the stories behind their music and a good technique is to research stories that are interesting and you’d like to get the artist to tell on the radio and teeing them up to tell that story in a way that is subtle so that the story sounds like it comes naturally rather than forcing the answer you want out of them
What I learned from working with an external commissioner for Individual Audio Project
One of the first things I learned about working with an external commissioner is that they can be very hard to find and that the idea has to be fully formed and almost pretty much underway before anyone will consider commissioning you. This is one of the things that I struggled with a lot when working on my first idea as I didn’t have a lot of contacts that were totally related to the idea and would be that interested in commissioning that kind of piece.
When I did eventually find a commissioner when working on the other idea it was very easy to work with her as she didn’t have a set policy on the type of content that is hosted on her platform, so she was pretty fine with me doing what I wanted with the concept. She was also helpful in giving me bits of advice for how I could treat my piece as she also happened to be working on something similar at the time, so she was able to come up with some good ideas that I helped me on my way to creating my piece.
I understand however, that this may not be representative of most other commissioner relationships as most commissioners will want the piece to be a specific way in order to make sure that the piece will fit on their platform and not seem out of place when put alongside the rest of their content meaning that it can be difficult to reach compromises between the creator and the commissioner
Where I hope to go next, what sort of career you are aiming for, drawing on my work experience and Individual Audio Project,
When I think about what career I am aiming for I think about the aspects I enjoy the most about working in radio I think about the aspects of it that I enjoy the most, which is often coming up with unique ideas and working on them with other people to achieve them. I think that my original audio project idea had strengths in that it was a solid and unique idea that would be very fun to make as well as listen to but maybe suffered from being a bit over ambitious given that it was only me making it by myself and with a very limited time and budget and would have perhaps benefited by being an idea that is given a bit more time and has a couple more people behind it. As a main goal I would like to be working for one of the production companies such as WiseBuddah or Somethin’ Else, or perhaps working as a producer at a radio station working individually with presenters and helping them create good content for their show.
In regards to where I go next I would like to be working within a radio station in the production field learning more about how things are carried out in the industry as a lot of the work that I consider experience has been carried out at university and work within the actual industry will inevitably be very different to how it is carried out when studying the subject at university.
FIVE practical steps which you will follow to help you on the next phase, post-graduation.
- Update CV
This is important as my CV needs to be up to date with all the relevant information for any job that I apply for within the industry as it lets employers know what qualifications I have and outlines my skills and what I would bring to their company. Whilst updating my CV it will also help me gauge the kind of roles I am able to apply for as I will have a better understanding of my own experience and let me know what role I think I would be best suited for and qualified for as it is very easy to be intimidated by roles if you don’t even think you are qualified for them.
- Update LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great tool for creating and building a database of contacts to help you move to new stages in your career. LinkedIn has always been a tool that I feel that I have underutilized as it is very valuable and can be very helpful in finding new contacts, I would benefit greatly from updating it as it would show the scope of my experience and will be very helpful in achieving another one of the steps that I need to make to help me in my next phase after graduation
Networking is a vital skill in the radio industry mostly because of the fact that it is a very small industry, so it is very important to get your name out there. In order to achieve this, I will have to develop my networking skills further and increase my confidence when talking to industry professionals as it is very easy to feel intimidated but working on networking skills and being confident in my own abilities will help me to improve these skills and in turn get more contacts
- Update online portfolio
My online portfolio is a useful tool in that I can use it to show to potential employers my previous work and prove to them the skills that I have. Updating this portfolio with all of my latest work will make it easier to see for employers what kind of area I am pursuing and how talented I am
- Create Social media and decide what my personal brand is
Social media is also a very new and useful tool for creating job opportunities, as the industry is very brand, and personality based I think it would be useful to use social media more as a way of promoting myself and the work that I do. I will also have to decide on a brand to make myself appealing for the stations that I want to work for as it can be difficult to fit in and work for certain stations if you don’t fit their brand.