INDIVIDUAL AUDIO PROJECT AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE BLOG
I started my audio project by researching into similar podcasts which are on the market. I found one called ’21 Days with MXMTOON’ which is a Spotify original. This Podcast follows MXMTOON in the creation of her debut album over the course of 21 days. I wanted to tackle a similar type of topic but delve into only ONE song by an artist. I took inspiration from the podcast elements such as being in the studio with the artists and the main product being voiced by the singer songwriter itself.
Finding an artist for this project was a little difficult. I started by contacting a singer-songwriter which I have worked with previously via Instagram as we follow one another. However, due to schedules being difficult, it didn’t work out which meant I was back to the drawing board. I asked around friends who go to the university and they suggested a singer-songwriter called bryony. After searching twitter and Instagram I found her email and messaged on email and Instagram. This defiantly taught me that social media is a powerful tool when wanting contributors to a project.
Originally, I wanted my place of work, Virgin Radio UK to be the ‘commissioner’ however with the change in artists the music Bryony makes wouldn’t fit the station. I wanted to also go down the podcasting route. Due to having contacts through my work, I contacted our imaging guys at OnTheSly, they’re an independent production company based in London who works with worldwide stations as well as the BBC and Wireless. I met with their Director in person, Chris Thorpe and pitched him my idea. He said he liked it and wanted a written formal pitch emailed to him. This was probably the first time I’ve ever written a pitch this detailed. I looked at a few examples which were given to us via blackboard and through ones sent over from work. This was a massive helped as it helped me understand what detail went into a pitch and what the wording should be like. I got started writing the pitch and once it was done I sent it over to Chris Thorpe where he approved it. He also gave me some great feedback about how to tweak my pitch for submission. This was a huge learning curve for myself and I’m confident I can write a pitch in the future if need be.
Going forward I hope to use the skills the audio project has taught me great insight and confidence to write pitches and to see myself and a project to a commissioner. This is something I am already seeing the skills that I’ve learned being paid off as within my job I am always reading pitches which clients have written us, an example of this would be within competitions I do at work.
Understanding how to gain peoples contacts in this industry is crucial especially when you’re starting out like I was. Back in 20,17 I attended multiple Student Radio Events where I would meet people and network which would result in me getting their emails. One of these was Mike Cass’, he is the Content Director for Virgin Radio UK. I emailed in asking for a coffee as I just wanted to meet and have a connection with someone in the industry. This was the start of my career within the industry. After a few email exchanges and meeting in pers,on I was offered weekend work experience at Virgin Radio UK. As time passed I proved to be a valuable asset to the station with my knowledge and keenness to learn more. I was offered an internship at the end of 2017 which I did for four months.
Within this time frame as well I emailed other people such as Ross Buchannan and Charlie Powell. I was lucky enough to network with these people however I also know website which can help.
MediaInfo is an amazing site which allows you to search for people within the radio industry and find where they work and get their emails.
Another helpful tool is LinkedIn. I use this all the time to interact with people within the industry and it’s a great way to keep people up to date with what you’re up to within your career. This is the website where I connected with David Lloyd who I later followed on twitter and we have had many exchanged through that platform which wouldn’t of happened if I didn’t use linked in.
Finally, a key tool is Twitter, I follow so many people within the radio industry on twitter and this has been an amazing part of me getting to know people within the industry. Due to following people on twitter and them following back, when I later meet these people it breaks the ice and we instantly have something to talk about, this was key when looking for work experience and certain people I have got to know through here are: Darryl Morris (Presenter), Jon Jackson (Presenter), Stephanie Hirst (Presenter), Calum Hider (Producer), Helen Everett (A/P), Bonnie McLaren (Journalist), Tom Ross (Producer) just to name a few.
Going back to the work experience, I later got offered to be kept on as a freelancer at Virgin Radio. I later applied for a weekend A/P role at the company and then became an A/P on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky for 9 months. Following this, I was offered a promotion to become full time to become the evening Assistant Producer in which this is my role now.
In these roles it has covered all sorts of things such as Research, Writing Guest notes, running orders, competitions, scheduling, producing talent and live shows, social media, working with clients, demos, launching stations, interacting with tons of industry professionals, award entries and many more.
Within this section of professional practice, it’s sort of span across the start of uni rather than just third year itself. I learnt all sorts of things from radio programming, producing, website and social media practices. I also became proficient with an Axia mixing desk, Zetta playout software and RCS GSelector.
I understand that I am in a privileged place where I already have a job for post-graduation. However, this doesn’t mean any of this experience won’t come in handy in the future.
My future prospects are to eventually get promoted within my role to be a producer as well as hopefully getting opportunity to work with many other different stations within my career. These are the steps in which I want to help within hopefully getting a promotion within the next two years.
1: TALKING TO PROFESSIONALS
One of the biggest things and biggest steps I will always use talking to industry professionals, working with the people I work with and collaborating with them on ideas and talking to them as friends is a key way which could benefit me when wanting to climb the ranks within any radio station.
Talking to people outside of my current radio station as well and continuing to network and meet people for coffees is another way in which could benefit my future. I think its important for people to know what you’ve been up to within your job and not in a bragging way but in a way in which they know your skills so if anything were to come up you’re on their radar straight away. This is something I see all the time within the radio industry and is a common practice most people should follow, even if they’re currently employed. This can also be done through social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn if I don’t have the time to meet people in person for coffees or meetings etc…
Coffee’s are key.
2: PROVING MYSELF
This is something I am constantly working on, no one is ever their final version or ‘finished product’. I want to continue to prove I can do the jobs that are assigned to me. This is something I think will help and benefit me when wanting to get to a producer level.
3: ALWAYS WANTING TO LEARN AND DO MORE
Again, this is another thing in which I believe I am contently doing and I have been doing since day one working at Virgin Radio. I want to continue to understand all aspects of the radio station and become an insensible member of staff due to me being able to fill in for so many different rolls.
This leads to my next step.
4: BECOME INDISPENSABLE
I have luckily already done this with filing for Digital Managers and Producers however there is more roles and skills to learn. This is something that will help my future and future proofs myself as I will become a jack of all trades within the industry and allows me to either be promoted to different roles but also allows me to apply for a variety of roles if anything were to come up in the future that spiked my interest.
Not only is this a great opportunity for me to learn so many different skills but one of my main dream job is to one day be a Programme Director and I believe understanding what each role within a radio station does is key as a part of being a Programme Director is lead and manage a team of people which are the staff at your radio station.
5: BE OPEN TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES / PUSHING MYSELF OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE
Finally, step 5 is a little hard for me something I may need to do in the future. Currently, I have this amazing job and I am so lucky however it does sort of put me in a box as I have been at this station for so long. I think if other opportunities were to come up whether that be to visit or shadow any of radio stations within the company or others then I should definitely take a step outside of my comfort zone and follow what excites me and intrigues me.
This also applies to myself within the current station I work at. I can be apprehensive to certain opportunities at the station because at the time it would mean more work i.e working extra hours but this is something I believe helps out and I have seen this within my career already without realizing it. For example, I worked many hours sorting and loading music for the new stations we have launched.
Sometimes doing the mundane and small jobs open up to bigger opportunities and this is something I need to not only recognize more off. I need to not box myself into my own role and take on more opportunities which sometimes means more work for myself but as I have learnt within this industry sometimes you just have to. This will allow me to hopefully have a great career and learn those skills and roles I mentioned within step 4.