I what research I undertook into the job market for my work experience and for gaining a commission for Individual Audio Project
When looking to undergo a work placement, the decision was made to find a role and place that would help benefit me in my future career prospects and one that would help build upon my current practical radio skills that have been previously learned during my time at university. It was there were Soho Radio did a presentation on my course during my first year of university, advertising for people to get involved with the station. At the current moment in time I wasn’t aware that Soho Radio even existed and in all honesty put this presentation and offer to the back of my mind. However, during my second year of university I started to compare my progress to others. Although I have recently learned that this is no way beneficial to me as everyone progress’ and reaches their end goal in their own time, I did start to feel stressed and apprehensive about having very little radio work experience in London and l knew I needed this in order to improve my career prospects after I graduate.
Therefore, during my second year of university I undertook some research in radio stations in London that would allow me to volunteer and develop my production skills further. As I undertook my research, I suddenly remembered the presentation from Racheal about Soho Radio, resulting in me researching the station further to see if it would match my interests. After listening to the station there were numeral points of interest, because of its vast array of genres, as well as having a culture and music channel. Also, because it is an internet radio station, the content can be more adult and because its not heavily regulated so therefore the presenters and producers have more freedom within production, which was a huge point of interest for me. Soho Radio is in the heart of London and is also very London focused in terms of the topics and events they promote. Therefore that’s why I decided to get my individual audio project also commissioned by Soho Radio as my individual audio project was based on lip fillers and the issues within cosmetic surgery in terms of self-esteem due to the rise of social media. Additionally I decided to ask Soho Radio to commission my piece as I believed the fact that all of my contributors where from London and London is the most popular place in the UK for minor cosmetic procedures. However, reflecting on this I do believe I played it too safe with the commission because I knew I would get Soho Radio to agree to a commission. Thus, sadly in reflection I never really learned and experienced what it would be like to work with a commissioner that would of wanted specific needs and wants from the audio project. Although I did explain to Soho Radio about the project and it’s content and they did agree believing it would be suitable, upon reflection it would have been more suitable if the commission came from an organisation that was more closely linked to cosmetic surgery or an organisation that campaigned against women forming body dysmorphia because of the pressures on social media. However, I did attempt to do this by emailing The British Association of Aesthetic plastic surgeons but didn’t get a response, once again upon reflection I should of either chased this up, trying to call them or even look at similar smaller organisation that would have been more realistic and easier to contact. Looking back at the process of finding the right work experience that suits you and fulfils your needs is similar to process of finding the right commissioner for any project, the commissioner needs to be suitable for the project with a clear idea of what they want to get out of the piece and how it can benefit them.
What I learned from my work placement and what you learned from working with an external commissioner for Individual Audio Project
I’ve been volunteering at Soho Radio since January 2018 and throughout this past year I have learned so much from having first hand experience in the radio industry. During my first few weeks at Soho Radio I was given a useful piece of advice from of the senior members of staff that “this is the place to learn and make mistakes”, this automatically put me at ease and made me feel comfortable in working in a professional radio environment. Although my current experience from a local radio station in Portsmouth (Express FM) and from university projects had taught me how to run a desk, my experience at Soho Radio has perfected my skills, leaving me confident in the role as desk operator. However my role at Soho Radio as a producer involves so many other skills, such as being able to edit shows to high quality for them to later be uploaded on to mixcloud; this combined with my university projects has taught me how to use adobe audition to a high standard. This is also a skill I will be expected to use in my future career in the radio industry.
Having the opportunity to work with a large variation of people every week and being introduced to different professionals has made me feel confident in networking, which is vital for career growth and building a good reputation in within the industry. Also in one particular case of Networking I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to get involved in another online radio station based in London. I was fortunate to meet Laura when producing her show on Soho Radio, when she asked me to also work on her show at Boogaloo Radio, which is a online station for rock and indie music, which is a genre I am very knowledgeable in. I’ve been producing at Boogaloo since September 2018, in this role my responsibilities at Boogaloo Radio mirror my responsibilities at Soho Radio. Having this ability to Network has also given me confidence in approaching those within the industry and other professionals I may potentially work with. Having the confidence to approach potential commissioners is a vital skill that is essential in order for you to sell your idea and to get them onboard.
My only regret is not starting this opportunity sooner, rather than waiting till my second year to gain first hand radio experience in London. However, at times it can feel that with having the responsibilities of two radio jobs, a part time job at Waitrose, whilst completing a university degree can be draining and I often feel like I’m spreading myself thin, there is rewarding moments within all these opportunities. When I can produce a high-quality show or piece of audio, I really reflect on how far I’ve come since moving to London and am truly grateful for all the opportunities this city has opened up for me. Previously in this blog I mentioned that I regretted not reaching out for a more ambitious commission, as I believe this would have improved the quality of my production as I would have had stricter guidelines and a clear indication of how the narrative and sound should have been. Although, I’m still happy with the idea for my audio project, I know that the overall production could have been improved and more organised. I’m aware this is an issue down to my timings and findings my contributors last minute, therefore I learned from this journey that I need to be more organised and better with my time management in order to achieve the best I possibly can in my university projects. Additionally, I have learned from my overall experience of studying and working in London and how to divide my time fairly amongst my responsibilities, putting my university work first in order to achieve the grades I want.
where I hope to go next, what sort of career I’m aiming for, drawing on my own work experience and Individual Audio Project, and FIVE practical steps which I will follow to help me on the next phase, post-graduation.
Fortunately, my work experience at Soho has only confirmed that being a radio producer is my confirmed choice for a future career. With graduation only a stone throw away I have applied to study a master’s degree in entertainment law, this will be another stepping stone in my journey towards becoming a radio producer. Although doing a masters will conclude in further debit, I believe it will also improve my career prospects, especially when combined with further work experience in the radio industry. As much as I love the production side of radio, I am also interested in learning more about the legal side, a topic I have briefly learned about in the module ‘contemporary issues in media policy’ at university. My aim is to study my masters part time, spread across two years, allowing me to have more time to continue to network in the radio industry and to find a full-time job that will help support me so I am able to continue living in London. As mentioned throughout this blog my end goal is to be a successful radio producer for a music station based on either urban or rock music as that is where my passion currently lies. However with this in mind I would still like to explore the opportunities available with speech / news based radio as I’m very interested in politics and current affairs, so much so I have been considering creating my own podcast on politics and currently exploring what work experience opportunities are out there based in this specific field.
My experience from completing my audio project and the last three years of university have opened my eyes to the challenges you may face in a professional environment and the importance of time management when completing a task to the highest standard. As it currently stands the thought of graduating is one that is terrifying yet at the same time, I am very excited to start the next chapter of my life and working towards my career goals and stability. Below are five steps I have created which will help me achieve my end goal:
Five practical steps:
1) Complete a master’s degree in entertainment law
2) Continue to work at Soho Radio / Boogaloo Radio and to look for other potential work experience opportunities, especially those that are politics / speech based
3) Find a flexible full-time job so I can support myself to stay in London whilst I complete my master’s degree
4) Learn and perfect how-to DJ – as this is a hobby that has always interested me, also I work with many DJ’s at Soho Radio and Boogaloo so by learning that skill it will help me to work with those artists to create even better content
5) Create a politics / current afairs podcast