Part 1) how I got my work experience and individual audio project commission
As part of my degree in Radio and Digital Production BA Hons, I was required to research, attain and complete a work placement that related to my degree. The first step I took in getting my work experience was researching what radio stations were around me that were looking for applicants for work experience. Using google as my main method of searching, I found a local radio station called Time FM https://www.time1075.net/ and after some brief research on the station, I decided to take a visit to Time FM and enquire about to see if there were any work experience placements available. However, unfortunately all placements that were available had been snapped up. It was a shame as the station was very local to myself and I would have enjoyed doing a work experience placement there. After a few days of further research and emailing, I hadn’t received any luck in gaining some a work placement. One day whilst having my lunch break in the University of Westminster’s forum, I came across INRIX Media.
http://inrix.com/ I sat down and spoke to INRIX’s Senior Broadcaster Alan Joyce and talked about my degree and the various modules that I’d done already on my course as well as my current search for a work experience placement relating to my degree. As luck would have it, INRIX had a work placement going for students looking to gain some experience in the radio/media field. I gave my email to Alan Joyce who gave me a leaflet to read and get in touch with them. After having thought about the placement and researching about INRIX Media, I sent an email and I was really happy when I received a reply asking me to come in for an induction and to discuss the times and dates that I would be available to complete a week’s work experience. Finally I had found a work placement that I felt I would enjoy and learn a lot of helpful, transferrable skills from.
In terms of successfully obtaining a commission for my individual audio project, the process went very similarly to how I got my work experience placement at INRIX. The first class on the individual audio project module, gave a briefing on the assessment and what was required to do to complete it successfully. The main important factor, alongside the audio project itself, was to pitch our idea to a company or organisation and get a written commission from them i.e. in the form of an email. Before I could get my commission, I had to brainstorm some ideas that I thought would be doable and that companies would be interested in commissioning. After a week or so, I came up with a main idea that I really wanted to do for my audio project which was to create a mini-series on dog training. The main reasonings behind this idea were the fact that I am the owner of a not necessarily well-behaved Jack Russell Terrier who isn’t one of the easiest breeds to train. Therefore, I wanted to create an easy to follow guide with tips and tricks from a professional dog trainer for other owners like me to use. I sent an email to a couple local dog training centres, one of which was ‘Heath’s Personal Dog Training’ and pitched my idea. Needless to say, after waiting around a week for a reply, I received no luck.
I decided to give them a call and after several tries, I wasn’t able to get through and with the deadline for securing a commission approaching fast, I needed to think of another idea. I had a bit of trouble thinking of other ideas as I was set on doing a dog training series, but eventually I thought of an idea that I’d equally love to do. Being a member of a martial arts association called ‘Tang Soo Do’ I realised that not a lot of people that I spoke to about it had never heard of it before. It is also such a big and personal part of my life. In order to get more people informed on what it is and what we do, I decided that I would create an informative podcast series on Tang Soo Do, one episode on London TSD, one on competitions and one on the women of Tang Soo Do. Once I had my idea established, my next move was to think about who I could contact to commission my idea. The most appropriate people were, the director of the whole of GB Tang Soo Do Master Khan and the Secretary for GB Tang Soo Do and first female master in Europe Master Dawn Khan. After sending an email pitching my idea to them both, I got a rather enthusiastic reply from Master Dawn Khan who was excited by my idea and commissioned it. I believe that I should have sent emails out earlier to avoid rushing to get a commission, however, I overcame this by thinking quickly and changing my idea.
Part 2) what I learned from my work experience and from working with an external commissioner to meet their production guidelines
I learnt a lot during my week work experience placement at INRIX, a company who use data analytics to make peoples commutes and journeys on the roads better and safer. The first thing I noticed when I went in for an induction was how friendly the broadcasters and building staff were. Senior Broadcaster Alan Joyce was very helpful in showing me around the building and introducing me to the other broadcasters there. Him and the other staff were very chatty and friendly and made it a comfortable environment to work in. It was a friendly yet busy environment, with everyone seemingly working as a team to produce both live and pre-recorded traffic and travel reports for different radio stations across the UK. I knew immediately that this was the kind of environment I would enjoy working. As well as working hard, on breaks they would ask each other how things were going and just had a laugh before getting back to work. The fact that everyone was working together and the room was filled with positivity definitely enhanced my team building skills.
Although I was a little shy at first, and quite baffled at the system they which consisted of working on 4 screens at one time, Alan Joyce quickly took me through how everything worked and what their main duties are over the average shift. After some practise compiling and recording demos of traffic and travel reports, I’d gotten familiar with the system learning how to ‘adlib’ around my speech on broadcasting to make it sound more conversational and less scripted. I found that after a few days practise and shadowing some of the other broadcasters, I got more confident in speaking into the mic and making my broadcasts more conversational when reading from live traffic updates. As well as this I learnt how they use not only satellite information to gather traffic updates but that they also employ the use of social media (twitter posts) to hear from people reporting things happening on the roads where they are. This demonstrates that they are innovative by using other sources to find information that satellites didn’t pick up. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this work placement as I was able to put what I’d learnt into practise over the week during a mock-shift whilst obtaining some valuable experience in a field related to my degree.
Whilst working with my commissioner, Master Dawn Khan, for my individual audio project idea, I learnt that when doing an informative podcast series it is important that you make sure that all of the information included in those podcasts is correct. For example, in my first podcast episode on ‘History of Tang Soo Do and London TSD’ it began with myself talking about the history of Tang Soo Do and how it came to be. The information I provided in an earlier draft was not entirely correct and so I went back and changed the information. It wouldn’t be a useful podcast to listeners if they were given the wrong information. I then checked with my commissioner to see if the information I included was the correct information. Once it had been checked with them and I had edited the various links that I had included in the podcasts, that aspect of my individual audio project was complete. The first thing I did to start my audio project off was to write out a plan of how I wanted the podcasts to be structured.
I wrote down the storyline for each podcast, questions for interviewees and also the links I wanted to record. I thought about potential people that I could interview and what sort of questions I could ask them. For my podcast on ‘Women of Tang Soo Do’ I decided that the perfect person to interview would be Master Dawn Khan herself. The reason for this was because she was the commissioner for my individual audio project, the secretary for GB Tang Soo Do and the first female master in Europe. She is the only woman in Tang Soo Do that teaches and all ladies class and she is passionate about teaching martial arts and so I believed that she would be the perfect person to interview. I drafted out some questions and then sent her an email containing them. Once she had replied and let me know that all of the questions were okay, we organised a date to do the interview. What I learnt from doing this interview was quite a lot, I got a feel of how passionate she was about women and about Tang Soo Do and also I was captivated by her story on how Tang Soo Do helped her personally as well as on the progress that women have made in martial arts from when she first started training up until now. I learned that the key to a successful sounding podcast was preparation and just pacing your time editorially. Here is the link to my podcasts http://westminsterradio.net/final-individual-audio-project-josephine-bruce/
Part 3) where I hope to go next, what career I am aiming for (with reference to individual audio project and work experience) FIVE practical steps I will take to help me post-graduation
In these past three years studying Radio and Digital Production BA Hons, I have learned a lot of different skills that I never knew before that will no doubt help me in my future career path. Earning a degree will stand me in good stead when applying for future jobs and it will showcase my hard work and dedication. I’ve learnt how to produce audio via my individual audio project and other audio assignments I have completed, I learnt to use new equipment and software, how to think dynamically and have enhanced my teamwork skills etc. In my work experience at INRIX I learnt that I enjoy working in a friendly, dynamic enviroment and I learnt about other areas of radio that I potentially may revisit later on. I chose to take the university route in life, as it opens more doors in terms of employability and gives you the skillset required to enter many more jobs . Post-graduation, I am thinking of pursuing a career in Public Relations because I like the advertising side of the media and I am very creative. Also I am thinking of pursuing a career in Human Resources because I feel I would be a good candidate for this type of profession as I am a people person with good communication skills. I believe it is impossible to know exactly what path you want to take in life post-university but having a degree gives you a much wider scope in the workplace sector. 5 practical steps I will take to help me post-graduation will be:
- Explore my options and have a plan in mind of how I am going to do things
- https://www.prospects.ac.uk/ use prospects and various other job sites to research into and look for traineeships to apply to in the PR or HR field.
- Polish up my CV and refine it more
- Apply for various roles by sending in my CV and a Cover Letter.
- Do an internship in the HR/PR field to gain more experience