Research I undertook into the job market for my work experience
One platform I really utilised when it came to be looking for work experience was Google. The contacts I’ve already made from the networking events I have attended also came in handy. However thankfully the work experience which I acquired through an acquaintance meant that I could personally show my CV and discuss the work experience placement.
The research I’ve gone through helped me understand what radio stations are looking for when it comes to individuals who are looking for work experience.
Research I undertook for gaining a commission for my Individual Audio Project
Initially, the idea which I’ve had first was the idea that ended up being my audio project. The genre wasn’t decided on, I struggled at the start to put a genre on the project but in the end, it worked out perfectly. The idea was to create a documentary about the endangered birds within the UK, meaning that I would have to find an ornithologist who wanted to talk about birds. With Aasiya’s help, I managed to narrow down the idea each week and have a better understanding myself. Each week there was a different approach, from contacting the RSPB to contacting the Animal Charity Evaluators.
The research about birds wasn’t challenging as all the information about the different birds within the UK can be found online on the RSPB’s website, a very helpful tool which proved to be a game changer when it came to researching what the situation looked like with certain bird species within the UK.
The disappointing stages I faced during this research were the times I was let down by organisations that I thought could help me out with this audio project. The likes of the RSPB and London Wetland Centre. The countless times emails had to be sent by me and Aasiya, the calls made to these organisations and also the time wasted was the most challenging part of this research.
Having a few interviews fall through, I was sure that the Wetland Centre was the right place to go to with the idea. Very close to the deadline, the interview fell through as well.
In the end thankfully I found Kelly Hedges who is the reserve warden of Warburg Nature Reserve. She was happy to be interviewed and to give commission to produce a piece about the birds within the Warburg Nature Reserve.
What I learned from my work placement
Total Rock is where my first work placement took place, I can’t begin to list how much I took away from that experience. Having worked alongside Tony Wilson and collaborating with loads of other presenters at Total Rock, I met individuals who have been working within the radio industry for decades. One of the first things I remember talking about with Tony, was when he wanted to meet me and see what I really wanted out of this experience. We talked over a cup of coffee about music, past radio experiences and my relationship with presenting a show.
I’ve taken away some great experiences from Total Rock, I was given the opportunity to create a show in the week of work experience I was given. I came up with the idea on the show, with it being approved by Tony I was given a green light to record a 2-hour show for the station. With the help of the other presenters at the station, I planned out my first ever 2-hour show and recorded it. The placement definitely taught me how to plan out each stage or a radio show, how each section fits together, how each link needs to be connected to make sense. The confidence I gained behind the microphone because of Total Rock was a real change for me as I felt a change in my presenting style the more confident I got. As it was a pre recorded show it had its advantages. Having to edit a 2 hour + show is time consuming but it puts into perspective how much editing goes into some shows that are pre recorded on some of the bigger stations e.g. Planet Rock. My editing was sharper because of Total Rock, the way I executed that show also helped me stay at Total Rock for a much longer time after my work experience period was through.
Having worked with some of the other presenters, sharing ideas with them as well as listening to their shows taught me that it was vital to listen to each other. Even though Total Rock presenters didn’t work as a collective to create shows, it was always good practice to exchange ideas that could help everyone in the end because the goal was to bring in as many listeners as was physically possible.
What I learned from working with an external commissioner for Individual Audio Project
I cannot stress enough how important it is to secure an interview and be 100% sure that it isn’t going to fall through. Having learnt the hard way that you cannot rely on people, I’ve sacrificed my grade because of the naïve decisions during the making of my audio piece. As I have chosen such a different topic to what I would have initially ever thought about, it proved in the early stages that it’ll be a challenge as I have no contacts, no experience and no clue what I wanted to achieve from this audio piece. Even though these challenges came very early on in the module I didn’t want to give up on the idea as I pictured how amazing it could turn out and also how terrible it could be in the end.
After being cancelled and having lost all hope, I found Warburg where I found Kelly Hedges. She was intrigued by the topic I was exploring and was on board from the first moment. After having spoken and sorted out the interviewing date, we managed to record and settle on what was recorded.
I think it’s unfair of me to blame anyone else but me in this situation. If I wasn’t so laid back and naïve with who I was going to interview, I would’ve had more time to edit the piece into a more professional version of what it is now.
Where I hope to go next, what sort of career you are aiming for, drawing on my work experience and Individual Audio Project.
In terms of what sort of career I see ahead of myself I could say that it’s a very mixed future. The future I see is definitely with audio, whether it’s radio, I’m still unsure. Looking at the initial idea of my project I could see the great potential it had, it was all down to me to fulfil that potential which I can openly say that it hasn’t but it didn’t fully disappoint me because it could’ve been worse in terms of what the final edit turned out to be. Time was all it needed, if there was more then the piece would improve simply from the way it was edited in the end. I think that my next step is to gain employment either at Audible through finally being hired as a narrator for a book or to end up creating a podcast which can bring in listeners and revenue.
I would also be happy with carrying on with a Masters Degree, where I could use my current experiences to educate myself even more than I already have.
Five practical steps which you will follow to help you on the next phase, post-graduation.
Creating a personal brand
Having a brand is one of these steps because its absolutely crucial to a media career. Having a brand is like having an extra way of showing what you’ve been up to in your life that shows off your achievements. In my opinion, that is one of the steps I will take more seriously when I do graduate, its very important for your future employer to know what sort of content you’ve created and also helped to create. This brand can be shown on a website that is on a domain owned by me, having my CV, my previous employers as well as the work I’ve created there is just a few of the things that need to be there and will be there as time passes.
Master’s Degree Research
I’ve been wanting to keep on educating myself, whether this is in a media environment or not. I’d like to put more effort into my education and achieve more than I ever set out to when thinking about University. I’d like to connect the MA with my BA but only time and the right research will show what can be done to really improve my future chances of employment in the right area. Once I have picked what master’s degree appeals to me the most, I want to immerse myself in the course to make the most of it and focus on what’s really important unlike I’ve done in the past.
The amount of networking events I’ve seen happen within the media industry in the last 3 years is amazing. The amount of opportunities there are for each individual to meet people who have been working in the industry is out of this world. I want to attend more of these events, I always enjoyed meeting new people and sharing ideas and opinions, it will definitely come in handy when there are people who have experiences which they can share with the newbies who are trying to find their way within the industry.
Balancing education and life
More of an issue I’ve had in recent years. Whether it was sixth form or University, I always have moments where I’ll get distracted and those distractions will cause me to lose focus of what’s really important at that point in time. I’ve found myself in that situation many times and I always like to take away a lesson from each instance that this happens on. I hope to get rid of these distractions in the coming future because it’s limiting my ability to focus on the task at hand.
Focus on Social Media
I’ve realised that in the recent University years, my professional social media presence hasn’t been there, whether its LinkedIn or my personal Twitter. I need to keep on updating these to make sure that IF they’re being viewed by potential employers, that they’re up to date because it could potentially jeopardise a future encounter with anyone else working within the industry who might’ve been interested in the actual up to date work I’ve been up to. The LinkedIn profile is top priority as it could be viewed by more media employers rather than the Twitter profile.