Individual Audio Project
When beginning to research potential ideas for my audio project, I decided I wanted to do a piece about musicians who gained a following from social media. I first looked into any musicians I could potentially interview. I created a list of people I thought I would have easy access to and began emailing them. I definitely did not begin emailing people quick enough and unfortunately, the main list of people I had in mind were unavailable for various reasons. I then decided to focus my idea more on female musicians and that the audio piece would consist of two-three podcast episodes which would be interviews with a particular artist. Again, not very quickly, I put out an appeal on social media asking if anybody was or knew “female musicians (who [were] under 25 & based in London) about what it’s like trying to succeed in the music industry as a young woman”. I also still had not secured or even listed potential commissioners but kept thinking I should wait until I had at least one interview confirmed before compiling a list of potential ones. This was not a good idea and I would have benefited from having a commission secured earlier on the process of the project. From my social media posts I did get quite a lot of responses but finding availability with the artists proved difficult or I did not like their music enough to have an interest in interviewing them. I realised the project deadline was getting close so I kept up conversations with people who responded to me via social media. I secured my first interview with a female singer/songwriter via her manager. I then also researched possible commissioners. I looked online at lots of different production companies but already had Podium on my list from a suggestion by Aasiya. I emailed Podium explaining my idea with a description of the style that the podcast episodes would be. I received a reply really quickly and after a few email exchanges, was told they would be happy to commission the piece. This was good because I was able to easily give more information and give examples when something I said maybe wasn’t clear initially. I also told Podium about the fact I had arranged the first interview and gave them background information on the artist.
In the lead up to the first interview, I think there was some miscommunication about where the interview would take place and where I was going to meet the artist. Her manager told me to meet her at a hotel in central London and I (wrongly) assumed that the artist was staying there and that the interview would take place in her room. It turned out that was just a meeting point and a location for the interview had not been decided. I tried to make the best out of a difficult situation so we went to a nearby café and we did the interview there instead which meant the audio quality was not the best. I do feel that I tried to salvage it as much as I could during the editing process and made it the best it could have been. I kept Podium up to date with the progress of this throughout.
I learned from my mistakes with the first interview and after securing an interview with a second artist, I made sure to book a meeting room at another university campus to protect the quality of this interview’s audio. This episode of the podcast turned out much better in terms of audio quality. Again, I kept Podium up to date about this.
When researching potential places to do work experience, my options in Glasgow were quite limited for the type of company I was interested in. I wanted to get work experience from a well-established commercial radio station in Glasgow as this would allow me to shadow experienced producers which is a role I was interested in but wanted to learn more about in a real-life setting. My options were Bauer (Clyde 1, Clyde 2, etc.), Global (Heart Scotland and Smooth Scotland) and Capital FM (who are owned by Communicorp in Scotland). Global were the only company that were advertising work experience placements so I applied for that.
During the summer of 2018, I did two weeks of work experience at Global Scotland, primarily working with the breakfast producer of Heart Scotland. I spent a week sitting in on the breakfast show, shadowing the producer in the studio and assisting with on-air content creation as well as social media posts. I learned about how much work really goes into producing a regional radio show, with sourcing guests, liaising with the marketing team on potential competitions and finding content to fit in with it as well as general content that will entice audience interaction. Additionally, I spent a lot of time creating questions for a competition which had a big prize. One of the questions which I submitted (of which there were many) to be asked by the presenters on air, lead to a funny clip which was used on social media and during station trails later that day, where the listener got the answer completely wrong and it was very funny.
While coming up with competition questions, my desk was located next to the Global News Team. This allowed me to observe how they reacted to breaking news stories as well as how they sourced contributors for their nightly news programme and regular bulletins on the station. I also saw how the team communicated with other news teams in other regions of the UK on news which was of national importance to get interview clips, etc. from these other teams. I found this really interesting as I did not know how a news team would actually operated in a real-life setting. I could only draw experience from creating news programmes at college.
I also attended a video shoot at a client of the station’s studio which would be used to promote an upcoming competition. The person who was filming this was the deputy managing editor of the station. He explained that he had to teach himself how to do it and this helped me understand that you need lots of transferable skills like being able to operate a camera and video editing when working in radio.
After graduation, I hope to continue living in London and be able to secure a freelance producer/tech-op role at a radio station while also keeping my current retail job for extra security. I want to continue working at my retail job until I am able to do enough regular radio shifts where I can still support myself without it. Long-term I am aiming to become a producer on a weekly slot at a national radio station. After shadowing the breakfast producer at Heart Scotland I decided that I definitely want to focus my career more towards producing commercial radio. This is because I really enjoyed helping him and learning the finer details about the mountain of work that he does every day to make the breakfast show happen. I like the idea of having a constant project like that which I can constantly work on and improve and develop with talented presenters.
The first practical step I will follow to help me secure a freelance position at a radio station after graduation is to begin emailing people who work within the radio industry to ask about getting some work experience at the stations they work at. If I want to have a chance at getting any kind of radio job after graduation I think it is extremely important that I get more work experience as so far my biggest amount of experience mainly comes from student radio. I want to get work experience at an established station with the hope that this will lead straight onto paid work after I have shown my worth or (the more likely scenario) which will just assist me in getting paid work further down the line.
The second practical step I will follow to help me secure a freelance position at a radio station after graduation is networking at radio industry events. I have never been very confident with networking but I am determined to push myself more before graduation, particularly at the Student Radio Conference in April. I was to try to approach industry professionals after panels to discuss the topic and also just to make myself known to them so that if I apply for a job or ask about potentially getting some work experience further down the line, they will (hopefully) recognise me and that may give me a slightly better chance at being replied to.
The third practical step I will follow to help me secure a freelance position at a radio station is to continue producing the Friday Breakfast show on Smoke Radio until I finish university. I want to be able to develop the show further until I leave so that the presenters will still feel passionate about doing the show again the following year. I think it will look better to potential employers that I was producing this show throughout my third year and developing it into a good listen rather than just something I didn’t put much effort into in order to have experience on my CV.
The fourth practical step I will follow to help me secure a freelance position at a radio station is creating a production demo which I can include in job applications or when trying to get work experience which may lead to a job. I already have some work posted online from features, interviews and a variety of radio programmes which I have made at college. These are posted on Soundcloud and Mixcloud and I believe that having this work online greatly benefits me because potential employers are able to listen to it. I think that having a demo that showcases the body of work I have produced in the past would be a great asset to have when trying to secure paid roles at radio stations.
The fifth practical step I will follow to help me secure a freelance position at a radio station is pitching ideas for audio features and podcasts. I have a list of ideas I would like to pursue further, either independently with friends who are also in the industry or through a production company. I think that through gaining a commission on my audio project I have been able to gain a clearer understanding of what pitching an idea to a company is like. I also think that it will be good for me to have a ‘passion project’ to keep me motivated after graduation from university. It will help show a desire for working in the radio/ audio industry to potential employers too.