Blog Post 1
What research you undertook into the job market for your work experience
During my Talk Radio module on the course, I really enjoyed working across the various roles in the team and being taught by the module lecturer, David Spencer. Through being taught by David, I was able to learn how radio is produced in the News UK building across the different stations. Prior to the module ending, I kept in contact with David and received an email in June with regards to helping out on the Julia Hartley-Brewer breakfast show on TalkRADIO as a runner. Upon agreeing to the position, I was contacted by the shows Assistant Producer at the time and I started the following morning. The whole process of gaining this work experience taught me the value of showcasing your skill to the best of your ability in any role as it can lead to further opportunities in other stations/positions. I also learned the importance of networking and keeping in contact with those you meet.
Research for gaining a commission for Individual Audio Project
The genre of my audio project was centered around relaxation apps, with my initial aim to be commissioned by Headspace – an app focusing on mindfulness and meditation. However, I wanted to give myself as many commission options as possible so I researched other apps such as Breethe, Calm, Aura and other companies who feature similar content. I listened through their sleepcasts and audio pieces designed to help people get to sleep as well as the more invigorating episodes and sent an email to each of them. Two came back to me and agreed to be my hypothetical commission. This gave me an insight into what the process would be of gaining a real commission should I choose to pursue audio production similar to this on a freelance basis.
Blog Post 2
What you learned from your work placement
I learned a lot from my time working at TalkRADIO. Firstly, I learned how to structure copy for the show and where to source the news from. This also indicated the way different shows use different print sources for their information – for example one show might prefer the Telegraph to the Guardian whilst it could be the opposite on a different show. I also found that each presenter has their own preference for formatting of scripts and it’s best to make a template to refer to. I was able to shadow the AP during my shifts and on the busier days I would fill in for them. During one of those days I was responsible for calling a person who is well known in the public eye and I made the mistake of not engaging in small talk before asking to put them through to the studio. Through this, I learned the importance of being open and friendly at all times in order to carry this atmosphere over to the talent. For example, as much as it’s important to be punctual and professional, simply asking how someone’s day is going can go along way in keeping them in a good mood. The overall takeaway from the module would be that no matter how small your role in the radio environment, it can make a big difference to the show as a whole, therefore it is important to be proactive and to get along well with the other members of your team.
Blog Post 3
What you learned from working with an external commissioner for Individual Audio Project
For my audio project, although my work was inspired by the audio on the commissioner’s app, I was able to create something new and original. I was able to create a new sub-genre of audio meditation by combining the typical elements of a meditation soundscape with elements of audio drama. This taught me that there is always potential to work with a company or brand on a commission, even if the idea is different from the content that they currently produce. If produced well enough, it may be a new idea that the commissioner could incorporate into their network and it may lead to more job opportunities. On the other hand, it also taught me how to take inspiration from content and emulate it in a way that would suit each brand that I approached.
As well as this, through the commissioning of my audio project, I was given feedback by a recruiter for one of the apps. They listened to a rough demo of my sleepcast episode and said that my speech could be slower and to focus more on the rhythm of my speech, so as to really help the listener to relax and fall asleep. He also asked to hear the audio without music underneath so as to hear the voice on its own, with the potential of being hired as a voice actor for their app. Overall this taught me what the process is like as a voice actor; it showed how important it is to consider the rhythm and tone of your voice for the different meditation subcategories.
Where you hope to go next, what sort of career you are aiming for, drawing on your work experience and Individual Audio Project.
After university, I would very much like to pursue a career in the media industry. I am not restricting myself strictly to a career in radio, although I would be happy either way if I were to secure a job in radio and work my way up across the industry. Due to my experience mainly being in commercial radio, I can mostly see myself working in a commercial station. Through the Professional Practice module, I was able to figure out that my skills and overall passion are in the digital and social media marketing aspect of radio. Within these departments, I would be able to exhibit my skills of creative thinking, social media, video and audio production. I hope that after graduation I can go into an entry-level position in a commercial station; preferably Bauer or Global. I will also be applying for independent production houses such as Somethin’ Else or Wise Buddah.
In terms of the sort of career I’m aiming for, my aspirations are quite broad yet I believe with hard work and determination I can achieve them. Firstly, I would like to go into an entry-level position at a commercial station or freelance with independent production houses. Whilst freelancing and working in radio, I hope to continue my hobby of creative writing. I really enjoy writing fiction novels and screen-plays and I believe they have the potential to be published once finished. Therefore, I would love to have a career both in radio and TV/book writing as it would combine my aspiring career paths. Drawing on my individual audio project, I would also like to pursue freelance work as a voice actor, as one of the commissioners I approached gave me positive feedback on my abilities for this industry.
I understand that this is an extensive list in terms of what sort of career I’m aiming for, however I believe that I have the skills to pursue a career in each of the listed industries and I don’t feel as though I should restrict myself or narrow it down for the sake of sounding ‘realistic’.
FIVE practical steps which you will follow to help you on the next phase, post-graduation.
- Update my CV: Upon graduating, I will need to update my CV in order to let future employers know what which qualifications I have. I also recently received an academic achievement award, therefore I will also add this to my CV, alongside any other non-academic achievements. During the Professional Practice module, I was advised to not make my CV too long and to make it colourful so that it stands out to employers and is attractive to look at. Therefore I will have to make some changes to the experience shown on my CV as it is currently just about fitting onto one side of A4.
- Update and use my LinkedIn: I try to keep my LinkedIn profile as up to date as possible, therefore upon graduating I will change my qualifications to suit my updated CV. I will aim to use the site more as a way of networking, therefore I want to try to start updating my statuses on the platform to let those in my network see what I’m working on. I can also start using the website as a way of scouting for potential job opportunities and catching up with contacts that I haven’t spoken to in a while.
- Update my online portfolio: Once I’ve graduated from the course, I will have the opportunity to look over my work from both outside and inside the university. From this I can decide which pieces I want to include in my online portfolio and figure out how I can design my website to best suit my career goals. For example, if I want to go into creative writing, I can include a blog element to my website which I can update regularly and link to my social media as part of my personal brand. I will also have separate tabs for my radio, photography and video content.
- Decide what my personal brand is: As mentioned in Step 3, I will aim to maintain a blog on my website which I’ll link to my social media accounts as part of my personal brand. However, it will be important to decide what my personal brand actually is. At the beginning of the Professional Practice module, we carried out some tasks in order to help us start thinking about how we might construct our brands. I think for me the difficulty lies in the fact that my career aspirations are so broad. Therefore, I might have to decide if I have a different personal brand for each element of my career goals, or whether I want to present myself as someone who has skills in all relevant media and can freelance in those areas which my skills are best suited to. This is probably one of the most important steps in the 5 step plan.
- Network: Over my time gaining work experience in the industry so far, I have managed to acquire a range of contacts across various radio networks. However, after graduation I’ll need to try harder to maintain these connections in order to keep an ear out for potential opportunities that may arise. I also need to start sending emails to those in the industry that do similar roles to the ones I am aiming to get into, this way I can learn more about the day-to-day tasks of the roles as well as gain insight into how they got there. This is also a good way of building up my network of industry contacts.