I have recently been fortunate to be doing work experience for talkSPORT at News UK in Central London. Since Thursday 28th November I have been assisting the content team and i found the job comfortable as I am familiar with the software that they use. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity and this synoptic reflection will show how I got this opportunity to have work experience.

Part 1 – Researching and applying for work experience 

I had done some work experience at talkSPORT international prior to this. I was helping out with audio packages and doing some light running for them and since then I have been recording commentary demos for them. Whilst in my second year and the University Of Westminster i studied a module called Talk Radio. Talk Radio was taught by David Spencer, who is the head of news at talkSPORT. I had had conversations with him about work experience whilst I was at International but I didn’t do any concrete research for the work experience. In November I emailed David to inquire about any potential work experience and then emails went back and forth about dates and times for when to come in. I was then introduced to Rob this January who is part of David’s news team and i worked with him at talkSPORT. This has given me valuable radio experience in the industry and I have used tools from the course that I have learnt to aid me. Learning and understanding Burli has helped me massively as that has made it easier to settle in as I know that software. I believe that talking to David and essentially researching about the opportunities available at talkSPORT really made me confident in networking with other professionals in the industry, which I did for my audio project. As i connected with Radio Broadcaster and former Chelsea footballer Pat Nevin via LinkedIn.  This was also a significant help in my efforts to find a commission for audio project.

Part 2- What I learnt from working my work placement and what I learnt from working with an external commissioner 

Firstly, going into the talkSPORT studios were and amazing experience, seeing how everything is set up. The software, the playout system and the news desk along with the news booths was a fantastic experience. One bit of knowledge that i took to talkSPORT with me was from a module in my first year called Bulletins and Blogs. I’ve written and recorded my own bulletins before which is something they do on the news team which i wanted to impress with straight away. As stated earlier i know Burli and have been able to edit on that particular piece of software.

Secondly I was tasked with taking audio and original content from talkSPORT’s files and then uploading them into Burli. once they were loaded up i needed to take roughly 20 clips and decrease the audio file to between 13-16 seconds. This is so the clips will be suitable for use in a news bulletin the next day when the news embargo has been lifted. The clips consisted of interviews from players and managers in the Premier League for example Mikel Arteta and Ruben Neves. Then once the clips are edited to the adequate size they were transferred into their bulletins folder on Burli ready for use.

Going on from there was relatively comfortable however I had to make in cues for Bulletins which at the beginning was a challenge for me because I had only made full Bulletins. Rob, who was on the news team talked me through the process of taking every single news clip that I had trimmed down to size and then creating a short Bulletin file. I then managed to to drag the required audio into the bulletin folder and make a line of dialogue for the newsreader to say on the radio with an IN Cue. It was confusing as at University we are taught to have IN and OUT Cue’s but for these bulletins they were not required. It was simply just a summary of the audio clip followed by the IN Cue and then a link to the clip that was related.

I feel that during my work experience hours I have learnt a lot at talkSPORT and I still have a lot more learning left to do whilst I am there. I would like to be able to learn how to operate a desk in their studios and learn the play out system. As I now know multiple people in talkSPORT I want to be able to make as many connections as possible to then further my aspirations of getting a job at talkSPORT as either a part of the news team, content team or as a tech op.

Finding a commission for this audio project was a lot more challenging then my work experience. It was no luxury that having my work experience would help me with this part of my audio project assessment. My audio project was an Audio Walk to Chelsea’s football stadium Stamford Bridge in West London. The walk would start at West Brompton tube station and take you past Brompton cemetery onto the Fulham Road where you would end up at Stamford Bridge thanks to the directions provided. The creative aspect of it was finding external audio to back it up along with contributors, for example interviews and also that commission.

It wasn’t an easy start as I was procrastinating the search for a commission as I really wanted to flesh out the idea for my audio project which hit a snag right at the very beginning. I wanted to have the audio walk going through Brompton Cemetery and not around it. However, it was listed as a Royal Park and I needed planning permission to record audio as they do not permit vox pops there. it would have cost up to £1000 to do the recording there so I had to change the idea slightly and try and find local businesses to talk to with regards to my project. That didn’t work and unfortunately I couldn’t get any businesses to help out which made me think outside the box with regards to the commission.

In my second year of University I studied Sports Journalism at the Regents Campus and was taught by Lyall Thomas who is a former student of the University and currently works as a news editor for Sky Sports. He told me about his contact Pat Nevin, who is a radio broadcaster and ex-footballer. Pat Nevin helped Lyall on his dissertation and encouraged me to talk to him. I messaged Pat in regards to my idea of my audio project via LinkedIn and he was more than happy to help. We got an Interview done and he recommended Lyall as someone to ask for the commission of the piece.

I had to do some thinking as I had previously done work experience at talkSPORT international and I didn’t think that the kind of piece that I was creating was suitable for that station. I felt like it was more formal and suited a more formal audience. So I emailed Lyall about the idea and he was happy to commission the piece on behalf of Sky Sports which is what it was made for.

What I have learnt from this is to not leave the commission til last. I should have got the commission to the piece before I started recording audio for the project. This was a challenging project which could have gone easier with better preparation. I also feel that having done the previous work experience at talkSPORT International, I could’ve perhaps worked the project around that. However I wanted it to be as original and authentic as it could possibly be and not be a copy of a certain style.

Part 3- Where do I hope to go next 

I hope to graduate the course with a decent grade, hopefully a 2:1 if the stars align. Having had the work experience at talkSPORT International and the continual work experience at talkSPORT, the ambition is to get a freelance job there and look at moving to London full time as well as looking at other jobs in the industry. I am a huge football fan which has led me to pursue a job at talkSPORT but also I would love to work in music radio, I love music and have a passion for so many different genres and I would like to broaden my horizons there.

First and foremost I want to finish my degree as that is paramount to my future and something I care deeply for. I want to maintain a strong professional relationship with all of the contacts that I have made in the industry so far and to not be afraid to challenge myself to make more steps in progress to getting a career. A goal is to get a job in the industry by the time I graduate. I know that that will not be easy, nothing in the radio industry is ever given and I want to be able to earn it through hard work at work experience and graduating with a degree.

I also want to keep on the look out for any other opportunities that come round for work experience whether it be at talkRADIO, Virgin, Absolute, or Radio X there are several places that I would love to work for and gain experience. Even for community stations like Roundhouse radio would be a pleasure to work for and learn under industry professionals. I just want to be a sponge nad soak up as much knowledge and work as i can in my life and career.

Here are 5 steps I am going to take to fulfill my career aspirations:

  1. To finish my Radio Degree and to graduate with a good grade.
  2. To impress at talkSPORT and carry on working there for the foreseeable future.
  3. To apply for various other radio jobs and work experience in the industry to enhance my CV and to show potential employers I have a wide range of skills and attributes.
  4. To remain in contact with every industry contact I have for whenever I need help or they need help with any projects. This could also lead to making new contacts along the way too and other potential radio opportunities.
  5. To be able to take all the things I’ve learnt from the course at University and apply them in my carer and learn even more to enhance my capabilities.

In conclusion, I feel as if i know what I want to do in my career going forward. I have a plan to finish my degree and carry on with the work experience I’m doing and hopefully graduate with a good grade. I want to be able to work in the Radio industry by the time i graduate. I believe that this is a realistic goal for me to achieve and with everything I have learnt from work experience and my audio project I have full confidence that i will achieve my aspirations.

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