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Fleur Ostojak – Studying Radio at University: what I’ve learned

June 13th, 2017

Last time I blogged, I was panicking about the ‘what ifs’ of trying to get a job in the radio industry. I’m still in that position, but I have a clearer perspective. But for now, this post is about the amount of progression 3 years can have on you, whatever your degree.

I’m going to break this down into years, almost like a timeline.

First Year – Finding your social circle

“You only need 40% to pass apparently” was the catchphrase of my first year at uni, and the deal-breaker if you wanted one of your friends to go out with you. Looking at how I handled university academically, I always used the same work ethic as I did in school, especially when it came to GCSE and A-level. I worry a lot, usually about the most unnecessary things that are out of my reach. Therefore, I would always hand in assignments a couple of days before the deadline day; in case I forgot something, I had the chance to go back and amend – this is a piece of advice I would absolutely recommend to anyone still at uni. I’ve had situations where an audio piece wasn’t exactly 5 minutes long and I didn’t realise until after uploading, or an essay didn’t have the correct reference in; saving myself the worry and avoiding an all-nighter was a work ethic I pride myself on.

I can just about remember my first essay, it had to be 1000 words and, me being me, was stressing about it. What was Harvard referencing? What do I say? Is it up to university standard? Little naive me was expecting to know a lot already. If I could go back and speak to first year Fleur back then it would be not to stress, the first essay is for the lecturer to see what your writing style is like.

The hardest part of first year academically, was actually learning about radio. I came to uni having 0 experience in editing or recording, so I decided that there was no other option than to learn the hard way and start from scratch. This meant having one-on-one tutorials with my lecturer about Adobe Audition, getting as much training in a studio so I was alright with the next assignment, and picking up the liveliness of student radio which I forced myself to apply for. After just typing this, I’m quite impressed at how many new opportunities I put myself through, on top of living with new people, and getting to grips of the student life, being social 24/7 because you had no TV, and you were boring if you spent your free time in your room.

In a nutshell, I learned the basics in first year, but I actually spent more time socialising with my friends, as I had been told your first year is the best (And it kind of was).

Second Year – Learning the Hard Way

This is when it starts to mean more than 40%, plus, you’re not in student halls anymore. For my course, we had a 4-week compulsory placement to start thinking about. The majority of my second year assignments was group work. And although I had no problem with groups because I love working as a team, it can get tough. You’re not the only one in control of the assignment – and you know the effort has to be shared. Therefore you take on one responsibility, and have the worrying thought that there are other people in charge of different roles that you need to rely on, which could potentially make or break your grade. Guaranteed, by the end of your uni life, you will agree that independent work is the best, the only person slacking, or taking on too much is yourself; which is easy to discipline.

But this is also the time where friendships and relationships aren’t as strong. This doesn’t mean you will fall out, but you’ll notice the distance grow on you. From personal experience, second year is like no man’s land, you’re kind of stuck in the middle, with not much in that academic year to be excited about.

On the other hand, more experience builds, and you subconsciously pick up loads of knowledge that you didn’t realise you had until it comes to applying for placement positions at different radio stations. My interviewing skills increased the more I had an audio-based assignment to complete, there is no better way to get better at it than to keep doing it, you know what sounds right and wrong; and how to draw emotion out of someone in a way that does not make the contributor uncomfortable.

My advice for anyone reading this about to go into second year is that this is the time you can learn from your mistakes, you’ve still got time to make everything right – and do not be so hard on yourself!

Third Year – A new, headstrong you

It’s always perceived as “scary” because of the D word – Dissertation, but it was my favourite year, purely because I had come far and took on more responsibilities that went towards my degree. I haven’t even got my results back yet, but after three years of having small panic moments every time  get a grade back, I’ve learned that with the right attitude to work and relevant experience, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get what you were hoping for.

Your dissertation is, in a way, enjoyable, you get to write about whatever you want! So stay motivated, otherwise it’ll show up on your paper that you’re not giving it your all. The same goes for the graduate project, you can interview whoever you get your hands on. Third year is all about what you can do after all these years.

Looking at the past year as a final student, I’ve found that you begin to look after yourself more, cherish your occasional nights out, and you look for more opportunities to build your CV. And don’t worry about not being offered a job straight after uni – it doesn’t work like that!

In short and based on what I’ve learned, if you’ve just finished uni, or about to go into your final year; my only advice would be to not worry about what comes next. There will always be someone who does better than you, even if you put in more effort. Train yourself up and make your CV the most impressive thing ever, it’s more of what you’ve done and your personality, than the mark

My name is Fleur Ostojak I’m a contributor for The National Student, daytime manager for Nerve Radio and am thoroughly interested in good stories, food, fitness, and anything that makes me laugh.

Fleur Ostojak – How I’m trying to get a job in radio after University.

May 3rd, 2017

If you’re reading this, then welcome to my journey of finding a job in radio after uni (I’m doing this to stop myself having a meltdown).

Let me give you a bit of background information on my radio career…

So, why did I choose to pay £27,000 to study a degree that many people never knew existed? It was a gut feeling actually, when I was back in sixth form a good 3 years ago flicking through a mountain of prospectus’, nothing appealed to me as much as radio.

I loved studying English literature, but didn’t feel like the passion was strong enough to study for three more years. Radio intrigued me because it always sounds like you’re having fun, and I love talking to people. Drama and theatre was one of my favourite subjects, but the breakthrough for actors can take an extremely long time for ‘the big break’. After several interviews at different universities, I was accepted by my first choice and started studying at Bournemouth University in 2014, so it was farewell to my hometown, Oxford, and down to the coast.

If I’m honest, I really don’t regret my choice in degree although the media industry is competitive and “dog-eat-dog”, I’ve met some inspirational people and received so many tips and advice about presenting and producing radio. I didn’t even know how to edit before I came here and three years on I’ve just submitted a graduate project which was 30 minutes long (which is a very long time for a radio piece!)

Since I’ve been at uni I forced myself to join the uni’s student radio station (Nerve Radio), because I knew that it would complement my work and it’s also a society to join. After all, that’s how Greg James got spotted on Radio 1.

When I started, I wanted to be a presenter just like my role model (who I still completely adore): Fearne Cotton. I have always had a co-host as my radio shows are usually on daytime with my course-mate, but I also do a show in the evening with my housemate. Last summer before my third year began I was asked to take on the role of Daytime Manager for Nerve, which has been a lot of responsibility, but given me many opportunities as a presenter and producer to help organise and present events.

Last year I was accepted to do a two week placement with a local BBC radio station. It was one of the most informative two weeks of my life! I was doing something different every day, and all the material I created was actually going towards the shows, which I never thought would happen. Each day I was helping a different apartment and kept emailing and going back during reading weeks at uni whenever I could to keep my foot in the door.

Around Christmas time I was asked to do a few paid broadcast assistant shifts which required me to get up at 3am to drive to the studios for 5:30 as it was not local. It felt amazing to have the responsibility to assist the producer for the breakfast show and definitely reminded me that this is what I want to do in life; producing has interested me a lot more than presenting, but I still love doing both.

Afterwards, I wanted to reach out to somewhere more local. I contacted a presenter I knew from a friend and I am still currently going back and helping that BBC radio station, which I am really excited about, and am so grateful that I can keep going back when I’m home.

One piece of advice I always tell myself in the hardest times of juggling volunteer work with actual uni work is that you always have to be willing to do stuff for free for a certain amount of time to show you’re loyal and mean it.

That’s everything about my radio career so far in a nutshell and after typing this out, I’m proud of the work I’ve done in and outside education, and I’m not planning on stopping any time soon. If you keep reading my blog posts, you can follow my journey with me!

My name is Fleur Ostojak, I’m a final year student studying radio at Bournemouth University. I’m a contributor for The National Student, daytime manager for Nerve Radio and am thoroughly interested in good stories, food, fitness, and anything that makes me laugh.

Craig Priest – First, You Must Jump

January 23rd, 2017

“In order to fly, first you must jump” is a quote I life by every single day.

In September 2009 I woke up one morning as your average 18 year old, bumbling through life enjoying going to football games with my friends – I went to sleep that very same night (actually it may well have been early the next morning) with a sudden hunger for Radio. Now I get up in a morning and six out of the seven days a week, I get to go and work in the industry and forge a career in the industry I randomly fell in love with.

Before that day I knew nothing about “the radio” other than it played music and sometimes had football commentary’s on! I don’t for a second claim to know all there is about the industry, but I do know that radio is far more than what I thought. It’s a magical world.

I guess you’re reading this because you have either been bitten by the bug or want to break into the industry – hopefully this can give you some tips and advice, like I say I’m no expert – I like you was once a novice, but since that magical night I’ve had a number of roles within the industry (from doing football commentary at Wembley Stadium to teaching youngsters the “art”) and so want to draw upon those experiences and pass them on.

My first advice to you is exactly the title of this blog “First, you must jump” – anyone who thinks they have the god given right to walk into a radio station and be an instant hit is both wrong and arrogant. Radio is a scary world which involves far more skill than people understand regardless of if that’s for a commercial outfit or an internet station with a handful of faithful listeners. The thing is, without taking a huge leap – we’ll never know what’s to come. I’m not the most confident person in the world, so actually the thought of sitting with a headset on having to relay what was happening to the audience – filled me with dread, and still does! But, the buzz is unbelievable.

I was fortunate that I was in the right place at the right time, and have been looked after since – and although it’s not been an easy ride, it’s now my career and (hopefully) will be forever. “being in the right place at the right time” however isn’t the way into the industry you have to find an opening which, is easier said than done – two things count here, your attitude when searching for the opening, and how hard you work once it comes.

I’ll be honest; I think you’ll find it hard to get a chance at a commercial station, especially one which is part of a group or network and especially if all you want to do is be a presenter. Go and learn your trade with a community station, a hospital station or even one that operates just online – there are loads out there.

Don’t just set your sights on one specific role such as Presenter, you’ll learn far more by working in production or news role which in the long term will make you understand the industry far more, pick up vital skills and make you more of an appeal to a station when that break does come.

Finally never stop learning and ALWAYS take on board the opinions and advice of other people. I’ve been in the industry now for the best part of eight years and I learn something new every day, you have too because radio is an industry which doesn’t stand still – the advice you get on using something or the way in which you deliver something, may sometimes come across as a criticism it’s REALLY important not to take it to heart, just build
on it.

As I say I’ve gone from football commentary and teaching kids, to presenting and producing on a commercial station and every day is a learning curve, every day is a leap of faith – it’s about enjoying the ride and making the best of it as you can. I’ve plenty of other stories I hope to share with you in the future, but for now – stick at it, don’t give up and every day, don’t forget that in order to fly, first you must jump.

Follow me on twitter @craigpriest14 or check out my personal blog at