Radio is a very exciting world to work in but also a very difficult industry to get into, so here are a few general tips to help you try to take the next step forward :
The very first tip to getting into radio is fairly simple but difficult to follow sometimes, NEVER GIVE UP!. Sometimes getting into radio is all about being in the right place at the right time, your letter or email reaching the right person at the precise moment they are looking for something you can offer, and that can only happen if you keep trying. Persistence mixed in with a bit of luck may bring you an opportunity, and that’s when you need the talent to make the most of that opportunity.
Try and do one constructive thing a day to help you make that next step. It could be anything from writing a letter to your local radio station offering help in any capacity, to searching for contacts to write to or just simply re-doing your CV. If you can get into a habit of doing something everyday, then you simply increase the chances of progressing.
Try all radio stations, don’t just try your local radio stations. A foot in the doorway is a foot in the doorway, regardless of where it is. And keep trying the same people on a regular basis. All programme controllers are extremely busy, so keep trying but don’t become a nuisance. If you have sent a letter/email already to a person, and they haven’t replied, wait a couple of months and try again.
Do cold call, don’t just wait for a job advertisement to write to a radio station, do it anyhow. If your work is good enough to catch their eye, they will get in touch. And if you are sending a demo of your work with a letter/email, then ask for feedback. It is always good to get another person’s opinion of your work, especially if they work in radio. If you do get feedback, then you can take on board what they have told you, and in turn send them a new demo that has incorporated what you have been told and again, you can ask them for more feedback. You can then hopefully start to build up some kind of “work relationship”. But don’t be a nuisance. Bide your time.
If you are contacting a radio station, either via letter or email, take time to make sure you can find the name of the person you wish to contact. Obviously if you are applying for an advertised job, then you will know the name of the person, but if you are “cold calling” and sending a letter /email they are not expecting, then do your homework. If this means that you need to call up the radio station and ask, then do so. It looks far more professional and shows you have done your research.
Don’t get downhearted. Getting into radio is not easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it. But if you want it badly enough, you will get it. You may have heard that before and be fed up of hearing it, but it is true. You will get a lot of negative responses from your letters and emails and indeed, sometimes you won't get a response at all. Radio is all about opinions and opinions can be wrong. One good tip to remain upbeat and mentally strong is to add every person who has rejected your offer of help or employment to a list of people that you wish to prove wrong.
Be prepared to change your occupational goals to get a foot in the door. Lots of broadcasting professionals have started out doing something completely different to what they wanted to do, and ultimately ended up doing. A foot in the door is a foot in the door and once you have that, then you can start to try and achieve your broadcasting ambitions. Nothing beats working in and around the broadcasting industry. You will learn and experience so much more and you may learn of a job opportunity far sooner.
Volunteer to help. You cannot beat that extra bit of experience that you can add to your CV that may set you apart from somebody else. Getting experience onto your CV that a programme controller can see if you apply for a job is vital. It not only shows how determined and ambitious you are, but it also shows that you have some knowledge and experience which is far better than none at all. That’s why working at Hospital/Student/Community radio stations is considered to be the natural way into broadcasting. It's all about gaining experience.
The Pips is an amazing service! The feedback I received was so incredibly helpful and I almost certainly believe that the advice I have received has contributed towards where I am today and where I’m heading in the future.Glen Scott. KMFM