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Ben Fletcher. Broadcast Journalist. talkSPORT

BE AVAILABLE

It’s amazing how many people don’t get opportunities simply by refusing certain shifts. Radio is a 24/7 medium and the work availability reflects that. If you’re looking for a way in, be that guy or girl who is happy to do the Saturday night shift, or who isn’t fazed by the early rise on a weekend. 

You don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing your hours when you’re new to the game, say yes to those opportunities that others say no to and you’ll soon reap the rewards. 4 years ago I was lucky to get a Saturday overnight gig once a month, I’m now on the breakfast show 5 days a week. Work/life balance is important, but you need the work to live the life.

THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SKIN A CAT

In the absence of on-air opportunities, consider the ‘back-door’ route of a production or online role. It will get you in the building, you can use your skills in a different but just as effective and valuable way, and you’ll extend your skillset. 

You’ll have no shortage of opportunities to do a demo, with access to studio space and microphones, and because you are already with the company and building up valuable experience, you’re more likely to be taken seriously. HOWEVER….don’t leave it too long or you risk being ‘pigeon holed’.

DON’T WAIT FOR THEM TO COME TO YOU

Be proactive in seeking opportunities. PDs and News Editors are notoriously busy and simply don’t have the resource to dedicate time to talent spotting or hunting broadcast journalists as much as they would like to. Master the art of knocking doors down without being a nuisance, have an up-to-date demo and CV ready to fire off via e-mail, and really do fire at will.  

Introduce yourself to people like my colleague David Spencer (www.spencermedia.co.uk) the ‘Media Mentor’ who specialises in helping budding broadcast journos make their break, by fine tuning their CV or demo and mentoring. 

BE HUMBLE

Just because you graduated from such and such university with such and such degree, or were the star of your particular student radio station, that doesn’t entitle you to your dream job straight away, and it certainly doesn’t make you more informed or qualified than potential paymasters or new colleagues.   

I’ve seen young graduates on work experience come into talkSPORT towers and alienate people by insisting they know better because they have a journalism degree and are fiercely proud of that fact. Of course your degree or training is fresh in your mind, and over your career will prove to be invaluable. 

But live radio, particularly news and sport, relies on far more than what we learned in the lecture theatre. The real lesson starts as soon as you enter the workplace and you are judged on your ability to react, adapt, and ultimately deliver.

BE YOURSELF

You have your own voice, use it. Sure, there are vocal techniques and styles that work and sound really good, but don’t try and forge a career copying someone else. A news editor or programme director is looking for somebody competent and who sounds authoritative, yes, but that doesn’t mean they want a carbon copy of another newsreader or on air presence. Leave the impressions and caricatures for the pub, and trust in your own unique style of broadcasting.

PIPS RADIO TRAINING

The Pips radio training sessions

  • How to create radio that is unique & STANDS OUT
  • What to put in your demo to increase your chances of being noticed
  • How to break into radio

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