2015: My Year in The Radio Industry

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December 20, 2015 by johnnyseifertradio

 

In the summer of 2014 I graduated with a First Class honours degree in Media and Communications (Radio) from Birmingham City University.

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This led to being nominated for Best Journalistic Programming and the Kevin Greening Creativity Award at the Student Radio Awards 2014 and the Midland Media Award for Culture 2015. After graduating I was unemployed looking for a freelance job in the industry I love so much, the radio industry. I spoke about my year then here:

 

https://johnnyseifertradio.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/2014-my-year-in-the-radio-industry/

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A Message of Thanks

 

Like last year there are certain people I want to thank for their help, encouragement and motivation in helping me transferring from a little fish in a big pond to becoming a big fish in a little pond. These are:

 

David Marsland- News Editor of AudioBoom
Gloria Abramoff- Ex-CEO of the Radio Academy
Paul Sylvester- PD of Absolute Radio
James Rea- Editor of LBC
David Lloyd- Content and Operation Director of Orion Media
Larry Glifford- Radio Consultant
John Myers- Chairman of the Radio Academy

Rhys Hughes- BBC Radio 1 Commissioner
Aled Hayden-Jones- BBC Radio1 Editor
Mo Bakaya- BBC Radio 4 Commissioner
David Prest- Whistledown Productions
Tom Campbell- Heart FM North East presenter
James Barr and John Isherwood- Heat Radio presenters
James Cridland- Radio Futurologist

Louise Hulland- BBC Local Radio

 

 

 

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January 5th- I Started At AudioBoom

 

On January 5th 2015 I joined AudioBoom as a freelancer entertainment news reporter. This led to hosting and producing my own strand called ‘This is My Boom’ looking at real life issues that effect celebrities (Visit Investigative Journalism). Whilst at AudioBoom over the past year, I have learnt how to blog with Gifs and audio exerts for reporting on the latest gossip on reality shows such as Big Brother and The X Factor. These reports were structured in a BuzzFeed style which is how online blogs and news pages are now being reported on as seen with changes at Newsbeat’s online structure. I also learnt about structuring news bulletin in their specific in-house style as packages with embedded clips and how that compares to other audio and non-audio outlets. Furthermore, I have learnt about industry standards of pitching radio documentary ideas which I now know is not a five minute powerpoint pitch but instead a 250 word summary. This role was also my first as a freelancer where I have invoiced my work and had the stability as well instability in this role. Whilst all my friends have gone to be accountants and teachers with Christmas parties, social events and their own desk I have had to learn to get used to coming into an office environment finding a spare desk, doing my work then leaving again. The benefit of this is that I do not get drawn into any office politics as I have only got responsibility to the role that I am employed to do. Also in January had a meeting with Dick Stones at Smooth Radio. I had a meeting with Luis Clarke head of the Heart Fm network. I auditioned for Celebrity Squares and had an interview as a music programmer for Amurrco.

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February 25th- The Student Radio Training Day 2015

This was the fourth training day held by The Student Radio Association that I have attended. At this session I learnt from Tom Swarbrick, LBC about to take a news story and give it an online outreach with the use of pictures, the way that Twitter is used to follow a story and how a news report is structured on location to feed back into a live show on LBC. Also in February I interviewed Dee White from Benefit Street about having depression, the first interview for This Is My Boom. I started listening to the Out Of Date podcast.

 

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March 18th 2015- Rethink Media

RethinkMedia2015 is the third Rethink Media conference I have attended. There are various reasons why I travel up to Birmingham each year for this event:

– Networking with professionals and keeping relationships

-Learning from the best in other media strands and relating it back to radio

– Keeping up to date with media industry news

– Catching up with the staff at BCU where the event is held and to reflect on what I have learnt

– Be inspired for future blog posts

You can read about the event and what I learnt in my blog that I posted in March here which I related to podcasts:

https://johnnyseifertradio.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/rethinkmedia15-short-form-podcasts/

Also in March I had a meeting at On Air Broadcast Consultants, I was on a panel to talk about grassroot radio projects at the RoundHouse representing Podium.Me. I had my first audition for Humble Pie (that I filmed in July). I sat in on Shelagh Fogarty’s LBC show.

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April 13th 2015- Meeting with Paul Bradshaw

A little meeting at Victoria station in Starbucks led to learning so much about how to view statistics in the news and curate a news angle to facilitate a news story. Paul is a master of this. His knowledge has led to successful books and teaching the next generation in London and in the Midlands. We also had a very long discussion about podcasts. This year I have really taken an interest in podcasts and their trends both here in the UK and over in the USA through NPR. Along with Serial podcasts such as; Answer Me This, Freakonomics, Invisibilia and My Dad Wrote a Porno are fascinating to discuss as they all target different audiences yet they are all entering the iTunes Podcast chart. Also in the podcast category are radio station in-house produced podcasts such as Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4, Make Me Human on BBC Radio 2 , A Little Bit Extra and Mystery Hour on LBC. I am interested here about why they are successful and why radio stations such as BBC Radio 1 are only doing podcasts on highlights of shows such as Scott Mills ‘Daily’ and Greg James ‘Thats What She Said’.  Also in April I attended and was nominated for Culture at the Midland Media Awards 2015. I had an interview as a Sales Co-ordinator at Bauer Media.

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May 6th 2015- Paul Sylvester- Absolute Radio

 

I have so much admiration and respect for Paul. Paul really helped me half way through the year see the bigger picture in what I want to make of myself in there radio industry. Whilst it is fine that I love entertainment news and trashy TV but as we look around really there are only a few entertainmetn reporters. Richard Arnold for ITV, Kevin Hughes for Global Radio and Nesta McGregor for BBC Radio 1. That is not a lot! So he taught me to play to my strengths in real life issues which led me to shadowing at Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 as well as my strand This Is My Boom at AudioBoom. Consequently to this, I have been developing different documentary idea to independent radio production companies and learning about how pitches work and the do’s and dont’s. Also in May I had a meeting with James Whalley at INRIX to do the travel news bulletins for local BBC radio stations and LBC.

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June 25th- James Rea- LBC

James Rea is a role model to anyone who carries out an internship in the radio industry. As discussed in John Myers ‘Team Its Only Radio’ book, James would be AWOL in radio station offices for hours at a time during his work experience placements. This was because he was travelling and finding news stories to prove his worth rather then waiting for a news story to land on his lap from his supervisor. LBC Have had a fantastic year since going national and really are Leading Britain’s Conversation.Mystery Hour on James O’Briens Show continues to be THE radio highlight of my week, whilst you have found the perfect balance of lightness and cheekiness in Steve Allen on his ‘Little Bit Extra Podcasts’ where I now even find myself referring to Cheryl FV as Cheryl SpagBol. Nick Ferrari is continuing to set the day’s agenda in print, online and on social media with his impressive interview technique to get those stories with guests including Natalie Bennett from the Green Party. Finally, what can we say about Iain Dale who has had some great debates this year over homophobia and the taxi row and continuing to being an asset for the drive-time radio audience. Meeting James and consequently Chris Lowrie led me to covering two shifts as an assistant producer at LBC on Shelagh Fogarty’s show in July 2015. Also in June I interviewed Kellie Maloney about being transgender for This Is My Boom on AudioBoom.I filmed a pilot called ‘What Side Are You On’ and I sat in on Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio show.

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July 17th- Working at LBC

With the help of Rosie Wright and Rachel Humphrey’s I was able to assistant the production in screening callers for Shelagh’s show. I learnt new production skills in:

-EPG listings for the hour
-Using PhoneBox4 to screen callers and put through to the studio
-Uploading radio shows for listen again purposes
-Tea making Skills

I had a fantastic time learning and watching. The hour clocks are so important for shows on LBC to make sure there are continuos callers at the ready be it a positive or negative listener or an authoritative figure that can steer the conversation. All are important in helping the presenter anchor the show and follow through a question with different pathways that can be explored. I had seen Shelagh at work in April when I came as a guest on her lunchtime show as a representative from Podium.Me to watch with her something that was happening to do with budgets in Parliament. Her knowledge on politics is fantastic. Her knowledge on the news is fantastic. SHELAGH FOGARTY IS FANTASTIC! Also in July I interviewed Jonathan Benjamin who tried to commit suicide as well as Chelsea Jay, a disabled model for This Is My Boom. I looked at doing a collaborative podcast with ex-Apprentice winner Tom Pellerau. 

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August 24th- CBBC Is 30

In September of this year, CBBC turned 30 years old. As soon as I saw the press release I was on the phone to AudioBoom praying they would commission myself to produce a documentary for them that can be found here:

 

https://johnnyseifertradio.wordpress.com/2015/09/09/cbbcis30/

 

I set myself a challenge. I bought together sixteen presenters from the 80s, 90s and 00’s together to discuss the golden era of CBBC. The test that I had was negotiating with agents to book interviews times and to make sure that I had the documentary finished within the three weeks between the press release and the actual event. The documentary was a success. It got really good hits and I received some very nice messages from ex-CBBC presenters to say how much they enjoyed listening to it. Also in August I went on holiday and found out two LBC podcasts,  A Little Bit Extra with Steve Allen and James O’Briens Mystery Hour that make my day and week respectively.

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September 29th- The Radio Festival

 

I was a volunteer at the Radio Festival organised by the Radio Academy in September. The benefit of this was that I was able to mingle backstage in the green room and network with fellow presenters. It also meant I could attend the event. The event was fantastic. From Jamie Cullum performing to hearing Paul Gambaccini’s personal story about being under Operation Yewtree to seeing Zane Lowe back in the UK it was an event I can not wait to return to next year. The blog that I wrote after this was all about how BBC Radio 1 will celebrate their 50th birthday next year as seen below:

 

https://johnnyseifertradio.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/sevens-steps-for-bbc-radio-1-to-celebrate-their-50th-birthday/

Also in September I attended a RIG masterclass in American podcasting.

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October 19th- Hollyoaks Turns 20

I took the knowledge and experiences that I had gone through in August to produce a documentary about Hollyoaks turning 20 years old focussing on the sensationalist storylines that have taken place. Again I had to go through various agents and lease with the PR team at Hollyoaks to secure interviews. It was interesting again to celebrate a birthday of an event but go through the creative process of creating a storyline arc which I did not find until all the interviews were recorded and it was my narration that would tell the story. The documentary can be listened to here:

 

https://johnnyseifertradio.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/hollyoaks20years/

Also in October I watched ex-BBC Three Counties Breakfast host Iain Lee talk about his hilarious radio career (#BringIainLeeBack). I started listening to Jeremy Vine ‘Being Human’ and BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Disc podcasts.

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November 19th- Aled Hayden Jones, BBC Radio 1

 

It is almost impossible to get a meeting at BBC Radio 1. However, I was fortunate enough to get one with Aled. After listening to Aled on the radio for nine years as the producer of Chris Moyles breakfast show I was scared, nervous and excited to actually meet him. Aled was so nice and made me feel at ease as I pitched my radio idea to him. It is the first time I pitched a radio show idea and I went through the what,why, when and how scenarios which helped give me a structure to the pitch that meant I could be confident with what I was saying. I look forward to seeing how the idea is developed and working hopefully on Radio 1 to bring on air in 2016. Also in November I attended the RAIN Summit at the British Institute. Chris Moyles read my tweet out on air and recognised who I was. I started listening to My Dad wrote a Porno podcast. I met Gloria Abramoff, CEO of the Radio Academy. This led to meeting Mohit Bakaya, BBC Radio 4 commissioner as well as speaking to Roger Cutsforth- John Dash- Aaron McCarter to join as one of the volunteers to help out at the London branch of the Radio Academy. 

 

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December 20th- Reflection

As I reflect on my first year since graduation I feel humbled and appreciate all the opportunities that have come my way. I have a long way to go before I am accepted and taken seriously in the radio industry but I would like to think I am doing all the right things and meeting the right people to start the networking process to getting to be where I want to be. As we enter 2016 I will still be at AudioBoom one day a week a week working four days as an administrator for the Mental Health. In addition, I look forward to working for the London branch of the Radio Academy under John Dash and Aaron McCarter and hopefully at some point my days in the radio industry will increase as more doors are opened , as I attend more conferences and through meeting the right people hopefully the biggest factor will happen- luck.

 

Thank you for reading my review.

I want to wish you all a very merry christmas and a happy new year

Johnny
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