December 29, 2016 by johnnyseifertradio
2016. The year that after ten years of work experience led to landing my dream radio job. But, before we get to that let me remind you of what had happened in 2015 found below:
On the 27th January 2016 I attended the RIG Masterclass session on pitching radio documentaries. When you continuously get rejections one starts to ask what is wrong with you? It was interesting to see very successful radio producers also getting their golden ideas ripped. But it is a learning curve. Every commissioner has their vision which is always going to be different to the next person. It was also a great place to network with radio professionals to keep those relationships alive.
It was on the 8th February when I went down to Clapham to interview the brilliant Miriam Margolyes for AudioBOOM. We started talking about the Real Marigold Hotel that she was promoting and went into experiences about growing up Jewish and how coming out as a lesbian affected her family. I was very proud that this article made The Independent and Pink News:
It was when I was on my way to the interview that I had seen article in RadioToday that said this brand new station called talkRADIO was launching. It had revealed its line up including Iain Lee one of my favourite radio presenters whom when he was on BBC Three Counties Radio I would wake up at 06:00 just to hear his first half an hour in his zoo format. Two days later, I was at Hatfields walking through a builders yard as talkSPORT Towers was soon to be home to three further radio stations in a months time. I walked into the boardroom and met the senior management team of talkRADIO and was petrified. However, I did not need to be as I was asked one question,”Take me through a couple of your highlights from your CV”. I suddenly sprung into Donald Trump action telling sensationalist anecdotes quicker then a Japenese bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka. I was hired then on the spot. However, this did mean I was not able to go into detail about my prepared segment called SouthBank Selfies whereby walkers on the Southbank had to describe a celebrity selfie…there is a TV format ready for ITV2 there! After confirming the following day that I was not dreaming and dad reminding me wait for the contract, wait for the contract I announced to the hospital, where I was working in admin, that I would be leaving and heading for pastures new…after a quick two week cruise around the caribbean.
On 1st March 2016 I joined talkRADIO as an assistant producer on the Breakfast show and over the past ten months I have developed my role into looking after the celebrity side of the Breakfast show alongside managing the diary and the daily features such as the Business Review and Paper Reviews. I get such a thrill speaking to celebrities and seeing the social media buzz around them that I am always thinking creatively of how we can take a celebrity and make a game out of a pun associated to them and how to draw people to our Twitter account. March 2016 was very much getting settled in and learning how the softwares work, I had never used Burli or Audacity before. It was also about teamwork developing a rapport to work with different peoples strengths and weaknesses. Essentially as an assistant producer you are the second ear for the producer thinking an hour ahead of what they are thinking to make sure they are ready for when they need to lead the orchestra into the next section of the show. My standout interview that I arranged for March was with Shaun Attwood who had been in America’s deadliest prison. I had heard his interview on a podcast and tracked him down. It was a great interview and gave an insight into a lifestyle that was alien to me and the average listener.
April and May 2016
April and May was very much a learning curve for me. It was week two in the station when we had the big Brussels incident that meant we started breaking the news as it happened. The adrenaline kicked in and as a team we all pulled together to get straight to the heart of the story speaking to people live in Brussels. It was also at a time where I had to start taking an interest in proper news. This sounds easy but I found it a challenge to begin with to understand Brexit which I thought was a cereal, this was until I was told to treat it like a reality tv show of two sides, kind of like Made in Chelsea Vs TOWIE. It was late May when I think I really made a mark on what I could do as an assistant producer on a national radio station. The annual British Soap Awards were taking place and and for a week on the show we celebrated every soap opera, one a day in the lead up. We were joined in the studio by cast members from Corrie, Emmerdale, Eastenders, Doctors and Hollyoaks. As a massive soap fan this was really exciting. Soap expert Sharon Marshall overtook quiz hosting duty for the week as we wanted to find out who knew most about their soap…luckily for me my favourite soap Hollyoaks won. We also paid tribute to Crossroads and Brookside that weren’t on anymore. I was really proud of this and until a month ago it was the highest viewed video on our Youtube channel.
It was June 2016 when I took an interest in touring theatre productions and made some strong network contacts in theatre PR agencies who have bought guests including Georgia May Foote, Warwick Davies, Matthew Kelly and Mr Tumbles to our door. As a national radio station I thought it was important to make sure that we are including the whole country and so I started keeping my eye out on tours that were travelling the country so that listeners would be interested and actually be able to see it.
July – September 2016
July to September I was working on my duty as a celebrity booker and bringing in six-ten celebrities a week to the show to promote TV programmes, books and tours who I was sourcing through my relationships with PR companies, scouring the TV guide daily and using specialist databases. As a massive Eastenders fan this has included interviews with Dirty Den Watts, Nasty Nick Cotton and Grant Mitchell.
I had secured an interview with Sir Roger Moore who was not doing many interviews. We had an extended interview with him and it was fascinating listening to Paul Ross and Sir Roger discuss his career. Furthermore, October was the first time I experienced the adrenalin of working the red carpet. I was stood at the Pride of Britain Awards 2016 with celebrities walking down the red carpet and coming over for an interview. I was really proud to interview James Arthur and gain soundbites from various celebrities which our news team could use in their showbiz bulletins over the coming weeks.
It was November when we got an interview with Candice Brown from the Great British Bake Off the morning after she won. GBBO had ten episodes of which nine were the most watched this year. The GBBO final was the most watched TV show in four years since the Olympics 2012 so I was really pleased when I secured an interview.
In December 2016 I set myself a panto challenge. Everyday for the month of December we had a different celebrity on the show each day talking about starring in panto. Celebrities ranged from Maureen Lipman to Chesney Hawkes and from Linda Lusardi to Tim Vine. With the curse of 2016 , the American election and Brexit this month was my favourite with lightness and laughter as every celebrity put you in a good mood ready for the festive period.
What is next in 2017?
My new years resolution is to stop just reading headlines and asking a question to spark a conversation and instead really start debating about political matters and forming an opinion on the latest Farage comments for example. I love working at talkRADIO. It is the perfect station for me and the perfect job. I couldn’t ask for a better team. Alex Farrell and Paul Ross have been the best teachers I could have asked for teaching me literally how to walk and I am excited to continue my work with them.
All that is left to say is Happy New Year