Thursday, 17 May 2012

Olympic Torch Relay


This is an emergency post so please forgive me for it being short but hopefully that means it's to the point.

This weekend the Olympic Torch Relay begins its route throughout the Country. It's a huge event for media to reflect and cover, particularly local radio stations. 

Here at Heart Bristol & Somerset the plan is in place and we're ready to provide live coverage throughout the day as it travels from Taunton during morning rush hour through Somerset closing A roads to Bath City Centre where the one way system already confuses most locals never mind tourists and then taking over a busy commuter route into Bristol at 5.30pm when everyone leaves work. It's going to be very busy...and so is all the team to help cover this spectacular event. So like i predict many other local stations will, we could do with an extra pair of hands...

So if you're not planning on waving the flag and cheering as it goes through your town, maybe you'd like to be apart of making 2012 historic. Contact your local station today and just ask if they need some help. It could be a good foot in the door.

If you're in Bristol and want to offer your services email me:

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Do your research

The worst applications for jobs or work experience i have seen have been a result of poor or non-existent research.

You know what it's like when you have a conversation with someone you see everyday, say someone in the office who you always have a laugh with and get along with, and they get your name wrong or ask about that holiday you went on last year etc...Well applying for a job or work experience and getting the name wrong or company name wrong etc is just as demoralising for the person receiving your application.

Here's something i've recently seen myself: "With my demo I'll be sending you, would heart fm play a urban baseline show? As that's that's my strong point in music?"

Not only is the grammar and spelling awful, this person SHOULD already know what music the station plays.They should have listened to the station and they should explain WHY they would be perfect for the role.

It would be a good idea to search for the Company Objectives or their Mission Statement, then reference that in your covering letter to show that you understand the business and can talk about how your skills can contribute to this.

Doing the research tells the recipient that you are passionate about their business and keen to work for THEM specifically. Without doing your research will only make you look stupid and lazy -who wants to work with someone like that?

Monday, 12 March 2012

If you can't stand the heat...

I realised something the other day, it's such a simple analogy but i think it helps when thinking about starting, keeping, progressing and enjoying a career in radio. Particularly commercial radio.

I believe that being in the commercial radio industry is much like being in the catering industry. Although this only really came to light last week i guess i've had the thought for some time.

I have always wanted to be a Programme Controller, it's what i've always been working towards and i still strive to become one now. There's no right or wrong way to being a Programme Controller, there's no basic step by step guide book to follow in order to make a radio station a success. Each and every Programme Controller i've worked for has done it differently. They've had their own style and their own personal tastes (whether it be with music, presenters, management style etc). It was reading Gordon Ramsay's Humble Pie when i found a method that i, still to this day, believe will get me to that dream job of being a Programme Controller. Gordon Ramsay worked for years in many different kitchens. He always started at the bottom and worked his way up in that kitchen learning all the different roles and skills required from the entire team. As soon as that kitchen offered him the Head Chef job he moved on and did exactly the same working his way up. You see, being a Chef is very personal too. Again, there is no right or wrong way of doing it, no set path to follow or simple step by step guide to learn. Gordon Ramsay wanted to learn what all the different chefs around the world knew and then steal the best ideas to become a super chef. Makes sense to me. So i decided i'd take a similar approach to my career. If i could sit and watch the Programme Controllers i work for, think about the decision they make and learn about why and how they made that particular decision i could too learn from them all and then steal all their best ideas -Whilst also learning from their not so great ideas too. So i guess that's where i started thinking about this analogy.

Last week however i recognised some more strands to this analogy that can help us get to our dream jobs. Think about the very best chefs in the world. The ones you see on TV -Jamie Oliver, Marco Pierre White, Antony, forget that last one. They all check their plates before the waiter/waitress takes them to the customer...They taste every sauce, the seasoning, checking the temperature and consistency. They're not happy unless every piece is perfect, it's just like the best i've had the opportunity to work for and observe. Before it goes to air, check it, think about it, get every bit of detail just right. Taste! Taste! Taste!

Another way i think this analogy helps is when you're in the kitchen/live studio and the talent are working their magic. The last thing you want to do is get in their way, distract them from their art or hamper the show. Otherwise tempers may fly.
I was once working on a breakfast show when the boss walked in trying to help the presenters with a live read sheet they needed. It was the morning of a very big promotion that had to go right on the air and it was more confusing to execute than the usual, hence why the boss was in at 6am and helping with scrips etc. He came in and looked through the presenters prep sheets and added the script to their pile. When the presenter had turned around and realised he had simply put the new script on top of his prepared paper and put the pile back down on the desk at a slight 10degree angle to how they were originally he went berserk. Throwing all the paper over the studio, pushing his chair across the room, shouting abuse and screaming 'I've had enough!'. Luckily i was able to calm him down before the song ended and to the listener all was ok. But i learned a vital lesson that day -Tread carefully around the talent in the studio. They are concentrating on getting every piece of detail just right and sometimes when the heat is up the pressure can be too much for some people.

Are there any more comparisons to make? Feel free to email me your thoughts at

Finally, i leave you with this funny video of a broadcaster that can definitely stand the heat...The show must go on!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Sizzle not the Sausage

Incase you didn't know, i do a lot of production as my role at Heart Bristol & Somerset. Most of this is SPI promos -for competitions and alike with clients. I hear so many promos and commercials on the radio that forget the most important line i have ever been told...

"Sell the sizzle not the sausage"

Tell someone why this is so cool in a way that MEANS SOMETHING to them...Yeah the car has 4doors but why should i care? It's all about how easy it is to get all the kids and the shopping into the car at the Supermarket....Or if you're selling an engagement ring it's not about how big it is, it's the look she'll have on her face when you get down on one knee to pop the question.

Adverts that are the worst for not selling the sizzle always use cliches like...'But wait there's more'...'You won't believe it'...or 'for a limited time only'. It doesn't grab me, it means nothing to me. Be clear and honest and tell me the honest benefits.

Here's some adverts (albeit TV adverts) that have inspired me recently, i think these are literally the best examples of selling the sizzle i have recently seen/heard...

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The title says it all really.

When you're sending off a CV and Covering Letter think about how you come across to the person reading it. They haven't met you, they can only go on what you have written down.

You need to give a little personality for sure in fact i remember someone telling me about the best CV they ever recieved. They had discovered that he loved DVD's so they created a DVD with their CV on, it was in a DVD case with sleeve, front cover etc. He was so impressed that they had made the special effort just for him that he gave them the job. I'm not saying you should stalk the employer but do think about how your information comes across. The layout, the tone, the font etc.

But my biggest pet hate is unprofessional email addresses. I've just flicked through a couple of CV's sent in and i can't believe people have acutally included some of these email addresses. In fact 3 out of 7 of these CV's contain an email address i consider to be unprofessional.

Go with firstname.surname@.... And keep it clean and professional. They are free afterall so there's no excuse, if your address is inappropriate change it today.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Christmas Opportunities

The supermarkets have started to stock advent calendars and radio stations have already planned their Christmas schedule. Over the festive periods there's often opportunities to help out.

With skeleton staff in the station over the festive period there's a chance the Programme Controller is looking for someone to...
  • Tech Op shows
  • Look after music logs
  • Be on stand by for heavy snow or breaking news
  • Make the tea for the poor presenter who is stuck in on his own on Boxing Day
  • Produce ROT's
  • Load production for the New Year
Now is the time to get in touch, specifically mentioning your COMPLETE availability over Christmas (because you're so keen to work with them). Stress how local you are, how easy it would be for you to get in through ice and snow and that your are totally reliable.

Contact them today! And just incase you're yet feeling festive...

Friday, 9 September 2011

Where's something you made earlier?

One of the best things to improve your skills is to MAKE STUFF. Produce your own podcast, documentary, drama, vox pops, community/student radio -ANTYHING! Just produce stuff.

You only need a PC, Microphone, Audio Editing software and speakers. And some good ideas.

This will fuel a demo. Because there is absolutely no point meeting someone in radio for a job in radio without taking audio that you have produced. But don't just leave your work on a CD waiting for the next interview, get it online and share it to the world. It will help you network, you never know who might hear it but more importantly if you've put in alot of hard work to produce something you want as many people as possible to hear it. And it's great and invaluable to get feedback from people, without this you won't develop and improve.


I'm going to lead by example here;