Foot In The Door

You're doing well if you get this far

 This is a Training Zone post. For the main radio blog click here»

So – you want to be a radio journalist? Really?

During 2010 dozens of radio journalists in the commercial sector lost their jobs as the sector continued to consolidate. That means those journalists were on the jobs market, chasing the same vacancies as you. That means that when you’re applying for jobs or placements you need to stand out more than ever before.

So, how to do it? Well, there are no right and wrong answers to this – and you should be prepared to be rejected, or even ignored, many times! But don’t be downhearted. Radio’s an incredibly competitive industry and there are several ways of getting noticed.

Have a good demo. A CV will tell the news editor many things about what you can do on paper, but how you sound on air is probably more important.

Keep it simple. Unless specifically asked, include a short news bulletin on your MP3/CD and once piece of work you’re really proud of. 5 minutes max. 

Know your market. Listen to the radio station before you ask them for a job. Awareness of the style and output will pay benefits later on. 

Know your boss. Research the news editor or programme controller in advance. Their name may be online – and you may pick up some interesting facts. 

Respect deadlines. Prioritise which stations/groups you are going to target first and sign up to as many job alerts as you can 

Save time. For commercial radio, check out the name of the group editor or controller rather than making multiple applications. 

Have ideas. If you land a work placement, come ready armed with stories relevant to the station and the target audience. 

Ask questions. There’s no substitute for enthusiasm in the newsroom. Get to know how things work – experiment with the editing system if you can. 

Don’t be used. If your placement leads to further offers of work, make sure you get paid for it. Even in today’s tough times, you should aim for at least £60 per eight hour shift.

Have fun! Radio is still the most exciting and direct medium you can work in. Say it with a smile and you’ll be fine.

 © NewsMutt 2011

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