Get a job in radio

Radio presenters in the 1930s

Last updated: 05 February 2009

Putting yourself on the road to becoming a broadcaster can be more than a little daunting, writes Tim Clark.

First you have to figure out who you want to be, what you like to do, and then find someone who thinks that you've got what it takes to make it. All before you've stepped up to the mic with the all important words, 'Good evening ladies and gentlemen'.

Whether you keen on specialist music, a great entertainer, or just love the sound of your own voice, the starting point is gaining confidence and experience. It's also useful to remember that everyone had to start somewhere.

Radio 1's Huw Stephens recalls his first experiences: "I remember listening to shows on different stations when I was growing up and thinking that it was the most exciting thing ever. I did some demo tapes at home with two cassette players and a vinyl copy of Now 18 with Tina Turner on it. Horrendous, but it gave me the spark to want to carry on."

I did some demo tapes at home with two cassette players and a vinyl copy of Now 18 with Tina Turner on it. Horrendous, but it gave me the spark to want to carry on.

Huw Stephens, Radio 1

"The first Radio 1 shows I did were nerve-racking - depping for Steve Lamacq and Zane Lowe, and knowing that John Peel was on air straight after was scary," he says. "Going on air generally can still be pretty frightening, but you just get on with it in the end. When people say, 'there are so-and-so thousands or millions listening right now', that really freaks me out."

His co-presenter Bethan Elfyn's route into radio was similar. "My interest in broadcasting really came from my interest in music. In college I started writing music reviews for the student paper, then got involved with the student radio, and my passion for what was going on around me really pushed me on.

"I loved interviewing the up-and-coming Welsh bands around at the time - it was particularly exciting with Catatonia, Manics, Gorky's, 60ft Dolls and Super Furry Animals really kicking off at the beginning of the 90s."

Luckily, getting into a studio can be easier than it sounds. University, hospital, and community radio stations all run on a voluntary basis, and are a good starting point for DJs, producers and researchers.

Almost a third of Radio 1's staff come from a student radio or hospital radio background. "I started in hospital radio in Cardiff," says Huw. "I helped out on a show, put the records in the library back into their sleeves, and then got my own show.

"There, I learnt the general use of a studio, presenting, and studio technique. So go and hassle your local hospital radio, even if they seem really uninterested at first. Prove to them you really want to do it."


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