How to become a TV and radio presenter: Katie Thistleton's story

Meet Katie and find out about her life as a TV and radio presenter. Katie presents a radio show called Life Hacks on BBC Radio 1. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

I basically talk for a living.

  • Katie is a radio presenter for Life Hacks on BBC Radio 1. On her show, she talks about various issues that are affecting young people, such as social action and mental health

  • Writing has always been something that appealed to Katie and she channeled her interest into a course in Journalism. Once working in journalism, she switched to broadcasting which she thoroughly enjoyed. When a presenting job came up, she went for it and made the step to a TV/radio presenter

  • It might be surprising but "I was always shy at school", Katie admits. Her advice to those like her at school is to "just go for it!". She suggests pushing yourself, to step out of your comfort zone, put your hand up in class, make yourself heard and hopefully your confidence will grow

  • If you're interested in a career as a presenter, Katie's top tip is to get as much work experience as possible, start working behind the scenes and get a really good knowledge of what's going on.

What to expect if you want to be a radio presenter

  • Radio presenter salary: Variable. You may be self-employed/freelance
  • Radio presenter working hours: 45 to 47 hours per week. You may work evenings and weekends
  • Typical entry requirements: You can get into radio presenting through a college course, by volunteering, applying directly, or through specialist training courses.
    You could attend college to learn skills in using sampling equipment, mixers, digital controllers and decks. Courses include a Level 2 Certificate in Music Technology, Level 2 Certificate in Radio or Level 3 Diploma in Creative and Digital Media. You may need two or more GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a Level 2 course or four or five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 for a Level 3 course.
    You can get experience and build contacts, by working on student, community or hospital radio stations, or working as a DJ on an internet radio station. You can also find work experience placements through the BBC Work Experience Scheme, or by contacting broadcasters to ask about opportunities. The Radiocentre can help you find commercial radio stations.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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