From student radio to national radio: Communicorp UK Next Generation Programme

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to work in radio. As a little kid I would record my own radio show on my tape recorder, blasting out the latest S Club 7 track and getting my friends to pretend to be popstars so that I could interview them. Fast forward to that all important decision of what you want to study at university and I found my ideal course at Nottingham Trent, Broadcast Journalism. Here, I learnt everything I needed if I wanted to become a radio or television journalist. I also quickly signed up to the student radio station, Fly FM where I presented a two hour breakfast show once a week. However, as I entered my final year of study I realised I no longer wanted to be a journalist and was spending more time at Fly FM than I was on my degree. I enjoyed presenting and producing commercial radio, rather than finding news stories to report on and so before I left university, I wanted to know that this was definitely something I wanted to pursue because, unfortunately, it seems working in radio is exactly what everyone else wants to do to. 

As part of the Student Radio Association, I receive regular updates from them on Facebook, one of which told me about Communicorp UK’s Next Generation Programme that was giving budding radio professionals the chance to spend a day in the industry. An opportunity not to be missed, I thought. I emailed over a little bit about myself and why I wanted to take part in the programme and it wasn’t long before I heard back from Paul Emmines, programme controller at Smooth East Midlands offering me a day with the team at Smooth. 

Before long, the day had arrived. Luckily the studios were only a ten minute walk from where I lived, so I packed up a small bag with a notepad and pen (Always important) and made my way there. The nerves began to set in as I stepped in the elevator and climbed up to the top of the building but these were quickly quashed as I was greeted by Paul and introduced to the Smooth team and received potentially one of the warmest welcomes I’ve ever had. 

I was there from 10am-5pm and got to experience a taste of all parts of what it takes for a radio station to work, and not just the presenting. I had the opportunity to sit in on both the Breakfast and Drivetime shows, spend some time with the marketing and promotions team and even got to try my hand at writing some advertising for radio, which was a lot trickier than I thought it would be. To be able to experience all elements of a successful radio station was highly informative, especially when the team were all so friendly too. I wanted to take part in the Next Generation programme to solidify the idea that I wanted to work in radio, and the day at Smooth most certainly proved that for me. For anyone also interested in a career in radio, or any platform of media, I would encourage as much involvement with the industry as possible, as there are opportunities out there if you search for them. Working in radio or TV sometimes has a bad rep for being snooty and unapproachable, but taking part in the Next Generation programme and spending a day at Smooth East Midlands proved that simply isn’t the case.

Photo Credit: laffy4k via Compfight cc

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Jess Lloyd

21 year old from the south of england whose just finished a degree in Broadcast Journalism at Nottingham Trent University. I love all things radio, film and music!

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