HOW TO GET INTO RADIO!
The GoThinkBig team are the PLUG when it comes to providing inspirational events for young people aged 16-24.
On Monday 26th March 2018, I had the pleasure of interviewing an all-star panel featuring BBC 1XTRA's DJ Ace and Reece Parkinson, Ronnie from Transmission Roundhouse, and Radio X's Ross Buchanan.
With over 200 young people packed into Hackney House, Curtain Rd, I had the best time jumping between my guests on stage and my guests in the audience to bring to life the do's and dont's of How To Get Into Radio.
The panel spilled gems from start to finish and so here are just a few for your notebooks...
BBC 1XTRA's DJ ACE
I have to confess: I was slyly gassed to be sitting next to DJ Ace as he's a legend in the game.
I first met Ace at the Midnight Madness Finals Night 2015 and I can still remember how his set had the entire crowd out of their seats across the Olympic Copperbox Arena. Now, there are lots of talented DJs, but a DJ who can bring a DUNK COMPETITION to life is a whole new 'ball' game!
I could have listened to DJ Ace speak about his journey all evening, and after hearing him share his story, here are the two gems that stuck with me:
1. DO A DEMO
In an industry saturated with talent, having a demo or showreel to display all your best content is a great way to stand out and be seen. Radio demos and presenter showreels should be short and sweet (DJ Ace suggested packaging all your radio highlights into a 3 minute demo) giving your audience and potential employers a flavour of who you are and what you do.
2. BEG IT
It's not always cool to look like a beg. However, in a world where experience is key, DJ Ace recommended remaining approachable and taking the opportunity to learn from someone whenever the opportunity arises. I love Ace for his humility, and this particular piece of advice resonated with the room. After listening to Ace crush this 'begging it attitude', so many people came up during the feedback session to thank him for his honesty and shared of their determination to send that email they had been too shy to send before!
BBC 1XTRA's REECE PARKINSON
A real highlight of my night was meeting Reece Parkinson - he's GOOD PEOPLES!
From radio, podcasts, YouTube to securing his own iconic pose, Reece is a man of many talents and left the room buzzing with advice, including these top two tips:
1. EXPERIENCE PAYS
Some jobs pay in pounds and others pay in experience. Whilst we all have bills to cover, don't look down on the chance to take on some work experience/an internship/a voluntary role that will prove its worth in the skills you learn rather than the coins you earn. (I've got bars for days - my mixtape is coming soon, lol) It's also worth mentioning here that Ronnie said she learnt some of her best skills whilst working for free!
2. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING
There was a really sweet moment at one point when Reece picked up the mic to answer a question about diversity in the workplace. If you didn't know, GoThinkBig has gone global, and with creatives in the audience from all over the world, lots of young people came forward and shared of how their gorgeous accents can sometimes be a barrier between them and a job in radio. "Your voice should never stop you from doing what you want to do," Reece said. "I am a strong believer that you can do anything, and your accent should never hold you back." Of course, the room "awwwwww'd" unanimously as it's always refreshing to remember the importance of believing in yourself and taking pride in where you are from.
TRANSMISSION ROUNDHOUSE'S RONNIE
Firstly, Ronnie is a babe and has inspirational stories for DAYS.
From starting out in radio making teas and coffees to now hosting her own show on Transmission Roundhouse, Ronnie came dripping in wisdom for people wanting to start out in the industry. Here's some of her advice:
1. COME WITH IDEAS
Ronnie's passion for radio is infectious and I always love hearing her speak about her heavyweight gem concerning the importance of attending interviews with ideas for the radio company you wish to work for. Companies LOVE ideas - it shows you know the brand and vibe of the station well - and so this is a great way to smash an interview and be remembered.
2. OWN YOUR NICHÉ
A young lady asked this brilliant question: "I love underground Drum&Bass, but I am not sure if it'd be worth starting a new radio station to play all the music I love to listen to. I have a small following, but with so many stations out already, is it worth me launching my own platform?" In response, Ronnie's first word was a triumphant, "YES!" This lady's face lit up as she listened to Ronnie explain the value in owning your niché and providing a platform for others to enjoy the same sounds too. It was really good to hear Ronnie mention that despite the number of radio stations out there are at the moment, there is no harm in creating your own as your personality and perspective will always add a fresh touch to something done before.
RADIO X's ROSS BUCHANAN
Ross is a real sweetheart and added a heap of honesty to the night! As well as leaving us laughing with all his incredible stories, Ross did a great job of using his experience to offer advice to those needing some direction when adventuring into the world of radio...
1. DON'T STRESS ABOUT BEING SHY
The audience fell in love with Ross the moment he shared about his struggle with anxiety. Although starting out really confident, Ross spoke about dealing with feeling anxious later on in his career - a solid truth that dispels the myth of 'nerves never go away'! The entire audience sighed with relief as we listened to Ross share of how it's okay to be shy. "Shy people are cool," he said. "They don't talk too much!"
2. KNOW YOUR WORTH & STAY BUSY
It's always good when your panellists differ in opinion and so it was great that Ross had a different say on the topic of working for free. Whilst agreeing with Reece that some jobs will pay in experience, Ross stressed the importance of not being mugged off and working out your value. It was really interesting to hear him describe how he stays busy and divides up his time - from arranging meetings to going to gigs, his discipline and work ethic ensures he's on top form to nail his show on Radio X.
Thank you to everyone who hung out with us last Monday - please feel free to share your feedback and the gems you grabbed from these guys in the comments below.
GoThinkBig, thank you for having me host (and freestyle!) - I love you all very much!
Don't forget! The GoThinkBig team will be back on Saturday 14th April with their next event - #SpringForward featuring Professor Green! Save the date and cop your ticket - this is one not to be missed.