Three Months At Heart

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

So a quarter of the year has passed since I started working at Heart. Phew those three months didn’t feel that long.

I realised this bank holiday weekend I’d spent far too much time flicking through different mixclouds, soundclouds and blogs to not prompt myself to do a bit of a recap on how things were going.

On Friday I presented and produced my first Nightly News programme for Heart Cornwall which was exciting but stressful. I accidently missed lunch during my shift because I wanted to make sure the programme all came together ok while doing bulletins every half hour.

I reckon it’s pretty decent for a first attempt. Admittedly I had some help with pre-planned packages and there are some things I would have liked to have tidied up in editing had it not been for me cutting it so fine.

Heart Cornwall's Nightly News - August 22nd 2014 by Charlotte Gay on Mixcloud


As part of my roundup I’ve stitched together my best reporting bits from June to August, so these are the more substantial stories that have been made into packages rather than just cut twice for the bulletins.

Highlights: Heart News June-August 2014 by Charlotte Gay on Mixcloud

 

New job. A ‘real’ one.

Global_heart header

Wow. I am about to start an actual real* job.

As of the beginning of June I will be a broadcast journalist for Heart’s Bristol newsroom hub! This means I’ll be mostly driving around Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall –  only now I’ll be in a company car which means pulling into a fuel station would not teeter me into a spiral of depression with the price of fuel.

I’m fortunate enough to have a few friends knocking about in Bristol, and now with my home and family included in the patch, it should be a much more steady place to bed down and actually get to properly get to know the area I am reporting on properly.

It’s looking like I will be mainly be doing the reporter role, getting me out and about a lot, but also room for shift switching doing some bulletin reading, plus something I am particularly excited about… Heart Cornwall’s new evening news programme. I will hopefully explain more of this in due course.

This all said I am going to miss living in Bournemouth, the friends who will still be here, and some of the places I have worked. The last four years have been spent living on the gorgeous south coast but I’m not down for settling just yet so this time was always going to come.

For now I am doing my last freelance shifts, and saying my goodbyes – but don’t worry I’m going to be back for BU’s  Summer Ball!

 

*Full time. I say real because the amount of times people would look at me like I was living on the dole when I told them I was a freelancer was getting tiring.

Treading Lightly into the Voice-Over World

voice over gravy for the brain mango pie media

I’m someone who likes to use their voice. This might be an obvious statement  with the radio work that I do, but voice-over work has only ever been on the edge of things I’ve been involved with.

So when I saw Gravy for the Brain were offering a discount on Groupon for their Beginners Voice-Over Course, it seemed silly not to take the opportunity to get started especially as it tickled my frugal nature.

The course itself was a good foothold on getting the basics down yet I am glad I didn’t pay the full amount as my radio work meant I already had a lot of groundwork covered.

For me, the best bits of this course were the warming up breathing techniques, the PAAD character development rule, and sadly the hydration advice – which means I should drink much less milky tea!

I’ve officially finished the course – with a shiny certificate to prove it!

gravy for the brain certificate

 

The resources with the course should prove useful, especially the sample contracts as today I went to Mango Pie Media to record my first voice-over showreel.

When I got into the recording booth, I suddenly started to worry that I would slip back into my newsy mode. I knew I could do it but if you’re used to presenting radio shows with only bulletin points, when I read from scripts it’s nearly always for a news bulletin. It’s a habit I needed to work out.

Fortunately, when working with Tristan at Mango-Pie Media, he made it very easy for me to get better with each new take, finding ways to make me turn from newsreader to commercial radio/tv voice-over lady.

It’s ad-hoc work, so no guarantee I’ll be shouting about my first radio advert in the next couple weeks but fingers crossed I’ll be treading lightly into the world of voice-over.

 

Freelancing: feast versus famine.

freelance blog post

It’s coming up to roughly a year since I started freelancing as a radio person* and I have truly discovered what people mean when they describe it as feast or famine. Fortunately when I started I was still studying so money wasn’t so much an issue, but soon after moving into a new flat and for once being truly self-sustaining I did have a panic that I wasn’t going to earn enough and started working some part-time jobs in waiting and bar work just to top up the rent money. Summer suddenly became quite manic, it slowed down a lot again around Christmas, but throughout February I have been working double shifts.

I wanted to write a quick post about how I both love and hate freelancing at the same time. On the one hand it’s great, I get to work with a variety of stations, and do so many different things each day and I can never complain of getting bored or finding myself typecast to one role when I am still working out what I am best at. However, I would love to be able to feel a lot more secure in what work I am doing, when I am next getting paid and when my car decides to breakdown at 5am on a dual carriageway on my way to work I know that I’m not going to look unreliable.

What really spurred this blog post though is the fact that today I got my first pass to Radio Solent, and I am starting to work on a lot more of their programmes – so I feel like I am making progress. Unfortunately now I just have to be able to control my habit of saying yes to everything to make sure, like my car, I don’t conk out at 5am on the roadside.

*Mainly as a broadcast journalist, but now as a voice coach, broadcast assistant, and social media manager.

Freelance roster

Who I am working with LEFT TO RIGHT: Bournemouth University, voice coach; Wessex FM, broadcast journalist; Jack FM, broadcast journalist; Hot Radio, presenter and broadcast journalist; Approved Family Friendly, social media manager, BBC Radio Solent, broadcast assistant; Fire Radio, broadcast journalist; Spire FM, broadcast journalist; and The Breeze, broadcast journalist.

WALKING ON-AIR: How to be a radio presenter

I’d like to first start and say no, I am not starting to dish out advice on how to be a radio presenter, but I have found some people who are.

I’ve been a presenter now for five years and I am nowhere near done learning. So it’s books like this which can be really helpful to keep around to guide your style as you learn.

walking on air

Ideal for:

  • Hospital Radio Presenters
  • Budding Radio management
  • Community Radio Broadcasters
  • Mobile, Bar or Club DJs
  • Actors or musicians, or acts
  • Voices or voice overs
  • Nosey people
  • People from an entertainment background
  • People with an interest in becoming a radio DJ
  • Anoraks

…and I think I count for at least 8 out of ten of these.
To get your mitts on this useful page turner visit their site radio-presenter.com  and send them a tweet @Radio_Talent_UK

2013 Roundup

Radio 2013, graduation, Nerve, Greg James

Clockwise starting from the left. Graduation, 2013 Nerve Awards, My Family, Meeting Greg James (again) at SRAcon13, Presenting on Nerve Radio.

Ah 2013, you’ve been quite an intense and end of an era type year.

Without repeating my Post University Roundup blog post, I’m now re-adjusting to non-academic years and the reality of adult life. Since graduating I’m working as a freelance broadcast journalist, but I am finding myself torn between my heart and my head with what to do next.

I’ve grown up adoring BBC Radio One, and as you can see meeting Greg James was one of the highlights of my year, but being a journalist and a presenter at the same time is something people in this industry are finding a little difficult to get their heads around. I’ve applied, got to interview and been dubbed as ‘also suitable’ for two BBC radio jobs now, it’s frustratingly close and yet not quite there because jobs in the beeb or this industry aren’t exactly easy to come by.

However my time as a journalist has meant my efforts into presenting have been put on the back-burner aside from my weekly Hot Radio show, I’ve not been making the podcast and need to start really channeling all the great feedback since being nominated for SRA Best Female back into my on air work.

I don’t usually blog, mainly because my radio show is often my way of audio blogging but I’m really writing this to try to push myself into working harder to get where I want the be in the radio industry.

The problem is picking my direction.

Anyway, for anyone who reads this at the time of posting, Merry Christmas and may 2014 be a successful year for you and I.

The Breeze Sample Bulletin

Over September and October I have freelanced with Celador, working on their Breeze bulletins for Southampton, Portsmouth, East Hampshire and Winchester, and Jack FM. I was generally fulfilling a reporter role until a permanent member of staff was appointed, but did get the chance to do a couple of bulletins.
Below is a sample bulletin from The Breeze Southampton‘s news.

The Breeze News Southampton

The Breeze News Bulletin by Charlotte Gay on Mixcloud

Fire Radio – Freelance Broadcast Journalist

I’ve also been freelancing with Fire Radio for Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch so here’s a sample news bulletin.

Fire Radio News

Sample Fire Radio News – August 2013 by Charlotte Gay on Mixcloud

Hot Radio – Freelance Broadcast Journalist

Here’s a record of a sample bulletin from my fortnight covering local news for Poole and Bournemouth at Hot Radio.

Hot 102.8

Sample Hot Radio Bulletin by Charlotte Gay on Mixcloud

Post university roundup

Bammj Ball blog

It suddenly occurred to me that for the past three years at the end of each academic year I have been self-indulgent enough to write a summary of what key things have happened in said year,

Sadly enough this will be that last time I can reflect on what I have done during my time at university as it has now drawn to a close.  Like each that passes I think this one has been the best so far in what it has offered me.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have worked with Nerve Radio for the past three years and for my final year as station manager. I’ve made many great friends out of it, hopefully learnt a lot more that I could have ever without dealing with the challenges of leading 200+ volunteers and I’d like to think I’ve left a decent mark on the station as it progresses year on year. In terms of presenting too it has been an incredible year with winning Best Female, Best Interview and Best Feature at our Nerve Radio Awards – I promise it was not a fix! Also the student radio conference like every year was epic – getting shortlisted for the Voice of the Student Radio Awards has made me look into voice over opportunities more than I would have otherwise considered.

In terms of my course, the US Elections certainly took over the first term of the year but, despite how demanding the extra work became, I think it gave us all the most realistic impression of a 24 hour rolling newsroom. That said as much as I enjoyed being live on Hope FM and online from midnight till 7am, I certainly struggled with staying awake near the end of a 26 hour day.

This year also allowed a huge amount of freedom in terms of my major project and dissertation, both massive in terms of the amount of work needing to be put in and also their impact on my degree as a whole. I’m pleased to say the Prison Pen Pal project was possibly one of the most interesting pieces I’ve worked with and getting real interaction from people across the world in what the project was trying to achieve. From years gone by of hearing horror stories I must admit it worried me that I wouldn’t be able to pull off a really insightful dissertation, especially since beginning the course I noticed my marks swayed towards to practical hands on broadcast work. Yet again I was astounded that my idea of political satire and journalism coming together to pose the question ‘what is the role of British political satire programming in a modern democratic public sphere?’ was relatively fun and exciting to see come together to make something I was proud of. I think the interviewees made the piece more than myself to be fair with the likes of Rory Bremner and Krishnan Guru-Murthy as part of my interview list. I’ve been recommended to consider getting it published so I cannot reveal anymore than that at this stage.

As I said, this year really came together for me as finishing with first and second year with middle to low 2:1 marks did make me despondent about the chances of getting a first – but low and behold I proved to myself that it is possible to finish with a First Class Honours.

At this time I have moved into a new place in Bournemouth as I’m working a freelance broadcast journalist for the likes of Fire Radio, Hot Radio, Wessex FM and hopefully in the near future working with the new BBC breakfast in Dorset show. I still feel like a student balancing my time with these stations, though at the moment it is probably easier that what I was doing near the end of my degree.

Fingers crossed the next chapter will go relatively smoothly and I’ll keep this site posted.

Student Radio conference 2013