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.

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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

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