Radio is one of the most popular forms of media around the world. It’s intimate, immediate, diverse and wide ranging. However, radio is an industry where there’s no clear route in. Although it’s no exact science, here are some tips regarding how to get into radio.
One of the main routes for getting into radio is through university or college radio. Big names in the industry such as BBC Radio 1’s Greg James and BBC Radio 2’s Simon Mayo actually started out in student radio.
Student or college radio around the world is a fantastic way to hone your radio craft and try out different things – It’s an essential period to experiment to get to know what you want. You often tend to have complete creative freedom that you would not get on professional radio, where you can see what works and what doesn’t. There are great institutions such as the UK Student Radio Association that helps people transition from student college radio into professional radio.
Previously Radio.co spoke to the current UK SRA chair Jonty Usborne about getting into radio, who said that:
You get the freedom to do (within reason) anything that you want, which is a privilege you won’t get in a professional work space.
Even if you know you’re going to end up being a producer in commercial radio one day as that’s your ambition, student radio affords you so much more freedom to be creative and really push the boundaries.
Hospital & Community Radio
Like student radio, hospital and community radio has been a platform for pros to initially try out their stuff.
Absolute Radio’s Christian O’Connell and BBC Radio 1’s Scott Mills both started out trying their hand at hospital radio stations. It’s a great way, like student radio, to learn the craft of radio and see what works and what doesn’t for you. It also has the huge appeal of added charitable work, both in hospitals and the community. Plus it provides you with both social and other essential skills needed to progress within the industry.
To find out more look for your local hospital or community radio station online, then reach out to them to see if you join their station voluntarily or offer to help set them up.
How to Get into Radio with Work Experience
Have you done a bit of student or hospital radio, but are still not sure how to get into radio and step foot into the industry? Well try get some work experience at proper radio station.
Radio is a relatively small industry and a lot of people who now work in it got their jobs from work experience. Media companies, within the UK for instance, like the BBC and Global have regular schemes that you can apply for. However, one of the best ways of getting work experience is emailing smaller or local stations directly. Alternatively attend networking events and ask to shadow someone within the industry.
More often than not, people are very willing to let you come in and see how everything works. Work experience is such a great way to get into the industry and gives a great idea whether radio is truly right for you.
The key takeaways on how you can get into the radio industry are:
- Try college / university radio as it offers you freedom and creativity to find out what you want to do.
- Volunteer at hospital or community radio stations as it really does open a lot of doors, just ask Scott Mills at BBC Radio 1!
- The UK has schemes at the BBC and global to help get you work experience.
Still not sure how to get into radio, maybe start your own internet radio station?
Although the radio industry still revolves around traditional stations on FM, AM or DAB radio, the future of the industry is moving online with more niche and bespoke stations revolving around different tastes, brands, and personalities, just look at how well Soho Radio are doing from a small cafe in London:
It’s easier than ever before to set up an internet radio station with a wide variety of equipment set ups. If you want to take a different path into radio or want to stay away from the sometimes restrictive mainstream radio, why not get into radio by starting your own station?
Radio.co makes it incredibly easy to start your own internet radio station for a relatively low cost and without the need for endless streaming servers. At a basic level, all you need is a PC and some basic equipment like a microphone and a mixer, but at a more professional level you can use an advanced studio setup. You create the radio you want and Radio.co will do all the heavy lifting by creating your stream in the cloud and hosting your website and mobile apps.
It’s a simple and effective way to make your mark on an ever changing and evolving radio industry.
For more information about Radio.co to get into the industry and start your internet station, make sure you check out our product tour and start your free seven day trial now by clicking the button below.