(NB: This post was originally written for the Student Radio Association)
This is probably an odd blog post. Initially, the SRA wanted people to write about their jobs in radio and the sort of things they get up to. I’ll do that a little bit of course, but really I want to write about people, because people are awesome. Listening to people is incredible.
Everyone has a story to tell, and that’s essentially the sort of radio I get to make every day. I should probably at this point tell you that I work for the Premier network of companies, which own 3 radio stations and I’m lucky enough to work for their main one as a senior producer, and helped to set up, and continue to oversee their 2nd station, which focuses entirely on Gospel music.
I came from a world of celebrity, music and entertainment based radio, so arriving at Premier was a little different – it has an audience that is deep in values, is loyal, and most certainly passionate. I’ve had to learn a lot along the way making this type of radio, but all the skills I had from my previous jobs still come into play; whether that’s writing a programme from scratch or even looking at music flows – it’s all still important.
Getting to tell the stories of the people that listen to Premier is a great joy, and over time I’ve come to realise that every single one of us, regardless of what we think of ourselves, has a story to tell; and that’s where my job as a producer and a radio fan collide, because every single day I get to hear stories of people being moved by their faith. Of course there are influential people in the Christian world, as there is in the showbiz world, but there’s something quite moving about an audience that’s openly able to share their innermost beliefs with us as a station. It’s quite an honour and privilege to be a part of people’s lives in this way, especially when you see streams of messages of people who have had to keep their faith a secret from their families and the one thing that’s keeping them going is the radio we make.
We’re lucky to be in a position at Premier to really engage with our audience in this way, and in return we feature people who want to share their stories and faith. One of the more unique stories I had to record was about a washing machine repair man who used to evangelise and talk about the Gospel while going about fixing washing machines. I can think of hundreds of other accounts of people who get in touch with us to share their story; but on a bigger scale how does this relate to what we’re doing in radio?
Well, the thing I’ve learned is that everyone has a story. That bloke you’re sitting opposite, the woman on the train, the post office worker, the cleaner at your local pool…. I bet that if you stopped to chat with every single person that you encounter in your world today, they would have an amazing story to tell you about something they’ve done or seen. And it’s brilliant, because listening to others and their tales is what makes us human in every sense of the word. Essentially, I get to bring those stories to life as part of my job, and it’s what keeps the audience sharing their stories with us.
I started out as chief tea boy when I first got into the radio industry. I was lucky enough to learn from some fabulous people who spent time showing me how to do things properly and apply it to my work. Listening to what people had to say was part of that training, and it has served me well ever since.