Caroline, 26, Radio Presenter, BBC Radio Cumbria
I met Caroline through Fraser (don’t forget to check out his little announcement for the blog!).
What is your job, exactly? I’ve been presenting the Afternoon Show on BBC Radio Cumbria for 2 years. My job title is probably Radio Presenter – although my Gran would say disc-jockey. I am on air weekdays between 2-5pm. My show is a light entertainment radio show, with a sprinkle of celebrity guests, local stories, music and quizzes! I talk between the songs (never over them!), carry out interviews and give ‘shout-outs’. That’s my job when I’m on air presenting for the three hours, for the rest of the day I am producing the show. That involves editing, planning interviews, researching guests, booking guests, sorting my music playlist and thinking of interesting/funny things to talk about on the show.
What was your first job? I was a waitress at a tearoom back home in Aberdeen and was paid £3 an hour which I think might be illegal these days! The most important thing I learned there was people skills. I spend a fair bit of time spinning discs but for the most part my job is dealing with people from all walks of life. My advice would be – don’t be a dick. Be nice.
What did you study? I studied English Literature at Edinburgh University. Not as useful perhaps as a medical or law degree, but I had the most wonderful time! I did risk getting the best degree possible due to the time I spent at the student radio station: Freshair. There, I fell in love with the medium.
If someone wanted to get your job, what would you tell them to do? If you are at college or university, definitely join the student station. If not, hospital radio is a fantastic place to start. I learnt all the basics and built up my confidence and on air personality. We get bogged down a bit with social media presence, when actually I think you can afford to go back to basics if you’re interested in radio. I found myself a cheap way to record a 4 minute demo (it was beyond terrible) and literally placed a CD, yes CD, on the boss’s desk and sent it to radio stations. Be patient because 4 months later I got a phone call saying ‘We didn’t completely hate the demo, we want to try you out’.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? Pet shop lady, stand-up comedian, or Miss Piggy.
Did you ever have a mentor? Chris Baxter, another local radio DJ. He told me never to be fake. It’s easy for DJs to sound very much like a cheesy DJ rather than just your mate which is what you’re meant to be.
Do you know what you want to do later? To work on a station like BBC Radio 2, 4 or 1 is the goal. But I am obsessed with radio, so as long as I get to broadcast and play good music I’ll be very happy indeed.
Are you good friends with your coworkers? Absolutely! At BBC Radio Cumbria we have an open plan office and it consists of the news team and the entertainment crew. Everyone mixes well, even if the news sorts have a dig at me for having the luxury of playing songs when I run out of things to say!
What is your work schedule? I’m on air weekdays between 2-5pm but I normally try to work 10am-6pm. People ask me what I’m doing when I’m not on air? I am normally pre-recording interviews. If you have a high profile celebrity for example, you often have to fit around their schedules so do the interview earlier. I also have to sort my playlists, all the music, editing and daily quizzes too!
What do you wear to work? That’s the great thing about radio: no one can see you! I could be wearing a Spiderman onesie! Saying that, they have installed webcams in the studios now. I dress in what makes me happy but I do feel more prepared to present a 3 hour radio show with a bit of slap and power hair. When I did the 5am show, that was more difficult
Do you have any side projects? I want to give stand-up comedy a proper go! It’s great to try out jokes on air - they have got better than the train stuff I promise.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at a job? I asked Sean Bean if he has a tight fetish. I was nervous and I panicked!
Who should I speak to next? My friend Charlotte who’s a freelance TV worker and has done some incredible jobs! (Ed. note: interview coming soon!)
Follow Caroline on Twitter here.