In today’s job market, it’s not just your employer’s role to invest in you
On a cold February weekend in 1988, a rather shy 16-year-old made his own way to Leicester on the train. I was heading to “Sound FM”, the rather bizarre name that Leicester Sound had at the time, to be a weekend student at their Radio Training School.
David Lloyd taught me the science of a segue, and how to set levels correctly on a heavily processed station (on the intro, not the loudest bit of the song, you can always ride the fader). Steve Mericke taught me how to make silly jokes in between the songs when I had to talk. And a nice man with a beard taught me how to interview people and how to edit tape. The nice man with a beard got me my first proper job in radio. That’s the qualification I needed: a talent in editing magnetic tape. It got me a massive leg-up into a job at Pennine Radio in Bradford.
This cost me around £250, I think. That was a lot of money in 1988, particularly for a 16 year-old; after inflation, it’s £567 in today’s money. If I hadn’t invested in my chosen career, however, I’d have found it even harder to find a job. I might never have got into radio.
It’s one reason I’m really proud of running NextRad.io, the radio ideas conference, this year on the 9th September. Matt Deegan and I manage to squeeze over twenty amazing speakers together into one day. All our speakers give up their time to give some brilliant ideas and inspiration to the people that come; and the social aspect of the day is also very important to us. This is a great opportunity to meet people from across the industry at the same level as yourself – and give you and those you work with some great new ideas, from programming to social media. This year we’ve more speakers than ever before from non-UK broadcasters, too. If you want to see if the conference is ‘you’ – then have a look at the videos from past years here.
For the third year running, we managed to keep the price down to £99 per person (as long as you booked before 9 August). It’s still a bargain even now – and we’ve moved the event to a Monday, so it’s cheaper and easier for travel and hopefully means you need to take fewer days out of the office, too.
With more of us in radio having a ‘portfolio career’, working for many different companies at the same time, it’s never been more important to ensure that we’re investing in ourselves. And, as an investment, a full day of new ideas that can help you get your next promotion can’t be bad. It’s certainly much more affordable than my cold weekend in Leicester.
- James originally wrote this for #eRadio