Could you tell us a little more about what you do and what the daily life of a breakfast show radio presenter looks like?
I present the Capital South Coast breakfast show to 289,000 people, from Monday to Friday, 06:00–10:00. I wake up around 04:30 to get to the studio for around 05:45 and then the show kicks off at 06:00. It’s quite good because usually we have the rest of the day to do what we want. Sometimes we’ll have longer planning meetings after the show, film a video for social media or have events in the evening.
How did you get into radio? Was there anything at the University of Southampton that inspired you?
I used to volunteer with Hospital Radio Reading and that led me to present and produce my own show on a community station too, so I had a bit of a head start before I got to university. Obviously when I arrived at the University I was very keen and got involved with Surge Radio, Southampton’s student-run radio station, straight away.
What is the most exciting opportunity you’ve had in your career so far?
I can’t actually believe I’m saying this, but I did a skydive! It was absolutely terrifying (especially as I’m definitely not an adrenaline junkie) but the moment I felt the ground beneath my feet I was so proud of myself. I would never have done it if I hadn’t been encouraged by my colleagues, and now I feel like I can achieve anything.
You run your own podcast too; could you tell us a little more about this?
I started my podcast, The Female Struggle is Real, so that I had a platform to talk about things that I’m not really able to talk about on the show. Each episode focuses on a different every-day ‘struggle’ that women face, whether that’s having a cervical smear test, body image, online dating or sexual assault. It’s always good to keep side projects going in this industry because you never know how long you’ll be in a job, and it gives you variety.
I also do voiceovers for commercial adverts and have worked with Sky, Disney and P&O Cruises, which is great fun.
What was the most important thing you learned whilst at Southampton?
I think the most important thing was to take every opportunity. I got involved with so much at the University, but I still wish I’d done more. It’s always good to push yourself out of your comfort zone; I think it definitely makes you a more rounded person.
What did you enjoy the most about your degree, and do you have any particularly memorable moments from your time studying here?
I used to love going to seminars! I really enjoyed the discussion we’d have about a text – I found it really stimulating and made some great friends along the way who I am still close to now.
I also have so many wonderful memories of my time at the University. One of my highlights was presenting Elections Night Live with the University’s student-run TV station, SUSUtv. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done – having the director talking in your ear piece while talking to a camera is really hard, but it was also incredibly rewarding.
What do you think is next for you? What are your goals and ambitions for the next few years?
My absolute dream is to present children’s television. I love working with a young audience and I feel like I’m ready for the challenge of making the move from radio to television.
What advice would you give to our students at Southampton, or students preparing for University later this year?
My advice would be to take every single opportunity that comes your way. You’ll find you’ll be incredibly busy, but university is one of the only places you can join a Quidditch Team, try your hand at life drawing, and even attempt to get a black belt in Karate at the same time.
Finally, do you have any advice for anyone wanting to follow a similar career path?
My three pieces of advice would be: be nice, make friends not contacts, and do your research.
It sounds stupid, but being kind goes a long way. I remember reading a story about Chris Evans asking his intern to get him a bacon sandwich. Ten minutes later, he saw the intern running past the window with said sandwich because he didn’t want it to get cold – that’s just so nice!
I got my first job in radio because one of my friends from the industry played her boss my demo tape. He consequently asked me to come in for a meeting and I ended up presenting the evening show on a local station in Kent.
I think this piece of advice applies in any industry really, but if you’ve got work experience lined up at a station, or even some work shadowing planned, it’s so important to do your research. It’s not ideal going in not knowing what the schedule is or who the presenters are.