The 13th February is World Radio Day. It is a day where people around the world celebrate radio and how it shapes their lives.
Radio was a big part of my life for nine years. My first ‘real’ job (and you will get the pun shortly) was working in radio. At age 16 I did work experience in the promotional crew, and by age 18 had a full-time job at Real Radio Wales, part of the Guardian Media Group.
It was a million miles an hour, each day was exciting (and I only did admin roles!), fun, intense, very close-knit and bloody hard work… I started in the Traffic department. Radio insiders will know that this is commercial scheduling not the updates on the roads. I started in 2003 and left this department in October 2008 with the very long title of Senior Group Commercial Scheduling and Inventory Executive. Quite posh for advert loader!
When I started, I was team member number four and there were five stations to look after; Real Radio Wales, Real Radio Yorkshire, Real Radio Scotland, Jazz fm London, Jazz fm Manchester (you now know these as Heart Radio and Smooth fm). These stations were some of the leading radio brands in the business. Over a short period, more stations were brought into the group, Saga fm was purchased in the East Midlands and West Midlands becoming Smooth, and Century Radio in the North West and North East came under the Real umbrella. Some Rock fm stations were also added in Manchester and Scotland making it thirteen in total. During this time the team expanded into eight and was ten by the time I left the company. I was nominated for Newcomer of the Year in 2003 at the GMG Radio Awards. The traffic team were announced as Group Team of the Year in 2007, and Real Radio Wales were Station of the Year in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
In October 2008 I moved teams and became Sales & Marketing Co-ordinator. At this time Real Radio Wales was THE major player. Listener figures were incredible, and at one point overtook Radio 2, the big boy in the market place. It was exciting to be part of the team that took the station national as it became the first commercial radio station to cover the whole of Wales. My role was to support the sales team with their presentations and paperwork. Advertisers were able to gain maximum exposure for their business through planning media campaigns, market research on core listener demographics, sponsorship, branding, promotions and competitions. The team even won Sales Team of the Year at the 2009 GMG Radio Awards.
I left radio in September 2011. It will always be in my heart and even nearly 10 years on, I can pick up on little things that the general audience would not. Two car adverts being in the same break or promo trails that have been squashed to fit the time bracket. When I started the next stage of my career a few months ago, I was shocked to see that a radio campaign had been so poorly sold and advised. This would never have happened in my time. If advertisers did not have the revenue they were told to put it elsewhere.
I know media has changed a lot and quickly over the last few years, how it is being consumed and even where it is being consumed. Now more than ever, information is needed quickly, needs to be factual, up to date and somehow needs to be different to everyone else. A task that is tough, but important if you want to be number one in the game.
It was a here before TV and the internet, other than newspapers it is the original way to communicate. Not only can you hear our favourite songs or interviews with celebs, it tells you the news, shares opinions and voices, reaches remote communities across the world, but better than all of that it makes us laugh and gets us talking. Let’s hear it for radio!