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In today’s world of journalism, simply being able to write a decent article isn’t good enough. You need to be ‘multi-skilled’ and determined to get your foot into the door of this tough industry.

So, for these past two weekends I have been attending Preston FM’s training course, which in the long-term allows you to produce and present your own radio show. Here is a little feature on the experience I have gained, and what I aim to do with these skills when I finish the course.

Why Preston FM?

Preston FM is a local community radio station situated in the city centre of Preston, Lancashire. Every year the Preston FM team offer a select number of volunteers of any age to participate in their training course, which includes:

– planning your own radio show

– developing good features

– interview techniques

– knowing how to work the studio desk

blah

It doesn’t seem much, but with 10am-5pm days in the training centre, it is pretty intense!

BLAH

I chose Preston FM because after the course, you have to create and present live on the ‘Fresh On Air’ morning slot for three months, which not only allows you to work under pressure, but being a student at the city’s University of Central Lancashire, it would be easy to travel to and to sort out any arrangements with my co-presenter.  At the end of my time at Preston FM, I will receive a Level 2 qualification in An Introduction to Community Radio which is equivalent to gaining a GCSE.

My Preston FM workbook, handbook and folder.

What I did not expect

Long hours, paper work and making a practise show were a few of the things I did not expect during my time at Preston FM!

At the start of your course you get a folder with assignment sheets and a brief, as well as a volunteer ‘workbook’, which you need to complete in order to get your Level 2 qualification. You also work in groups with other volunteers (the age group ranged from 14 to 84), to produce features and running orders for specific shows.

Another thing I did not expect was for time to go quickly when you are making a 30 minute show! Me and Holly (another volunteer), were paired up and whilst we were doing our show, time flew so fast we were in and out of the studio with a snap of a finger!

The radio show

Here is a recording of mine and Holly’s show, Mad4Music, a radio show which focuses on Preston’s music scene and local bands.

To say this was our very first show (which wasn’t broadcasted live by the way), and that fact we suffered from a few hiccups here and there, I think that this show went okay and we tried our best despite time constraints and technical issues. Hopefully we can improve on this in the future.

(All tracks were for practising purposes, this wasn’t broadcasted!)

The future

After presenting our show on the three dates below, we and the other volunteers have an opportunity to pitch our ideas for our own radio shows, and have the chance to present it and carry on working with Preston FM after the course has finished.

As of yet, I don’t know whether I want to carry this on, I have enjoyed it so far but it will depend on the amount of work I get from uni.

Even though the course has been hard, it has also been amazing at the same time! You not only meet people from all walks of life, but in terms of employment prospects in journalism, it will look great on my CV, and it will allow me to have more of an ‘edge’ at job interviews due to have skills I have gained.

Our show’s broadcast dates

Preston FM has given me and Holly our dates and the time we are going to be on air:

– Thursday 15th September 2011 at 10am – 11am

– Thursday 13th October 2011 at 10am – 11am

– Thursday 10th November 2011 at 10am – 11am

We are brewing up some ideas for our music show which will include gig listings, interviews with special guest bands and music performances. So make sure you tune in to: 103.2 Preston FM on those dates and have a listen and tell us what you think!

And finally, I would like to suggest this course to anyone interested in radio, it is hard but the experience is well worth it!

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