RIGHTY, I’M not quite sure how this is meant to sound, so I’ll stick with my usual funny energetic less formal approach. Mr Mair has asked me to write a piece for CUtoday on how I’ve got myself in the position I am now.
Firstly, for those of you who don’t know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Tim Watson; I’m a second year journalism and media student, about to enter my final year. I’m also ‘Our Tim’ off of Mercia, the most successful commercial radio station across Coventry and Warwickshire. Writes Tim Watson
Our Tim is a sort of stunt boy for all of Mercia’s radio shows, primarily the breakfast show with Andy Goulding. It’s a very lucky and privileged position to be in, but it’s one that’s taken a lot of hard work to achieve; it’s not something that you’re ever going to see advertised, and roles like this come through by going that extra mile.
So where did it all start? March the 10th2009 to be precise. That’s when Tom Reeves the breakfast show producer came into Cov Uni for a Coventry conversation. This is where I initially asked for work experience with Mercia. I got the usual, forward some details over and we’ll see what we can do, and didn’t expect anything back. So after moving out of my halls for summer, I got an email asking me to go in for an interview. I started in June, one day a week, doing anything. Any it was literally franking mail, making tea, anything at all. It was easy work, but a struggle to do at times. I had an hour’s commute and Tom wanted me in at 8 each Monday. The train fares soon added up, and after I was asked to go in often, I needed more income to afford it all, so I got a part time job at a pub.
My days were long. Very long. 6 am starts, working through till3 in the afternoon. At this point I was running source radio too, so that took a big piece of my day out, then race back home for a 6 hour shift till the early hours, bed then start all over. It was shattering, but worth it. Come the November, people around the office began to notice the work I was doing and the fact I was doing more important jobs. I got paid work with them on the thunder team (promotions) and with Uni starting again in October, I was left with no choice but to leave Source radio and move back to Cov. To say it got the better of my was no understatement and I’ll openingly admit, it was lonely and hard and at times I did break.
But then I looked at what I was doing and before you knew it, things balance back out. I got somewhere to rent, and more shifts. Tom was now building up ideas to get me on air, as with a building of confidence, you express more of your personality, which was right for radio (luckily!).
In December I won an award for all the hours I’d put in, as Mercia’s Freelancer of the Year. It was a really proud moment for me as it shows that a company does look at each and every person, and that work doesn’t go ignored, although at times it does feel it.
So to the start of 2010, and it was agreed that I could be on air, but only if I agreed to get myself waxed on air for a competition. I agreed and the ‘Our Tim’ character was born. From there, I had my own feature, ‘Our Tim’s Team of the Week’, I organise all of the stations Rude Awakenings, a big on air stunt, which is sponsored and worth a lot of money for the company. I got sold to Lower Precinct and was the ‘face’ of a promotion was done at the end of May. It’s a lot of fun, and sometimes it does still get boring and annoying as it’s a lot of work, but the pay off of being on air, hearing listeners enjoying what you’re doing, and having people respect your work is the real reward.
I never thought I’d ever be in a position to offer advice, but I am lucky to be in the position I am, and I feel I should say something to what you can do to get somewhere similar.
First thing is work hard. Very hard. Always be looking to help out in any way possible. It works. Trust me.
Talk to people. If you find something hard, don’t suffer in silence.
Always say yes. No matter what the job is, never turn it down.
And be happy; remember jobs are scarce, so even if you’re not getting paid, you’re working at a radio station/TV company/magazine publishers. They are really privileged positions and you should be proud to be there. I know I am.
If anyone wants to get in touch, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll gladly help anyone I can, and really appreciate you reading this. The final thing I’d say is to have fun. You only live once so why not do something you enjoy? Take care folks, Tim