Fancy a career in Radio? Want to be a producer? Technician? Presenter? Then a degree in Radio Production might be just what you’re looking for. However with lots of different radio production courses out there, how do you decide which one is right for you? To help make your decision a little easier, take a look at our top things to consider before applying.
1) Who’s teaching you? How much experience in broadcasting do they have?
The best Radio Production courses will be taught by staff with industry and teaching experience, so it’s a good idea to research their background either on the university website, or at an open day. At the University of Chester, our lecturers have lots of experience in the field. Head of Media, Dr Alec Charles, has worked as a documentary programme-maker for BBC Radio 3, whilst Programme Leader Michelle Ponting has worked as a broadcast journalist at a number of stations across the North West, including Key 103, Rock FM and Radio City. Michelle has also produced documentaries and been a co-presenter. As a University of Chester graduate, she has been there and done it, making her a great source of advice for current students.
2) What facilities are on offer?
During open days, take the time to discover what facilities are available. Look out for things such as outside broadcasting kits, portable recorders, editing facilities, and studios. Find out how hands-on your course is. It’s one thing to have excellent facilities, but check you have the opportunity to use them! At the University of Chester, we have a number of great radio production facilities available to help our students gain experience, from our North West Media Centre, to our very own award-winning on-site radio station, The Cat Radio, which broadcasts 24/7.
3) How much time will you spend with your lecturer?
Student to lecturer ratio is an important factor to consider. To get the most out of practical sessions, small class sizes are key. At Chester, we keep our class sizes relatively small to allow our students to get the support they need, when they need it.
4) Will you gain industry experience on the course?
Gaining experience whilst at university is essential to helping you stand out as a graduate. Not only will it give you an opportunity to network, develop your skills, and discover what career path you want to take, but it’ll also give you some great material to add to your CV. As a student studying at the University of Chester, you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience with our Work Based Learning or Experiential Learning module during your second year. In addition, a lot of industry guests are invited in to talk to students, so you'll never be short of expert advice.
5) Who has been on the course and where are they now?
The success of graduates says a lot about the course, so take the time to find out where graduates have progressed to. Many of our recent graduates have gone on to lead successful careers in an array of different roles, including: Commissioning Editor; Content Director; Station Producer; Broadcast Journalist; Broadcast Assistant; Presenter; and Senior Creative Accounts Manager.
So, what do our students really think?
Recent graduate Elspeth Woosley tells us what it’s really like to study Radio Production at Warrington Campus.
What did you think of your lecturers?
The lecturers are amazing and the Radio Production course is fantastic at the University of Chester.
What was the best bit of the course?
One huge element for me was the work based placement during my second year where I spent time in a newsroom of Bauer radio station, Cool FM. This led to a summer placement in the stations programming department where I sat in on management meetings, booked celebrity guests & helped at outside broadcasts.
How did studying at Warrington help you towards your dream career?
During my third year I become the station manager of The Cat radio. But, it was my major radio project in my final year that helped pave the way for my first job. I did a news documentary on the 20th anniversary of the Warrington bombings and worked alongside Key103's news team - collecting and sharing interviews. This work led to my first class degree, an SRA nomination and a list of influential industry contacts.
I eventually took a management and sales job and surprised myself when I realised I loved the buzz I got from sales. I have now returned to Key103 to work in the ‘Creative and Interactive’ team as a Project Manager for Sponsorships and Promotions. Everyday is different and I'm constantly learning from it but I love what I am doing and wouldn't have got here if I hadn't enjoyed and worked as hard as I did at Uni.
What are your tips for future radio production students?
It's definitely a tough industry to get in to, but if you are determined and work hard at whatever you do, you can do it!
Want to know more?
Book on to our upcoming Open Day to see our fantastic facilities, including the on air studios of The Cat radio, and to find out more about studying Radio Production at the University of Chester.