I wrote my last blog post after only meeting my mentor, Alan Davey, once. Since then, I have been down to visit him at BBC Broadcasting House in London twice and have rearranged a third meeting because the impending doom of final year deadlines. These meetings have only gotten better and I feel privileged to be able to spend time and learn from such a knowledgeable and passionate person.
My second meeting with Alan was super exciting, I had heard from him the day before to let me know the plan and I was shocked but thrilled to learn that in addition to catching up and talking about my CV, I would be getting the chance to shadow the producers of the drive time show on Radio 3. After checking in and getting my visitors badge, Alan came down to pick me up from the reception and I’m pretty sure we found something to talk about from that moment until I left the building around 5 hours later. Alan was able to show me around Broadcasting House, taking me to see everything from his Radio 3 studios to the news room and Radio 1. Everywhere we went, Alan introduced me to anyone he could, explaining that I was his mentee and it was a great
chance to chat to other people working in radio, we talked about what I was doing in student radio and then I also got to learn about what they were doing in their day to day roles. Knowing my passion for Radio 1, Alan snuck me into their trendy playlist room, filled with signed records on the wall from artists likes Amy Winehouse, it all felt a bit surreal. Following this, we headed back to his office to talk through my CV. His feedback was invaluable and he was able to offer me an insight into what radio bosses like himself look for in a potential employee and a future leader.
Then came for the even more exciting bit where Alan introduced me to the team who produce In Tune on BBC Radio 3, their drive time show which has live classical music on every evening. The team were so welcoming and while Alan went off to get some of his work done, they looked after me, asking questions, answering all of mine and showing me all around the studios. As the show went live I had the opportunity to see how it all happened, chat to the producers and studio managers as well as learn more about how Radio 3 works. Being able to see how the team work under the pressure of having live music on air and still remain so calm was incredible.
I learned lots of ideas for how I could improve my work on Burn FM and also how those producers ended up working for the BBC and how I could work towards the same thing.
The next time I went down to London to visit Alan, we talked for a couple of hours all about the next steps, each putting forward ideas for how I can take the next steps towards working in the radio industry. As I was heading to a student radio conference, Alan also offered guidance on how to make the most of networking and we talked about who I should aim to speak to and what to talk about. Alan also gave me permission to drop his name in when chatting to certain BBC directors and it felt like a seal of approval. It gave me the confidence to really make the most of the opportunity.
I’m eager to submit my essays so that I can start working on the next part of my career journey, with Alan’s support and guidance.