A Day in the Life of…. A Radio Presenter

Cumbria often comes out on top in surveys which rank the best places to live and work in the UK – and it’s hardly surprising why. In this new series we take a look into the working lives of those who chose a career in the Lakes and find out a bit more about what they do.

Name: Tom Salmon
Job Title: Presenter for BBC Introducing in Cumbria

Employer: BBC

Where are you from? Whitehaven

How long have you worked for the BBC?

For just over a year now – I started as a BBC Introducing Team Assistant in January 2016.

Talk us through a typical day at work?

I usually start the day by listening to new music that has been uploaded to BBC Introducing in Cumbria, then from there a track-list is put together for the show. Sometimes we’ll have bands visit the studio to record a session and have a chat with us too – I really enjoy it when that happens! Once all the planning and recording is complete, I go live on air and present the show!

What do you most like about the job?

My favorite part has to be sharing the new music – when I hear a great song for the first time I can’t wait to share it on the show. It’s always awesome when musicians come into the studio to record a session too – I get to learn a little bit about their journey and there is something really special about watching a live performance in the studio.

When did your journey into radio begin?

My journey into radio started at Teesside University in 2013, when I began co-presenting a student radio show with my housemate. There was a section in the show where I’d talk about new music. In my final year I started presenting a weekly two hour show called ‘The Sound of Salmon’, which was all about new music. Once I’d moved back to Cumbria I decided to find a community radio station to get involved with. I joined Eden Fm in Penrith and re-launched the Sound of Salmon Show while also working with CFM on their events team and attending radio courses held by the Bauer Academy.

What bizarre occurrences have you experienced at work?

Last month I had to make a phone call to Malawi in Africa – I was interviewing a Cumbrian musician who’s currently living out there!

What did you do prior to becoming a radio presenter?

I was studying ‘Performance for Live and Recorded Media’ at Teesside University. When I wasn’t at University I was working for The Rum Story in Whitehaven and for the events team at CFM radio, while also helping out at Soundwave, a youth music charity.

When did you know, ‘that’s where I want to work’?
I’d always known of BBC introducing, but I’d never have imagined I’d be a part of it! I didn’t actually know where I wanted to work – I was enjoying going to gigs, interviewing musicians and talking people about music. A friend told me about the advertisement for the BBC Introducing Team Assistants, BBC Introducing were doing everything I enjoyed doing so it made perfect sense to apply!

Have you ever had a work related blunder?
I’ve had a fair few since starting as the presenter in December! There’s not much you can do about it on live radio, but I think as long as I’m learning from the ‘blunders’ then I’ll be a better presenter for it.

What qualifications or experience do you need?

Getting experience at a radio station is really good, it gives you an insight into how radio shows are put together and presented on air. Volunteering for student, community or hospital radio are some ways of getting that experience. Interviewing musicians at gigs and preparing interview questions all help to build the skills and knowledge needed for the job too.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into your profession?

Get as much experience as you can and keep learning from the things that you’re doing. Educate yourself; learn about the industry and have patience, because things take time. Make demo shows at home, practice interviewing people and listen back to your work, then keep building on that, making the shows better each time. Try not to beat yourself up if you fail along the way too, I think learning from failure can help you grow and improve.

What does your work mean to you?

It means a lot, I’m really grateful to work on a program that showcases music created by local performers. There are so many talented individuals and bands out there, so to be able to help them get their music heard is an awesome feeling.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to keep fit so I exercise and cook quite a lot. I also play my guitar and write songs when I have the time! Whenever I’m at gigs or when I’m walking around the Lakes I tend to practice my photography too.

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