Hey – Charlotte Gay here, formerly off of Bournemouth’s Nerve Radio, now West of England reporter for Global’s Newsroom.
It’s hard to describe a typical day for me, but generally I spend a lot of time out of the office, meeting interviewees, recording and editing packages on the go, and reporting live from the scene of breaking stories. My priority will always been what goes out on air, but now shooting video and photos to share on Twitter and Facebook is second nature.
To say there’s variety in my work would be bit of an understatement. Looking at the last couple weeks I questioned the Prime Minister on the election campaign live on Sky News, had a special hands-on preview of the new Crystal Maze TV set, and reported on the Duchess of Cambridge weighing pigs in Gloucestershire.
Based out of Bristol, I provide content for all of Global Radio’s brands, including our local Heart stations and the national news/talk station LBC. One of my reports about flooding even sparked this typical Chris Moyles rant on the Radio X breakfast show last year.
How did it start then? There are no media or journalism types in my family, I was just the nosey one who liked the sound of her own voice back home.
I came to Bournemouth to study Multimedia Journalism and I loved my course but it certainly wasn’t the be-all and end-all. So I signed up for Nerve Radio as soon as I could snatch the pen from the mascot panda’s hand.
For me, journalism and presenting shows gave me the skills to where I am right now. I think the moment when I realised I could get a real job from them was at the National Student Radio Conference in 2011 at Crush Radio in Hertfordshire. After being wowed by sessions, I sat down in a room filled with nervous-energy for Demo Factor. Mine came up. My stomach churned. Listening to it now, I wonder why I felt the need to hack it apart with so many edits and unfinished links. Somehow the judges liked what they heard, and it meant I could record a demo at BBC Radio 1.
It was unbelievable to get this opportunity. I remember I saw Scott Mills moisturising at his desk, bumped into Chris Moyles leaving the building and stared a little too long at Fearne Cotton. I loved being there… but I can’t pretend my heart didn’t sink a little when I didn’t produce a perfect demo that was going to get me on Radio 1.
I felt somehow I had wasted my chance, and maybe I wasn’t really that good after all. Ultimately it made me realise stuff isn’t just going to fall into my lap, and the hard work isn’t over.
So I signed up for a tonne of work experience, big stations like Radio 1 and Radio 4, Create Soho who produce Fun Kids, and littler stations like Wessex FM and Fire Radio who’d actually let me get to go on air and learn from my mistakes.
I cannot stress how important it is to get in the door to radio stations and media organisations while you’re in the weird limbo of being at university, living off your student debt loans, and having so much more spare time than you’ll probably ever have again.
Before leaving Nerve Radio I was shortlisted for Best Female and Voice of the Awards back in 2013. I was gutted neither came off, but I threw myself into community radio, and a lot of my work experience placements turned into freelance. After being an intern, it felt pretty good to start getting paid for the work you were not long ago doing for nothing, and it gave me the confidence to pitch myself to more stations as a journalist.
When it came to me getting my first full time job, yes I needed NCTJ qualifications, but really it’s about proving you have a decent voice and you’ve got drive to get good stories. I joined Global thinking I was just going to be a local reporter but actually I’m often doing national stories. I’m aware a lot of my biggest stories aren’t exactly light – for example my FGM documentary – but there’s a lot of fun in my job like reporting from a hot air balloon about Bristol and interviewing celebs like David Attenborough.
Anyway, if you’ve made it this far into my blog, well done! If you have any more questions feel free to drop me a tweet @CharlotteGay92 and we can keep chatting.