I’d always been a massive fan of radio from a very early age but I’d never really considered it as a profession. When I came back to Mansfield (my home town) following 4 and half years at the University of East Anglia in Norwich my friend suggested I should offer my services as a volunteer whilst I looked for work in London.
I got in touch with the station and was offered some work twice a week helping out on the Breakfast Show making tea and answering phones. That was in October 2000, the following March I was offered a full time job as a news reporter the following March. So this coming October I will have been at the station for 17 years! Blimey.
I don’t think there’s really a typical day for me and my colleagues refer to me as “the station cat”, because I’m around the station a lot during the week. But typically my day starts at around 7.45am and my day is split into two. I tend to start my day by preparing for my show and updating the Mansfield 103.2 website. I then turn my attention to my jobs list.
My main focus is looking after the day to day output of Mansfield 103.2 in the morning and I try and get everything done before I go on air at 1pm.
I like to keep things ordered so have set things I like to do on certain days in the week, for example, on Mondays and Tuesdays I tend to sort out new music and schedule our play lists. I like to work a week in advance just in case other things come up.
On the social media side of things, I like to do my planning for that at the start of the week too although it is updated by various departments including programming, news and sales on a day to day basis.
I also prepare various specialist programmes and organise content as the week goes on.
On top of this I have various management tasks that need to be carried out including regular meetings with my presenters, dealing with engineering issues and general day to day decision making.
Although, I’m incredibly busy, I love what I do and the best thing is working with the talented team here at Mansfield 103.2 and in particular with my boss Managing Director Tony Delahunty.
It’s always nice to see your efforts rewarded and I’m most proud of the fact that Mansfield 103.2 was nominated two years in a row at the national Arqiva awards in the best small station category. That was a great feeling having been involved in putting together our entries on both occasions. I’m also proud of my time spent doing the Breakfast Show on my home town radio station. It was a great honour and 5 and half years of early ups was an achievement in itself.
If you’re thinking of a career in radio, then the there’s two very important words I’d say to you – Work Experience. If you want to get on the radio broadcasting ladder it’s so important to get as much work experience as you can in a number of radio stations (commercial and BBC if you can) and start early. If you are thinking of doing a degree in Broadcasting, make sure you start looking for work experience before you even start the course. Any spare time dedicate it to work experience if you can because it’s great for the CV and when you have your degree it will give you an edge over others going for jobs in what’s a highly competitive industry.
Before working in radio myself, I wish that I’d known how to make a better cup of tea / coffee. Having said that my uselessness in that department may have led to me climbing up the ladder quicker than if I’d been brilliant in the brew department.
You can listen to Watko, every weekday afternoon on Mansfield 103.2 between 1pm and 6pm and also on the 80’s School Reunion every Friday from 7pm.