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What does a radio producer do?

Charles Sturt University graduate Gabriella Power is an Associate Producer on 2GB. On an average day she could be planning the topics and guests for the show she produces, researching and writing the stories for air, formatting the daily show not to mention screening each call, text, tweet and email before it’s broadcast live.

Q: What is an average day in the life of an Associate Radio Producer?

As an Associate Producer I work to pull all of the content together for the show. So I’ll come in each morning and spend the first hour reading through the papers, pulling together the best stories, and thinking of relevant people to interview live to air off the back of those stories. At 9am we will have a team meeting where we [producers] each run through the day’s show. After everything is formatted we will begin the job of scheduling guests and building the story pieces. This means you might be researching, tracking down someone that you want a story comment from, or hunting for new leads on a story. Sometimes I’ll already have some guests confirmed or in mind. We identify the main stories going into the week ahead and try to guess what will be the big stories of next week. Obviously a lot can change in 24 hours so we have to remain flexible.

Once the show begins, my role is to monitor the calls into the show and track any breaking news that needs to be passed onto the presenter Chris. Everything on radio is live, which means you need to ready to break a news story at a seconds notice.

Though, there is no such thing as a normal day! Every day is a completely different, and that is one of the best parts of my job.

Q: Why radio?

One of the most thrilling parts of radio production is the creation process, beginning each day with a blank slate, reading the news, picking stories to be covered and developing content. I love it.

Though, I’d say the best part of working in radio is knowing that you are able to share important information that can help a community. For example, when the bush fires were on our broadcasts were affecting and informing the whole community about the state of the fires. Or, when there was a shooting in Hornsby earlier this year, a man on the scene who was actually shot with shrapnel called in to break the news with our listeners as it was all unfolding. It’s an amazing media to work in, everything is in real time, and this immediacy means that you are often the first media breaking news to people.

Q: What did you study and where?

I went to Charles Sturt University and studied a double degree, a Bachelor of Communication (PR) / a Bachelor of Business Studies. I absolutely loved it.

If this sounds like it could be for you, find the course that Gabriella studied.

Q: Why?

The course was extremely hands on. All of the assessments I worked on in the School of Communications and Creative Industries were relatable to the workforce, some assessments asked us to produce show reels, record radio transcripts or even work with news publishers in the area.

My major was Public Relations, and I actually worked to develop a press release promoting an actual event in Bathurst during my final year, trying to get coverage in the local papers. That kind of experience prepares you beyond anything you could learn in class. I couldn’t have asked for more out of my degree, it truly equipped me with ‘real’ skills and opened so many doors for me in the media industry.

Beyond the actual course, living in Bathurst was the best four years of my life! You’ll make friends for life.

Q: At just 22 you are working in the largest AM broadcaster in Australia, how did you get your job, and how can other people do the same?

Say yes to everything!

Say yes to everything!

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I began at 2GB as a work experience kid on the Ben Fordam show. Something that I’ve learnt is that enthusiasm breeds interest, and what I mean is that I was really dedicated to my work experience, I went beyond the task required, I asked tonnes of questions, showed that I was interested, and that I could be taught; and if you are like that then your employer is really happy to invest the time in teaching you. Don’t approach work experience as if you know it all already.

After my first stint of experience I was able to find casual work at the station on reception, and after my shift would finish I’d volunteer to work with the team on the Ben Fordam show to develop my producing skills – answering phones – understanding how the production team feed information through to the host. After I’d become competent with my work experience work, the station offered me some summer work producing shows while people were on Christmas leave, and that’s where I really started to get a handle on the role.

I really loved it, seeing a show come together live on air. So I kept working part time producing when I was at University and when a job opened up on the Chris Smith show, I was offered the position straight after University.

Have you considered studying in Bathurst or Wagga?  Have a read of Confessions of an On Campus Uni Student & 8 Things No One Will Tell You About Attending A Rural University (And Why You’ll Love It) to see why you should consider the CSU experience.

What about a career ON the radio as a host? Read 96.1 host Emma Chow’s career story.

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