Television & Radio Broadcasting

Television & Radio Broadcasting 

Working in television and radio remains an exciting and attractive option for many despite the long hours, ongoing pressure and initial difficulty in breaking into the industry. Work can be varied, including presenting, writing, directing and production.

The advancement in digital technology has increased options for those looking to work within television and radio. An increase in digital and satellite channels as well as online content and streaming means that the television and radio industry offers exciting opportunities.  Add to this over 1500 independent production companies in the UK with roles on both sides of the camera or microphone; however you will need to have the determination, passion and relevant experience and skills to succeed.  

Where Do I Start

Getting Experience

Finding A Job

Need More Information

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Where do I start?

Within the television and radio sectors you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements and career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.

Jobs roles in this sector include (but are not restricted to):

As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews. 

  • The Radio Academy - A social and business network uniting the UK radio industry. Has a careers knowledge bank providing job profiles as well as advice and information on starting a career in radio.
  • Broadcast - Broadcast provides the latest industry news for the broadcast sector including features on commissioning, production and ratings data.
  • media.infoA full directory of radio, television, magazines and newspapers in the world, with industry news, jobs, discussion, information and analysis.

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Getting experience

Competition for jobs in television and radio is fierce and work experience could be the deciding factor to securing a job within the sector. Not only will you gain an understanding of the type of work undertaken and the various roles, but you will also have the chance to develop  a network of contacts for the future.  Typically within this sector, you will be undertaking junior tasks, assisting with projects or administration, which means being available to help with any odd jobs. Companies are likely to be very busy and you are unlikely to receive much formal training or guidance.

Finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. To find our more about creating a targeted CV.  In addition to this the University of Portsmouth Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, in conjunction with Purple Door, have developed a Creative Careers guide, an online resource with CV and application information focused on the creative industries.

Internships, placements and work shadowing explained

Internships, (usually a fixed period or a limited amount of time), will give you more hands-on experience. Many employers will treat internships in the same way as full-time employment, so when a job role asks for 'at least one years experience' you can include this type of experience.

Placements will give you a long-term look at an organisation, and help you to build contacts and experience. On some degrees work placements are part of the programme, whilst on others you can choose to complete a placement as one of your modules.  Many courses at the University of Portsmouth enable you to complete a one year work placement or self-employment placement; should you choose undertake either your first point of contact is your placement office in your Faculty.

Work experience weeks are a good way to get a short but intense feel for how a particular role works and are a helpful way to find out more about a job you think you’d like.

Work shadowing is an introduction to many areas of television, radio and broadcasting, here you spend time with an experienced professional learning about what they do.

Speculative Applications for Work Experience

In order to write a good speculative letter/email you will first need to do some research into the organisation you are writing to, this way you will be able to target your application to their needs and demonstrate your passion for the company, role and industry. It is a good idea to write to a specific named individual, if necessary phone to clarify who the best person to contact would be before sending your letter/email (company websites, twitter and LinkedIn profiles may be useful for this). Remember to give a clear reason as to why you are contacting each employer and in your letter demonstrate that you have relevant skills, perhaps through extra-curricular activities, and explain how by offering you work experience they will benefit. Also demonstrate that you understand what they do as an organisation, really tailor the application to each particular organisation.

The ability to market yourself effectively is a skill you will use throughout your career in the media so why not create an online presence that could assist with targeting your speculative applications, use social or professional networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

A good starting place to secure work experience is with the university, some courses offer the opportunity to undertake a work placement, so speak to your tutors to see what is available. You might also like to check out the student union and see what volunteering opportunities they have within their various media channels; see if they need presenters for the union radio or television stations, there could be a multitude of opportunities here for you to gain excellent experience.

Outside the university think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations; it is worth remembering that most larger companies organise their work experience placements up to a year in advance so start early and take the initiative!

You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV; in addition to dedicated resources available at Purple Door, we have created a number of tailored pinboards using Pinterest which provide links to a variety of websites with useful sector advice and examples of creative CVs.

It is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience. Purple Door offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in the Purple Door careers centre.

Useful key links to find out more about work experience and valuable industry directories and company websites to to make speculative approaches to:

  • Skillset - Sector skills council for creative media with a wealth of excellent resources aimed at students and graduates
  • Targetjobs - General advice about how to secure work experience in the media industry as well as a searchable database of current opportunities.
  • Media UK - Directory of British newspapers, magazines and broadcasters.
  • Any Intern- Internship directory, completely free for students to use, updated daily with thousands of internships all over the United Kingdom.
  • RateMyPlacement - Everything you need to know about what an internship is and how you can start your search for one.

To give you an idea of the sorts of opportunities that may be available, listed below are examples of large companies and agencies offering and advertising work experience in this sector. You will need to do thorough research to identify further specific opportunities.

 Television & Radio

  • allaboutcareers - Includes a useful internships and work placements section which could assist in sourcing relevant opportunities.
  • Absolute Radio - For students studying a media related course. All placements are two weeks unless otherwise arranged with opportunities being advertised on gothinkbig.co.uk.
  • Community Media Association - Includes a regularly updated section showing latest voluntary vacancies at radio stations across the UK.
  • KFTV - International guide to 40,000 film, television and commercial production service companies in 149 countries. Searchable database is a useful resource for students looking for placements, internships or career opportunities in film and TV.
  • Media UK - A directory of British newspapers, magazines and broadcasters.
  • The Knowledge - Comprehensive production directory for UK Film and TV contacts.
  • All Out Productions - Three months work experience working on programmes for BBC radio.
  • BBC Extend Programme  - The BBC’s new talent disability recruitment portal information about placements for graduates with disabilities.
  • BBC - the BBC's searchable work experience pages.
  • Broadcast - Jobs and work experience in Broadcasting.
  • Channel 4 via 4Talent offer one weeks summer work experience and production trainee placements.
  • Channel Five - Provide the ‘One Big Year Internship Scheme’ which has internships across all of their brands including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Viacom International Media Networks and Channel 5.
  • Channel 4 - Offer work experience opportunities within a range of departments including audience research, media planning, press and publicity, continuity, advertising research and many more.
  • Global Radio - one to three months unpaid opportunities.
  • Sky – Work experience opportunities across various sectors, some are one day but most are one or two weeks in length.

 Production

  • Endemol UK - Creative Internship scheme, three months paid work experience.
  • FremantleMedia - Offer three month internships based in London.
  • PACT - The trade association for independent production companies has a searchable directory of members. Use this information to make speculative applications.
  • allaboutcareers - Includes a useful internships and work placements section which could assist in sourcing relevant opportunities.
  • Sky - Offers a whole series of work placements these include production and news. Some opportunities are a day, most are one or two weeks.
  • The Knowledge - Comprehensive production directory for UK Film and TV.
  • Tiger Aspect Productions - Offer the occasional placement on a shoot/production. Placements will last for one to two weeks.
  • Mediamuppet - A great place to look for paid internships and graduate jobs in media.

 Film

  • The Knowledge - Comprehensive production directory for UK Film and TV. Use this information to make speculative applications.
  • British Film Industry (BFI) - Organisation has responsibility for funding film development and Production, training, distribution and exhibition in the UK, offers paid internships.
  • allaboutcareers - Includes a useful internships and work placements section which could assist in sourcing relevant opportunities.
  • KFTV - International guide to 40,000 film, television and commercial production service companies in 149 countries. Searchable database is a useful resource for students looking for placements, internships or career opportunities in film and TV.
  • Company Pictures - Independent film and television drama Production Company, offering work experience to students who are enrolled on an educational course.

Tips to build experience:

Explore the various areas within the media sector before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills.

  • Get involved in relevant university or external groups, volunteer on your student newspaper or get involved in student radio or hospital/community radio, all of these roles are a good way to demonstrate your motivation and interest in this area of work.
  • Enter competitions and attend external workshops to help build a network of contacts.
  • Speak to your tutor, or other members of faculty staff, researching in the areas that interest you, as students are sometimes recruited to work on specific projects over the summer.
  • Be proactive and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively; send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in working for them and why they should be interested in you.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers - see our Networking and Social Media section for further guidance.
  • Research companies and agencies offering summer internships, vacation placements, taster experience or introductory courses.

Tips to build experience:

  • There are around 120 commercial radio stations and 180 community radio stations in the UK and the majority will regularly take on people for work experience. This is many people's route into the radio industry and experience within radio is often valued in television as well.
  • Most work experience opportunities in television and radio will not be advertised and instead be through speculative approaches. Identify companies you would like to work for, find potential contacts through company websites and LinkedIn pages and be prepared to contact a lot of people before one says yes!
  • Try to maintain as strong an online presence as possible, both through your social media accounts such as Twitter and LinkedIn but also any personal blog or vlog spots and YouTube channels. If you have produced content then make it easily accesible. 
  • Gain experience with the University of Portsmouth's own media channels, Pure FM and CCI TV. 
  • Some of the biggest media companies in the UK such as the BBC, Sky and ITV run internships and work experience programmes though these are extremely competitive. 

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Finding a job

Working within television and radio can be extremely varied and so it is important to think about what area it is you ultimately wish to work in. Do you want to be in front of the camera or behind? Are you more interested in the technical side of the operation? Would you like to write or direct? You might be more interested in research and planning.

Whichever area you wish to work in, breaking into the industry will require perseverance, some previous experience and the acceptance that you may well have to work for free at first. In addition, work will probably be sporadic and unreliable until you become more firmly established. 

The range of employers who recruit in these areas includes:

  • Major television companies like the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4 and Virgin Media run graduate schemes though these are extremely competitive.
  • Graduate schemes within radio are less prevalent although some of the major companies like Bauer Media or BBC Radio run them.
  • Smaller cable and satellite television channels will employ people. This is a great way to gain experience as teams and budgets will be small and you will be expected to do a lot of different things. 
  • Independent production companies will employ people on fixed-term contracts when they receive offers of work. These will usually not be advertised and the company will rely on previous speculative approaches and contacts to fill the vacancies. A number of the larger production companies (such as Freemantle Media, Endemol, Working Title) offer trainee schemes. 
  • Community and commercial radio stations will employ people within presenting, production, finance, managerial and IT roles. Also look out for entry level positions such as a Production Assistant, Broadcast Assistant or members of a Street Team. These roles will usually be varied and provide excellent opportunities to increase experience, meet people and get a feel for what you enjoy and what you don't.
  • Around a third of people in this sector are on freelance contracts, moving from one project to the next. This can be exciting but requires a strong list of contacts and excellent networking skills. 

Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your job search

  • The Unit List - Features television and radio job opportunities ranging from production and research roles to vacancies for runners. 
  • BBC Careers - BBC careers hub provides advice and information and also has a jobs hub. 
  • ITV jobs - Includes latest jobs and information on business areas and entry careers.
  • media.info - Jobs board for radio jobs across the UK.
  • Radio and Telly - Links to numerous job sites offering UK TV and radio jobs.

 Tips for finding a job

  • The BBC Production Talent Pool is a major entry route into production roles with the BBC. It works like a temp agency and once you are onto it you will have access to short-term work contracts on a variety of programmes. It is also the only route onto the highly-competitive BBC Production Trainee Scheme, a 12 month paid internship. 
  • Apply for advertised jobs but speculative approaches are a huge part of job search within these industries. The majority of jobs, particularly short-term contracts working on particular projects will not be advertised so research companies you may wish to work for and approach them.
  • Never turn down opportunities. Any experience gained can be useful. Attitude and a willingness to 'get involved' are particularly critical in television and radio. 
  • Runner jobs are an excellent route into the industry, they provide the opportunity to gain experience, meet people, make contacts and, crucially, learn how the industry operates. 
  • Accept that you are probably going to break into the industry through an entry route (unless you've got onto a graduate scheme) whether this be through an internship, work experience or an entry level job. For example, want to be a broadcaster? Search for job titles like Newsroom Assistant or Researcher.
  • Make sure the work you've done is easily accesible to employers. Create a showreel of your best work and get as many people to watch it as possible. 

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Need more help and information?

How can Purple Door help you?

Purple Door offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:

  • Career options
  • Further study
  • CV and Covering Letters
  • Application forms
  • Job search
  • Interviews
  • And more......

Please visit services for you for more details about our support and services.

Purple Door has an online Jobsboard advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Recruitment Consultancy team that delivers a personalised matching job service. 

Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or skype booked appointments, please contact us to discuss your needs. 

Further information:

If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.

Working in Television

  • Creative Skillset - The industry body which supports skills and training for people and businesses working in the creative industries as well as offering advice and guidance. 
  • BAFTA Guru - Aims to inspire those looking to work in film and television with advice and guidance from industry professionals. 
  • The Guardian Media - Industry news and jobs for press, television and radio.
  • Campaign - The latest media news including press, online, TV and radio.
  • Digital Spy - News and opinion on television and other media industries. 
  • grapevinejobs - Jobs board exclusively for the broadcast and media sectors.
  • Production Base - Network for TV, film and commercial production jobs.

Working in Radio

  • Radio Today - News site aimed at radio professionals reporting on the radio industry in the UK. Includes a jobs board. 
  • The Pips - Paid and voluntary jobs in radio plus profiles of industry professionals. 

Employer Directories and Listings

  • mandy.com - International TV and film production resource. Also contains a jobs board. 
  • The Knowledge Online - Contains contacts in the UK media industry.

Specialist agencies

There are numerous media-based recruitment agencies, usually serving a local area (often London). Visit Agency Central, an online media recruitment agency directory to search for an agency in the right location and area of work.

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