SRA Training day – Bethan Elfyn Guest Lecture

bethan%20elfynThe minute Bethan walked in the room it was easy to see that she was excited and bubbly which is exactly what you want from a radio presenter, whether it’s the breakfast presenter trying to get you up and ready in the morning or trying to help you through your working day and on the way home from work. Her bubbly and positive attitude made me want to listen to what she had to say about radio and how it’s changed since she started. Bethan Elfyn is a radio presenter at BBC Radio Wales and Absolute Radio, in the past Bethan has worked on stations such as BBC Radio 1 and Radio 6 Music, but before that she started at the BBC as a researcher and worked her way up.
When Bethan started talking about radio and her journey in it, it was clear that she had as much substance as she did style and passion. She started off by talking about her journey and the tips she’s picked up along the way, one of the first topics she talked about was how hard it is trying to break into the BBC and that she had trouble trying to get employed by them which echoed what Steve Austins had said only a few minutes before. Hearing Bethan talking about how hard it is to break into the media and hearing her story of how she started from the bottom and worked her way up to where she is now was inspiring, and it shows that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and have clear goals in mind that anything is possible.

Bethan said that when she got her break that it wasn’t easy and she had to be multitalented and while she was presenting shows on the BBC she was also producing documentaries for them, this appealed to me in particular because when I graduate in a few months I will be in the same position that she was in, and I’ll be looking to break into the industry and Bethan’s story gave me an insight into what I can expect in the next few months.

“Make sure you really paint a picture in the listeners head”

Later on in the guest lecture Bethan talked about what it takes to be a successful presenter and she had some tips that she had picked up along the way. She stressed the importance of building a picture for the listener as there isn’t one readily available like there is in TV, so a radio presenter has to build up the picture for the listener and help them better engage with the presenter and the shows output. Bethan said that to be successful you need to follow your passions and do something creative with them; an example she gave was the love she had for new music. Bethan said how she developed that passion into her radio work, and how she has built a career out of it as a result. Bethan mentioned work experience; she said make sure that you get work experience that will make you stand out from the crowd such as volunteering at a festival if you have a passion for music, or covering local sports fixtures in your area if you have a passion for sport, it was said that anyone looking to break into the BBC as a presenter should keep in mind that The BBC want presenter who sound real and the audience can relate to rather than a presenter who fits in with what they think the BBC are looking for.
Toward the end of the lecture Bethan talked about trying to get into contact with people, the best way to get in contact with someone is to meet them in person (without stalking them obviously) and this shows initiative. We were told that there is no wrong way to try and get in contact with someone about work experience or a internship, but keep trying people in moderation because spamming people across social media, email, & phone would be enough to put anyone off.

The key messages that I’ve taken away from the guest lecture are:

• it’s important to be yourself when your presenting
• Smile when you talk
• Make yourself as interesting as possible
• Give employers a reason to give you work experience

I found this guest lecture really interesting to listen to as I will be starting the same journey that Bethan was talking about in the guest lecture, and when applying for places I’ll have to be thick skinned and not take a no personally because the first place I apply to are unlikely to say yes right away.
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