Johnny Seifert

Media and Communication BA (Hons)

Johnny always knew he wanted to work in radio, and with BCU’s industry-ready facilities and student radio station, he got the experience and skills that he needed. Nowadays, he is a Showbiz Editor and Entertainment Producer for the likes of Times Radio, talkRADIO and TalkTV, as well as hosting his own successful podcast.  

“I fell in love with the medium of radio when I was twelve years old. Every morning, I’d wake up to Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1 and I’d dream of my own career in the radio industry.

My first experience of radio was working at my local hospital radio station. Whilst working there, I met Emma Nouriel. She is a BCU alumna who recommended the university to me and told me all about Scratch Radio, BCU’s official student radio station.

I was so excited to go to university, I applied and was given an unconditional offer, and I loved studying at BCU. I have always enjoyed both theory and practical work so I was looking forward to a course that would allow me to do both.

I joined Scratch Radio on my very first day as part of the Monday lunchtime show, later hosting my own breakfast show each Thursday, where I would invite a celebrity on the phone to talk about their latest project. I had found my niche, so I started interviewing the stars of MTV’s Ex on the Beach and Hollyoaks regularly which led me to where I am now. Scratch Radio allowed me to have the freedom to find my radio voice and to get practice in interviewing.

In 2013, the Perry Barr campus closed, and we moved to the new Millennium Point campus. I remember the excitement my fellow Scratch Radio presenters and producers had to find the new state-of-the-art studio. I remember the excitement of going in there for the first time and it really felt like the radio course was taken care of. In 2014, during our final year project, we ran a 24-hour radio station, and it was a great experience, putting out the breakfast show as a live three-hour show, replicating what you would get in the real world, at 6am before the University had even opened.

During my studies, I did work placements at BBC Essex, BBC Three Counties, Magic Radio, Something Else productions and a few other places. Studying the course allowed doors to open for me to gain work experience.

I loved doing the Media and Communication course as it allowed me to discover my passion behind the theory of radio. Along with my lecturer's mentorship, I was able to create a twenty-minute radio documentary of The Holocaust which took me to Auschwitz to record, which is still my proudest moment, apart from leaving my Dictaphone on an aeroplane which gave me a great life lesson in looking after equipment properly! From this documentary, I was nominated for Best Journalistic Programming and the Creativity Award at the Student Radio Awards 2014 which allowed me to network with producers who I still work with today.

Within a year of graduating, I was working full-time as an Assistant Producer on The Full Set Breakfast with Paul Ross on talkRADIO, waking up at 4am every day. This has since continued, where on weekends I produce Cristo Foufas from 5am on TalkTV each week.

For the past eight years, I have been the Showbiz Editor at talkRADIO and TalkTV, as well as the Entertainment Producer at Times Radio for the past three years. My job involves me using the skills I learned at BCU including communication, editing audio packages and preparing, recording and editing interviews. I have a few hours catching up on emails and sourcing guests before I script guests, record interviews, edit interviews and send news lines to the press. I also produce a few radio and TV shows too, so every day is different.

I have also hosted my own celebrity mental health podcast, ‘Secure The Insecure’, for the past five years, with nearly 300 episodes of celebrities saying it is okay to not be okay.

When I look back at my career so far and the different types of shows I have produced at talkRADIO and TalkTV, using the experiences I learned at BCU, the key for me is talent management and being adaptable. I know I am a great radio producer and I know that I can produce any genre of show; from a show based around feminism, business or entertainment, using the same skillset and values, and just applying different stories as needed.

Being adaptable has allowed me to work with some incredible presenters such as Trisha Goddard, Richard Arnold and Andi Peters. Using the lessons I have learnt from them has made me a better journalist, especially in my podcast which gets press coverage every week.

If I could give any advice to my fellow BCU graduates, it is to be adaptable and resilient. Always say yes and be willing to work silly hours. Choose your battles carefully leave your ego at home, safely away from colleagues.”