Producer at BBC Asian Network
Graduated in 2015
Former School of Media student, Hardeep Dhadda, answered a few questions for us about her time at Birmingham City University and what she has been doing since she graduated in 2015.
Why did you choose to study at Birmingham City University?
I found that a lot of university’s media courses focused on journalism or TV, but at BCU it was different, there were a lot of options – events, photography, TV, journalism, radio, photography, design and web.
At the time of starting the course I was a pretty confused 20-year-old. I knew I wanted to work in media, I liked radio but I didn’t want to commit to something so having options allowed me to explore all the different areas.
I was also looking for a course that was a good balance of theory and practical – after reading lots of textbooks in school and sixth form, I actually wanted to learn the skills I’d need in the industry instead of reading about them.
Did you know the area of the media you wanted to work in while you were at University?
I always knew I liked radio, but I wasn’t 100 per cent certain that would be the field I would go into. Even radio has so many different areas you could work in, during university I did the radio documentaries module for example – that gave me a chance to really work on my story-telling skills. It wasn’t something I would have thought excited me, but I found it fun.
Did the course help you in your chosen career?
I learnt a lot about the basics of radio, communicating messages, getting a point across in a succinct way, marketing and branding, and things like that. It’s made me quite savvy and I know I’ve learnt a lot of skills that are now useful in my career. I think three years at university gave me time to perfect my craft, which is not something you can always do on the job when you have time restrictions and other restraints.
Were the industry placements useful to you?
Definitely, I did placements at Sky, BBC Radio One & 1Xtra, Free Radio, Genting Arena and more. Without these I wouldn’t know what it is actually like to work in environments like this. You can say you want to work somewhere, the idea of it might sound appealing, but you don’t know the actual day-to-day tasks that go into making that happen if you don’t actually go out there and do it. They were useful because they showed me where I wanted to be and where I didn’t want to be – they were inspiring too.
What career are you in now?
Currently I’m a producer at BBC Asian Network. Since I left university, I have worked on over 16 different programmes across BBC Radio One, Two, 1Xtra and Asian Network. I’ve also made my own radio documentary, launched brand new presenters and worked with some seasoned ones too.
If you could go back in time and give your student self some advice, what would it be?
Just relax and enjoy your time at university. Get really involved in all the Welcome Week activities, you might not get these opportunities after you finish university and have a job.
Do you have any advice for students who are looking to enter the industry?
- Go above and beyond - I think it’s important to always go above and beyond, take everything you do that one step further, if you have a job interview and they ask you to complete a task, complete that task to the absolute max. In my second year I had a job interview when they asked me to come up with a feature idea for a show, I didn’t just come up with a feature idea, I went and recorded it and bought it to life. Sometimes people actually need to see the end result to believe in it.
- Sam Coley (Radio Lecturer) always used to say, ideas are your currency and he is right. Sometimes I scroll through the Radio One playlist to see if I can turn song titles into an idea for a viral video – and most of the time I can, because it’s my job to think of quirky ideas.
- If you’re mad someone else has got somewhere first – then why didn’t you do it first? There’s been a few times I’ve seen a viral video and thought oh my god, I could have done that, then the truth hits me – the difference between that person and me is that person actually got up and did it.
- Ignore people who say ‘the media industry is hard’ – everything is hard but if I can do it why can’t you? If you think about every industry in the world right now, you can probably name six people who have said that industry is ‘hard’. People throw that word around, but in reality, no it’s not that hard, you just have to try a bit.
- I was told because I didn’t have a smart phone in my first week of university, I would not make it in media. That might be true in 2018, it wasn’t true in 2012. You can borrow whatever you want from university in terms of equipment, create your own content and create your own hype. You don’t need to be rich and buy your own stuff, take advantage of the equipment and the facilities.
What has been the favourite part of your career so far?
In May 2018, I helped launch a brand-new residency show on BBC Asian Network – this gave me the chance to work with four massively talented DJs with varying degrees of radio experience. Launching these new shows were fun – I got to work with four unique personalities and see what their individual unique selling points were, that’s got a lot to do with marketing and branding and trying to work out who they are and what they would sound like on-air. It also involved brainstorming feature ideas for their shows and making some fun little jingles.