Editor of BBC Music James Stirling visited BU to share his industry knowledge with radio production students.
Postgraduate radio production students along with some of their undergraduate counterparts were treated to a talk and a Q&A session.
In his lecture James spoke about his early career aspirations to be a musician, the radio professionals who inspired him and his experience in commercial and public radio. He explained his involvement in the growth of BBC 6 Music and about his current role where he has a creative and strategic influence on BBC Music, including the hiring of new producers and presenters for BBC radio stations.
Throughout, James emphasised the importance of having original creative ideas and the dangers of becoming stuck in unchallenging routines.
James was asked about the opportunities that were open to radio students today compared to when he started his career. He said: “I think people should take heart from a brilliant digital world that’s around now. When I started in radio it was very different, it was a very linear platform, and actually with the advent of digital radio, smart phones and podcasting there’s a lot to be happy about.
I think there’s a genuine creative opportunity for people who are leaving university right now. If you’ve got the right idea there are many different ways for that to manifest itself and I think it’s a fantastic time to be involved in the industry.”
James explained that his love of music was what drew him to a career in radio and he began by writing to the producers and presenters he admired before getting his first job. His advice to BU’s students was to find a way to do what they love, saying: “I think the one piece of advice I would give is to really focus on what it is that interests you and to be able to identify other people that have more experience in doing that and really try to share their knowledge."
After giving a talk to students James was taken on a tour of the facilities in the Faculty of Media & Communication before joining students in the radio studios for an hour-long Q&A.
He said: “I haven’t stepped into a university for 20 years so for me personally it was really invigorating walking in. It just felt that there was a buzz around the place. The facilities here in the radio faculty are amazing as well, and clearly everyone is quite keen on progressing their careers so there’s a great atmosphere.”