Virgin Radio is back and better than ever, with a brand new schedule and a new line-up of presenters ready to throw their skills at the microphone once again to a fresh and old-school audience. So with the new revolution in Virgin Radio already in full swing, GMA thought it would be a good idea to interrogate one of these lovely creatures from the Virgin Radio army. Georgie was the only one not to run and hide and so we asked her some questions about her past, what she wants to achieve, how it feels to have her own show on Virgin Radio and perhaps even more crucial, what the future holds for the next generation of aspiring Radio DJ's.
Georgie was more than happy to share with us her past experiences in the radio industry and unsurprisingly her background was not a shock, having avid interest in the radio industry helped her get her foot on the ladder so to speak. She explained that whenever she jumped into her mum's car, no matter what she was listening to Georgie would change it to another station be it BBC Radio 1 or the like, however whilst she studied an English and Drama degree at University in the hope she could develop her skills into becoming an actress, she did not feel that she fit well enough into the profession of which her degree is related to.
At the end of her course she felt that acting wasn't for her, so after graduating she sent out CV's and letters to various organisations including the BBC in Birmingham and TV production companies, radio stations; she did a program with her mate on Sunday's on the Student Radio at University, involving playing music and general chat. She found herself doing some work experience through a friend of a friend who was on Jersey, culminating in her presenting some radio shows on Channel 103, Georgie became hooked and following her time in Jersey she had a month's stint at Virgin (talk about deja vu). Her time at Virgin lead her to her having a show on XFM - transitioning from internships to a proper paid radio position in the process.
At XFM she was able to interview bands on the red carpet, thus drawing in the journalism aspect of her career, Georgie went on to admit that despite "Uni planting the seeds, it took quite a little bit of time to find my way", clearly it has worked out for her in the end admitting that she whilst she was lucky she enjoyed what she was doing. Although some University Radio Stations trump others, Georgie definitely feels that all of them give aspiring radio journalists or people who want to work in the radio industry a platform to jump upon, alluring to the notion that her first times in radio were out of her comfort zone that is not of the norm, that it's different. In fact she's met people who have come through radio and have had student radio experience, not just at the annual Student Radio Awards but in general.
In terms of those who want to start a career or be part of the whole radio industry experience including local people as well as students, Georgie says this:-
"Go for it, if you really want to work in radio, show your commitment, try and get as much experience as you can, be a 'sponge' in terms of soaking up everything you can from everyone around you, or people who are working in the industry. A big thing I've noticed is that you should be nice to everybody, because you don't know who will end up being your boss in a few years time".
Reflecting back to her internship and time working at XFM, the producer at the time was the boss at XFM, four years later he gave Georgie her first live open gig, she adds that:-
"Those relationships you hatch along the way are so important, be really nice, be good at your job, get in front of peoples faces but learn the line and know where that line is, so don't be too pushy or too much and just learn the part, if you really want to work in radio you can make it happen... it can be quite a difficult industry to get into and to work your way up... but starting on those local stations, in hospital radio, getting involved with all of that sort of things early on really helps you out and then you want to tap up the bigger and national stations. So it's really important to get as much experience as you can... learn how to edit audio, learn how to make packets, learn how to put shows together and learn the guidelines, OFCOM rules, that kind of thing - this is the sort of thing bigger stations will look for when it comes to internships, people who want to forge a career."
Reflecting back on her student days she kinda of felt that she foreseen herself working for a big station like Virgin Radio due to her knack of being direct, admitting her desire to work for a big station - setting it up as a goal for her, an ambition to go for without stopping for anything. Having been in the industry eight years now, it's safe to say she's achieved a lot - just by sticking to it. With the eight years paying off with her first show on Virgin Radio's relaunch, Georgie admitted she was excited at the prospect as she had her internship there back in 2007, with her first Virgin Radio show allowing her to pick the music for the show, bring in bands, etc the freedom to have that element of creativity that was not available to her during her stint at XFM. She admitted that her "first show was really nerve-racking"... whilst she was talking either an ambulance or police car was blaring out past her, but despite that she admitted the experience was nerve-racking because it was a whole new desk and was completely different from what she was used to, "it's a bit like driving a new car where everything is the other way around to what you are used to", now she's rearing to add new elements to her show including interviews and music.
However she wasn't that nervous with her first show on Virgin Radio given her previous experiences at other radio stations, "sometimes you have to catch yourself before you go on air and think actually there's a lot of people listening, you have to have the attitude of 'I've got this' even if you feel a bit nervous"; seeing as the radio station had it's restart this was what Georgie was most nervous about seeing as it's a new audience and not "a ready-made audience that were all just going to be there", but overriding the nerves was the pressure even though both go hand-in-hand in this case, however Georgie feels she's comfortable with it all even though outsiders would think of her profession as a bizarre one adding "it's a strange thing to do (being a radio DJ) playing records and essentially talking to yourself in a room, but it's hugely fulfilling to play the music that I love", of course being creative is what sparks off new opportunities and new ventures as well as adventures, so for Georgie this has to be her career highlight.
Speaking about her show, which focuses on new music and live sessions, Georgie obliged in telling us what it entails right down to the very core:-
"It's called Music Discovery, it's mainly new music but it could be about Radiohead (who recently brought a new album out) or it could be an unsigned band that I have played at my club night, it could be an unsigned band that friends told me about, it could be new music from all corners where it's something from a different country in the world or whatever, I want it to be full of surprises and then I want it to be really broad. I'm so lucky I have carte blanche to do that, and that my boss sees the value in that, so really with the new music we wanted to pepper it with older classics as well... to have some moments where you get to play something that someone hasn't heard... so that's kind of the basis for it really: just some really great music, mainly new peppered with some classics and I don't hold back, I've had anything from Led Zeppelin live sessions played to Tribal Quest, to the Beastie Boys to Pearl Jam to Sébastien Tellier, just really brilliant tracks that just aren't forgettable"
Georgie is no strange to live sessions as she's done these on Brighton Festival Radio back in the day with a show featuring the likes of Ben Howard and Daughter before their careers kicked off massively, "I asked them to come and play and they did live sessions on air with me, which was incredible and now that I think about it, I feel like crazy because they're in their own rights pretty famous, Ben Howard has really smashed it. Daughter have made a name for themselves here and in America... really eager to get bands in (on her Virgin Radio show) playing live music... so yeah I've got experience from it and I've also got experience of it on XFM, when iTunes Festival happened I was covering the evening show at the time", live sessions are a great way of bringing the artist closer to the audience without them paying to see them, but also bands and artists have in the past done songs in acoustic form or another form of music style which really makes it all worthwhile listening to.
For some journalists and radio DJ's, the whole topic of separating your professional side from your social side has always been debated upon, but for Georgie she feels that you should keep both intact as she goes on to explain:-
"Not really because I feel when you have bands on your show, or when you do an interview, it's like having a chat - that's how I view it, you want to get bands to the point where they feel comfortable with you and you want to feel comfortable with them, so usually I found that it's just like having a chat on air and likewise they'll have a talk with you as well... generally when bands come in they want to be there just as much as you do, more often than not it's just a nice experience really".
Working in the music industry gives you a wide range of experiences through its diverse range of professional interests, however naturally with any field of work it throws up challenges that ironically become interesting experiences as well, so what challenges and experiences does Georgie face when doing her daily routine of being a Radio DJ?
"I'm one of these people who have quite a few different strings to my bow, I've got the DJ side of my career where I play at clubs and at festivals, I've also got the promoting side where I run a club night with friends which has been going for a few years and so that's promoting and booking artists and then DJ'ing at it, I also have the presenting side of things - presenting radio, on-camera stuff, online content, comparing events like the Rolling Stones exhibitions last year, so I've got a lot of things going on within being a presenter so my day-to-day is very different, I have show-prep time in the week now... involving checking emails, reading blogs, checking music that's coming my way and then selecting tunes, sending my playlist to Richard (Wilkinson) who's head of music at Virgin, downloading the tunes, uploading the tunes, finished them then preparing the show, and then doing the show... every week is different really, I don't have a day-to-day routine - some weeks can be quiet and then some could involve me working all the time, but generally it's doing what I love in radio"
Surprising to some, Georgie actually worked with Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2, so what was all that about?
"Within my role at BBC 6 Music which is a freelance music journalist which I've done since 2008, that was where I really got the grounding in journalism and learnt how to be a music journalist, and how to be a broadcaster journalist, so I go and cover different journalists whenever they're off, be it being sick or on holiday, etc I go in and chat with Shaun on the breakfast show or practise with Radcliffe and Maconie on the afternoon show, part of that job is doing a bulletin on Ken Bruce's show on BBC Radio 2 so whenever I cover the breakfast show ever on BBC 6 Music, if I do a whole week then I get to go chat with Ken Bruce and tell him about the big stories of the week which is every now and then, so it's really nice and sometimes it's with Zoe Ball or people that cover his show, he's just the nicest man in the world, which is very great and he makes you feel at ease because BBC Radio 2 is the mother-ship, and BBC Radio 2 is the one my mum tunes into and she'd be like 'Oh I heard you on Rad 2 today' and it's always quite a 'proud mum' moment"
Due to Georgie's hectic schedule through DJ'ing, producing, running club nights, everything that she has aforementioned, does she have any time to chill out and unwind, what about any hobbies or interests that she has? Turns out she has it all sussed out:-
"I love going to gigs, love going to theatre, I love sport but at the moment I'm a bit out of action, I love snowboarding and have been getting into surfing, but I managed to break my knee cap into six pieces at the beginning of the year, so I've been a bit off-game so I'm recovering from that... but yeah just like a active lifestyle around London and have got lots of friends who live in sort of East and North London, so I can't get on the bicycle at the moment... just like cycling around, going to my local parks, to galleries, to the cinema - love a good film! Generally I just fill time outside of it with lots of hobbies, I think I'm quite good at walking out of work and switching off and just enjoying my social time, I think it's so important to do that when you're freelancing, you're trying to juggle all these things and I think if you're kind of always thinking about work and always in the 'workhead' it can drive you a bit crazy, sometimes when you're freelancing you'll have a month where it's a bit quieter, but enjoy that time because the next month will be so busy that you're kinda chasing your tail and you don't really get that down time".
When asked about sending out greetings, Georgie wanted to thank "the team at Virgin Radio for being so brilliant and all so lovely, they're a really good gang and I feel so privileged to have met everybody and be part of it".
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