I am home from my final day of a week-long internship at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, and am already sorry that I won’t be heading back on Monday morning. Funny though, I wouldn’t have expected to have been saying that based on my first few experiences.
I showed up at the ‘Beeb at 10am on Monday morning, and soon discovered that I would have to be fairly pro-active if I was going to learn anything during the week. There was no one on the premises that appeared to be officially responsible for interns and work-experience students, and the workload was such that no one had very much time to show me the ropes. So, I spent the first hours of my day looking over other people’s shoulders while they worked, more and more worried that my long-awaited internship would be reduced to nothing more than hiding in a corner.
I was, however, saved by the Sue Dougan afternoon show. They were having an absolutely awful time of it (their afternoon guest having canceled at the very last moment), and could use all the help they could get, even in the form of a green intern who could do little more than research and phone-answering.
Thus began the fun, working alongside the show’s producer to run the show. We set up guests, researched stories (I can officially say I “chased a few hot leads”), and just generally kept the boat afloat for the week. The show format was a perfect fit for me as well – three hours of good music and talk, focused on Cambridgeshire county.
By the end of the week, I had worn a variety of different hats – everything from story researcher to phone basher (“Hello, Colin Richardson, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, please come on our show”. Rinse. Repeat) to street reporter (wandering around a public park with a big microphone kit at my side, interviewing strangers) to… uh.. performer.
Y’see, each day we would play an hour of music from a certain year which our listeners would try to identify for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Interspersed with the music would be pop-culture bits and pieces from that year – what movies opened, who was born, who died, etc. Well, today we did 1976, which was, as it turns out, the year that the Muppets went out on their own, leaving Sesame Street for “The Muppet Show”. On a whim, we decided it would be hilarious to have a surprise guest from the Muppets call the Sue Dougan show to say ‘Hi’.
…And how many people in the studio had a North American accent?
Yup. I was live on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire today as Kermit the Frog.
If I can get a copy, and copyright issues allow for it, I’ll have it up for you all to revel in my …y’now what? I have absolutely no idea what I should call it.
But now begins the battle to get myself back into their ranks for another week. I was given the distinct impression from the general casualness around the office that if I can just keep showing up, I could work myself in fairly easily. I’ve already been invited back for a remote recording from Peterborough next Wednesday, and the afternoon crew have welcomed me back on a daily basis – but I first need to clear that with the higher ups which may or may not pose some difficulty… too soon to tell.
It’s humbling to be back down at the bottom of the pile without any experience directly in the field, but at the same time it’s very exciting and I know it won’t take long before I start to feel more comfortable.
In other words, It’s not easy being green, but I’ll be halfway up the stairs before you know it.