Familiar to millions from his work on BBC TV and Radio 2, Ore Oduba grew up in Wimborne Minster, just outside of Bournemouth. A multi-talented journalist, broadcaster and presenter, Ore’s first break was on CBBC. His career has since encompassed sports reporting - including covering the 2016 Rio Olympics; presenting This Morning for ITV, The One Show for BBC 1 and sitting in for many presenters on BBC Radio 2 including Steve Wright in the Afternoon and Claudia Winkleman on Sunday. Last year, he won Strictly Come Dancing with partner Joanne Clifton, scoring a maximum 40 points for their showcase dance and their jive. Today, Bournemouth University is delighted to award Ore an Honorary Doctorate of Arts.
And it’s not an honour he was expecting:
"This is a day I didn’t see coming. It’s such a special honour to be here. I didn’t go to Bournemouth University but Bournemouth and Dorset has been my home for nearly 30 years so to be here and to be asked by the university to come back and to receive this award, here with my family, to be here enjoying all of this, is a real honour."
With a prestigious ten years of broadcasting at the top of the industry behind him, Ore is now in a good position to offer advice to those considering a career in media – in particular students who have chosen to study at BU.
“They’ve come to the right place. I had BU as one of my options, because I knew that the pedigree for Broadcast Journalism was right up there and I have a number of friends and colleagues that I worked with and still do now who came here – so the proof is in the pudding.”
“I think it’s a great career, it’s a great industry to be in. I’ve always loved television, always loved broadcasting, and I get to do what I love every day. But that only came from real hard work, real drive, real industry, set up and built up by my parents, and then the institutions that I went to – whether it was school, on the sports field, or university. So they’re onto a good one; they’re onto a winner but they’ve got to keep working hard because it’s tough and very competitive and people will try to slip a rug under you if you’re not watching, but stand firm and get it right and you’re on for a great ride.”
With such a wide and varied career path encompassing radio, TV and sport, Ore has always given equal priority to each media.
“I don’t have a preference, I think it’s all part of the pie, I’ve always been quite varied, even when I started doing Children’s BBC I was doing as much as I could as I think it all plays a part of me as a broadcaster. Being on television there’s so many amazing things to be able to do. And radio as well, I always felt like radio and me was a great fit, because it takes a lot of slap to make me look TV ready, believe me, so being on the radio wearing some slacks, and having that intimacy with the listener: that’s bringing broadcasting back to its basics. So I love it all. I’m really fortunate to get to do these amazing things and Radio 2 is like Strictly, it’s an institution, people love it and have loved it for years. So my thinking is, once I’ve done my recent stint, I’m going to chain myself to a desk there and never let go - I’m in it for the long haul!”
Any tips for graduates who want to emulate your career path?
“Genuinely, it’s all about working hard, and it’s about enjoying the journey. I’ve been lucky that in the ten years I’ve been doing this professionally, I’ve been able to do some amazing things, and I keep trying to push myself, I had the best time on the way before they started paying me for it. Because if you don’t love it, then you don’t want to have to be doing it for the rest of your life, so keep enjoying it, keep working hard, and keep aiming really high. If you want a career in this industry, in broadcasting, you’ve got to be yourself - you are the only person who can bring what is ‘you’; something unique, your own USP. You can learn from others, definitely pick up on those tit bits of information from people you admire and you respect, but it’s only you that can be you - and there is no other you out there and that’s what’s going to make you stand out.”
Perhaps the most important question for a man in Ore’s position – a member of a truly exclusive club – what’s more important to you, lifting the glittery trophy as the winner of Strictly Come Dancing or being awarded an honorary doctorate by BU?
“That was so last year, wasn’t it? It’s 2017! Thank you Bournemouth!”