“I’ve gained so many amazing friends, really fun experiences and a plethora of knowledge that has set me up for life.”
It’s not often that dreams come true, but for Capital Radio presenter Emily Sandford, having her own show on her favourite station means that the dream has become a reality.
Emily graduated from BU in 2014 after studying for a BA (Hons) in Radio and now presents a solo show on Capital South Coast on Saturdays and Sundays between 12 and 4pm, often covering the breakfast and drive-time shows too.
“I always wanted to be a presenter," Emily remembers.
"I grew up listening to Capital FM, and I love music and entertainment so it's a dream come true to have my own solo show on the station. I chose BU because the BA (Hons) Radio course really appealed to me on paper. It was a niche choice, but I knew I wanted to work in radio before university so it made sense.
"For me, Bournemouth was the only place I visited on an open day and felt instantly like I belonged there. BU really understands students - everything from the marketing to the style of the campus is always very up to date.”
Emily’s career has gone from strength to strength since leaving BU with time spent working both as a presenter and producer for the Capital Network; working on a comedy series for the BBC and Project Management for the Global Group – the UK’s largest commercial radio company.
“My career journey has involved a lot of hard work and patience. I’ve worked in many aspects of radio from advertising, to producing, to music team assisting. All my jobs in radio have been very different but this has helped me see radio from every aspect. They've been great stepping stones to where I am now.”
Many people may question whether you really need a degree in radio to work at a radio station? Or whether radio skills come naturally or they can be taught on a degree course? For Emily, the degree was a varied mix of presenting, production and broadcast history that helped her on her journey to be a professional broadcaster.
“My bachelor degree has been a welcome addition to my CV and has definitely been a foot in the door. My course didn’t just involve production; it involved Broadcast History too, which has helped me know my industry in better depth. A lot of people say to me ‘do you think you needed a degree in radio to work in radio?’ and my personal answer is yes!
"It was my personality that got me signed as a presenter, but immersing myself into one specific subject I loved for three years made me really passionate about my industry! Passion is everything if you want to be at the top of your field and game. By the time I had graduated I definitely knew what I wanted to do in life - and that was to work in entertainment and broadcasting.”
Time spent working at BU’s student radio station Nerve while studying not only helped Emily hone her broadcasting skills, it also proved to be an award-winning experience.
“Being part of Nerve allowed me to perfect my radio skills and apply for the Student Radio Awards which is a national awards ceremony that recognises new radio talent in the UK every year. It’s a huge ceremony in the Radio Industry Calendar, and in 2014 (the day before I graduated) I won three SRA awards: Gold for ‘Best Entertainment Show’, Bronze for ‘Best Female Presenter’ and the Bronze ‘Kevin Greening Award’ for Outstanding Creativity.
"I joke, but I felt like Beyoncé at the Grammys. It's really enhanced my career and it was actually the first time BU had ever received one of those awards.”
Dedication and hard work aside, Emily has some useful advice for anyone considering studying for a degree at BU – focus.
“My advice would be, ‘don’t be blindsided by what everyone else is doing or wants to do in the future’. You have to trust the timing of your life. Have your own vision, work on that, and only compete with yourself.
"The entertainment industry (as everyone knows) is very competitive, but time spent worrying about what everyone else is doing is time you could spend perfecting yourself and your skills. I would also like to add that being confident in yourself and having that passionate fire in your body is the key to success. Love your industry from the core, work really hard and always be extra lovely to everyone you meet on your way.”
Emily recommends BU for both its industry reputation and as a great place to live and study.
“You’ll be surprised how many companies in media recognise BU as the best in the field. BU churns out very talented people, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the industry.
"Obviously I could talk about spending days on the beach, and the incredible nights out, but my highlight was definitely the people I met. I made some unbelievable friends at Bournemouth - people I’ll be acquainted with for life! Everyone I met was so down to earth, on-it, ambitious and genuinely fabulous to be around! I’m so happy all of them are doing so well now.”
She added that her incredible career journey was far from over.
"Each day I pinch myself," Emily said: "I can’t believe my hard work and patience has got me my own show on my favourite station (which is so iconic)!
"Essentially my career is only just beginning - exciting developments are currently taking place, but nothing I can discuss yet. Sorry to be a big old tease!”