Barry Evans writes and appears in radio and TV comedy shows. His work includes The Museum of Everything and Paperback Hell for Radio 4, and The Milk Run for Radio 1. He is based in London.
Can you describe your role?
Basically, I'm paid to be funny! I regularly work writing and performing comedy. I also write material for other performers.
What does working on a show involve?
The first step is to produce the script, which is the most time-consuming part of the job. A script might take a month to write but only an hour to record. Dan and I usually work at one of our houses or at an office at the BBC. We think up ideas and sit together at the computer to write the scripts. The producer of the show will have some input in the scriptwriting process, perhaps suggesting rewrites or possible cuts if the script is too long.
How long does it take?
A topical comedy show based on that week's news has to be assembled a short time before broadcast to ensure it is up-to-date. We would probably work intensively, writing and rehearsing, for about three days before the recording. We could spend several weeks or even months writing the material for a more general sketch show, and then rehearse it on the day of performance.
What about the actual recording?
Some radio shows are recorded in front of a live audience. That's really exciting as you get immediate feedback from the audience. Shows which are more complicated technically, for example those which have lots of sound effects, are likely to be recorded in a studio.
Who else do you work with?
There are some producers that I work with regularly. The producer makes sure the recording runs smoothly, so it is essential to communicate well and understand what we both want. Sound technicians record the show and provide the sound effects. Broadcast assistants keep track of the script, making sure we are saying the right lines. They also time the recorded material so we know how much we have to edit to fit the programme's time slot.
What qualities make a good broadcaster?
A good clear speaking voice is essential. Self-confidence is a must – firstly because this is such a competitive field, but also because if you are really nervous while broadcasting it can show in your voice.
What hours do you work?
Mostly, I set my own hours. When I am writing, I usually work from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday. I try not to work in the evenings and at weekends. However, live recordings are always made in the evening.
What do you like most about your work?
I really like the fact that I get to hear my work broadcast and that I can share my humour with others. I love it when people come up to me and tell me that they have heard and enjoyed my show.
Barry's steps to becoming a broadcast journalist
- Degree in Drama and English.
- Started submitting material to various Radio 4 shows.
- Received in-house training in sound broadcasting with the BBC.
- Listen to the radio and watch TV shows so you know what kind of material is used.
- Taking drama-based subjects at school will help you to develop your performing skills.
- Work experience at a local radio station will allow you to see how programmes are made.
Broadcast journalist related jobs
Salary of a broadcast journalist
- The starting salary at a small independent station is around £12,000 a year.
- A trained announcer/presenter in a large organisation could earn up to £25,000.
- An experienced announcer/presenter working in national radio or TV can earn more than £50,000.
- There are no formal entry qualifications but entry is very competitive.
- Qualifications in subjects like broadcast journalism, drama or media studies can be helpful.
- Skillset offers a professional qualification in Broadcast Journalism at Level 4.
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