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29/01/2013

Exclusive interview with Jim Gellatly

Jim Gellatly

jimgellatly.com

1. Hello, Jim Gellatly! You are the voice of the New Music show In:Demand Uncut (Bauer Radio) across Scotland, and a weekly showcase on online radio station Amazing Radio. How did you first get interested in presenting?

An interest in music came first, when I developed a passion for breaking bands and local acts when I was growing up in Tayside. I figured that being a radio presenter would be a great way to share my enthusiasm for these bands I was into. I don’t think I thought at the time that it would lead to a career. Early knockbacks when I was trying to get a foot in the door of the industry didn’t do my confidence much good, but I eventually got a couple of weeks work experience at Moray Firth Radio in Inverness. From answering the phones and making tea I eventually filled in on the rock show when the presenter was on holiday. MFR was a great training ground, and I did everything from early morning sports reports to commercial production and even scheduling ad breaks. My career could have taken a different turn at any point and it wasn’t for a few years that I actually made a living from presenting radio shows.


2. They say we live in a world where it’s not what you know but who you know that counts, is this true in media and how important is networking and making contacts in the media industry?

It does help to know stuff, but no harm in knowing people as well and building up relationships. If you work hard and you’re reliable, along with a good attitude, that can help you get on. I’d like to think I’m a nice person. Sometimes too nice. I always joke when I’m asked to speak to students, that they might one day be my boss!

3. What do you feel is more important to have to get a job in presenting either experience or education like a media degree at University?

Personally, I only did a media studies course when I left school and went straight to a radio station after a year to do unpaid work. I learned most of what I know about radio by working at radio stations, but It’s probably more competative than ever know with so many media/radio courses on offer. A media degree might push you ahead of the competition when chasing a job in radio, but it’s certainlt not something you must have. If anything a non media qualification (or experience) may be more advantagious as it might give you a broader life experience.

4. Have you got any interesting stories about people you’ve spoken to on air?

Plenty. I once interviewed a college lecturer when I was doing a live show from Manchester during the In The City Unsigned Festival. I thought he was a former member of a top band now teaching on a music business course. It turned out I was interviewing a totally different guy. I’m not sure he twigged. I’ve interviewed a lot of bands over the years rasnging from Nirvana to the Spice Girls. Despite my music tastes, the pop interviews are often a lot easier because these acts have had media training. ‘Proper’ musicians don’t often care for the promotional side.


5. Have there been many major technical problems while you’ve been on air? How did you sort them out?

It’s now much easier no that I play most music out digitally. Backtiming was never my thing, but technology makes that a bit easier. The first ever show I did, the vinyl I was playing ran out a good minute before I expected it to. I had to fill for that minute before the news and it was terrifying!

6. What changes do you see on the horizon for media or presenting?

There are certainly interesting times ahead. Thanks to the digital revolution it’s never been easier to create audio content and get it out there. I’ve been doing a weekly podcast since 2008 when I left Xfm Scotland but still wanted to do something with all the new music I was hearing. I just do it at home with the minimal outlay on equipment and even created the production myself at home. I couldn’t have done that 10 years ago. Anyone can be a content provider now thanks to internet radio and brilliant platforms like mixcloud. Perhaps conventional radio is being left behind. Hopefully I’ve now got feet in both camps! Anyone can create a playlist on services like spotify now, so why would anyone listen to mainstream radio for the music alone. Presenters like myself will hopefuilly continue to be important as trusted curators of the music that’s out there.


7. What advice would you give to any young person wanting to make a career in Radio or TV presenting?

Don’t wait to find a radio station to hire you. Get started straight away by creating your own podcast, or even creating video content on YouTube. My daughters into YouTube in a big way and there’s a huge community out there bypassing conventional media. Some guys make a healthy living a YouTubers, and it’s led to bigger things. Dan and Phil who do Sunday evenings on BBC Radio 1 are a perfect example. My daughter listens to them religiously despite them being on at the same time as me!

8. If you weren’t in radio, what do you think you’d be doing now?

I’d like to think I’d be involved in music in some way, but realistically I’d probably be on the dole or stacking shelves. My late father and grandfather were both accountants and chairmen of Dundee FC, but I struggle with my own financial affairs so that was never an option!

9. What do you hope to achieve in the future?

I love what I’m doing at the moment, but I wouldn’t mind doing the show nightly rather than weekly. Just so much great music out there!


10. Thank you very much for your time! A final note from Jim Gellatly…

If it’s not a passion, don’t bother!

Interview made by Adriana L.L. © 2013 DJs Arena, Music-News Romania. All rights reserved.



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