Simon Mayo Describes His Time On University Of Warwick Student Radio
Hear BBC Radio 2 Presenter and Warwick Alumnus Simon Mayo talk about starting his radio career on Warwick’s University’s student radio stations RaW 1251AM.
Watch our Simon Mayo Warwick University Video on YouTube.
In November 2014, Warwick Alumnus Simon Mayo and film critic Mark Kermode visited Warwick Arts Centre on their Film Review tour. Warwick University’s Student Radio Station, RaW 1251AM caught up with them to discuss Simon’s start in radio, advice for student presenters and film critics and whether Film Studies has an important place in academia.
What advice would you give for people wanting to get into Radio Presenting?
"I had a great time when I was here, there was that feeling of here is a radio station with a bunch of records go in and enjoy yourself which is to be honest, that's still the best way to make radio programs... with one presenter and a whole bunch of music you know [and] some music that you feel really passionate about.."
"I have no idea if anyone was listening at all but it was great. I did this show called Pajamarama, [proper] late night stuff and then a guy came in and did a gossip column which he entirely made up based on things that he thought might have happened around campus but almost certain hadn't. It was terrific!"
"As far as advice I would say volunteer. Do stuff for no money because that's the only way you're going to put yourself head and shoulders above anyone else."
"The first proper work I did for no money was at Radio Brighton, I put records away in their in their library. I just wanted to be there, it's just hanging around and when they say who can we get who'll do something for nothing, they'll say 'why don't you get that kid he'll do it'. Unfortunately that's the way it is and then if you do a lot of stuff for nothing then maybe someday someone will say, 'I know we'll pay you a pittance' because it's pretty tough. I would say, you know, do as much as you can voluntary but Hospital Radio whatever it is just do it, put it on the CV, impress."
Watch: Full Interview with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Review.
What advice would you give to people wanting a career in Film Criticism?
"In terms of film criticism, there's only two things as I see it... [watch] lots of films now, because you know time is short and there's a lot! There's like a hundred years of cinema, there's a lot of catching up to do. There's a terrible moment when you're about 16 and you get into late-night cinema and you realize that if you sit in the screening room for the rest of your life you're only ever going to scratch the surface!"
"As far as the professional career is concerned, I would say hitch your wagon to one of them (points at Simon Mayo) and hang on to them for dear life because you know it is largely due to Simon that I have any any media career whatsoever and as I've said a million times he's more than a friend he's a pension plan!"
Do you think there is an importance to film studies and studying film?
“Film is, you know, the great medium of the moment - it is arguably the art form of the 20th century and the 21st century things are changing because people have got digital and video games. I think cinema is as thriving and vibrant as an art form as literature or as theatre or as television.”
“Roger Ebert, the great American humanist critic... there was a lovely documentary about him called 'Life Itself' in which there's readings from his work throughout his life and one of the things that he thought was that movies were a way of people discussing ideas. Everyone sits together in a room and watches something they all have something in common and it is a way of talking about things whether it's 'Interstellar' or 'Boyhood' or 'Frank' or 'Dude On The Blue Cat' doesn't matter. If you have a shared experience it's communal and actually the very title of that movie, 'Life Itself' kind of alluded to what he was about... which was that movies are, on some level, Life Itself so yes, of course, Film Studies is important. It's a really, really, important subject and I wish you nothing but the best with it.”
Simon Mayo Warwick University