Interview: 30 Under 30 winner Tim Johns

Previous ReelWorld Radio Academy 30 Under 30 winner Tim Johns talks about the initiative ahead of this year’s launch.

The search for the industry’s top talent is taking place on Tuesday 24th May at Under the Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club.

Tim Johns is a producer and reporter for the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2. Sometimes he edits the show and once even presented it (when Jeremy lost his voice halfway through!). Tim’s background is in producing and presenting in BBC Local Radio (in Lincolnshire and Humberside) and he has strong links with the student radio community after four years at the University of Edinburgh’s ‘Fresh Air’ and a year as Marketing Officer for the SRA.

What do you see as the value in recognition of this sort?

The radio industry is competitive, and ‘every little helps’. So…I struggle to see why anyone would not want to be on this list! 30 under 30 has grown in profile to the point where anyone who’s anyone in radio knows what it is and understands that people coming to them with it on their CV are worth taking a closer look at. Radio bosses are keen to have their staff represented on this list. It’s clearly the place to be.

How did being selected for the 30 under 30 help your career or profile within the business?

I was lucky enough to have the job I wanted when I got on the ’30’ list so not much changed there. But there’s no harm in everyone in the building knowing you got on the list; it all helps your professional profile.

Did you nominate yourself or were you nominated – if you put yourself forward, what was your motivation? If you were nominated – can you tell us why?

A mixture. Those who kindly nominated me told me first. I also asked a couple of people who I knew really rated me to add their voice to the mix. There’s no doubt that a few well-respected people writing very nice things about you gives you a better chance of being successful!

I vaguely attempt to be modest on occasion so I won’t guess why people nominated me!

What advice would you give the next generation trying to progress within the radio industry?

The majority of people I know who really wanted to work in the industry and persevered for long enough got a radio job in the end – and often not the one they first set out for. So persevere, and be open to the range of opportunities out there. Also…be good at what you do! Being ‘good’ is more important than how impressive your CV looks. If you need to rise above your competitors go for the DIY approach – start your own podcast, write your own blog, get vlogging – improve your skills and have an online presence and portfolio. If I Google your name with the word ‘radio’ and you don’t appear that’s not ideal if you’re just starting out.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

“Every job you go for is a campaign.” For the dream jobs out there you don’t just see an application form, fill it in, and get the job. Even once you’ve got a foot in the door you have to really persevere long-term to move on.

Do you think enough is done in the media industry to help young people progress up the career ladder?

Actually, I do. The BBC, the major commercial radio operators, the Radio Academy and SRA have – between them – a wealth of opportunities. The plain fact of it is that it’s a crowded and competitive industry where talent will often shine through. If you have too many schemes to help young people progress that’s also not fair because there simply aren’t enough jobs at the other end of the rainbow.

Have you had a mentor or somebody who has inspired you and/or helped positively influence your career?

Too many to mention! So many people have been so kind to me and I’ve been lucky to work with some wonderful folk. My boss at work is Phil Jones and he’s quite remarkable. I have a lot to thank him for. But let me mention William Wright who I worked with at Radio Lincolnshire. He’s fantastically creative, sharp, intelligent and a superbly talented all-round broadcaster (he presents Drivetime). Working with him I was able to spread my wings and do creative and fun work which got noticed.

For booking and more information on the 30 under 30 launch, see here.

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