Afternoon Aftershock with Cookie
My journey in radio started quite randomly. I never thought about a career in radio when I started university. I thought I would end up being a solicitor or a psychologist. I signed up to study psychology and had every intention of maybe working in mental health. But whilst I was at Goldsmith’s university I somehow stumbled across its student radio station and signed up. I was given an afternoon show 2pm until 4pm. A mate of mine came up with the name “Afternoon Aftershock” with Cookie. I liked it because lets face it not a lot happens at that time of day so I was hoping to change that with my two tiny hours of radio. It was a chilled show with a bit of celeb gossip and mainly RnB, hip hop and pop songs. I loved everything about it, I love to chat and play music, so for me it was easy. I left uni knowing I wanted to continue doing something in radio, but wasn’t really sure how to get into mainstream radio, so I signed up to hospital radio and later down the line community radio just so I could continue what I had already started.
‘Werk werk werk for free!’
After contemplating about whether I should pursue a career in psychology and applying for lots of different jobs and working in various temping roles I eventually decided to focus on a career in radio. It was a risk, there was no guarantee I would get work and my parents weren’t really happy about what I was doing, especially when they found out I would have to work for FREE, to them was unheard of. You’ve spent three years at uni and now you’re working for free or could earn £12,000 a year to start off with. I think they thought it was a phase and I would come to my senses. When they knew I was serious they were really supportive and didn’t hold me back. When I had to get up at 6am to work on the breakfast show at Hayes FM my Mum used to get up early to make me Indian chai. (heart emoji) I sent out lots of letters asking for work experience at various radio stations and eventually I was offered a week at Time 106.6FM in Slough.
I learnt so much about working in a radio news room, working on my voice, learning how to do vox pops. After working for free a lot I was given some freelance shifts and became the weekend news reader. It was a lot of handwork but really fun and because it was in Slough next to Windsor I was given the chance to report on royal visits and was in the same room as the Queen and Prince Phillip. I even covered a royal ceremony for Prince William and his then girlfriend Kate Middleton made an appearance. Working at Time made me realise I definitely wanted a career in news.
‘It’ll be the best money you’ll spend’
Despite working in a news room I still felt I was quite raw and winging it a bit. I wanted to be better at what I was doing. I was advised by a former BBC journalist to do a postgrad in broadcast journalism. He told me it would be the best money I’ll ever spend. So in 2008 that’s what I did, I spent a year at London College of Communication. I learnt all I needed to know about how to be a reporter and newsreader and the legal side of it. Once I finished I did some work experience at the BBC and have been working there ever since. At work I do use my full name as I am not sure a journalist called Cookie would be taken too seriously. Even though most people in the newsroom do call me Cookie.
‘I need more time’
Over the last 7 years I have worked as a reporter, producer, newsreader and editor. Everyday is different, I never clock watch most of the time I’m asking for more time. I know I’m really lucky to be doing the job I’m doing.