Radio legend Jo Whiley opens University radio studio

Date 12.11.2015

The presenter opened a new radio facility bearing her name, “It’s a real honour,” she exclaimed, before facing a large audience at Newton Grand Hall for the Northampton Chronicles. Taking place in front of an audience of students, staff and local people, Jo was in conversation with Journalism lecturer Hilary Scott.

Jo recounted her journey from local to national radio, and on to television, and spoke honestly and candidly about the media industry and her career. Giving advice to students, she said: “I got my foot in the door by doing work experience. I made endless cups of tea and worked in the newsroom.” She went on to advise students to, “be brilliant and nice to everybody. Twenty years later [that person] may be your boss. Get as much work experience as you possibly can. When there, get your head down. Work as hard as you can, don’t be annoying. Be quiet. Do whatever you can to the best of your ability. Be quietly indispensable.”

While speaking fondly of her Northamptonshire roots and her family, Jo entertained the audience with her stories, including the day Jay-Z popped round to her house for tea and basketball: “He was absolutely lovely, he was charming and shooting hoops in the garden.” Jo spoke highly of the support the BBC have given her as a working mother of four, and explained that her children know just how lucky they are to have the opportunities they are given, including meeting Doctor Who (Matt Smith).

Jo is the latest in a series of high profile media and broadcasting personalities to visit the University, with media veteran Raymond Snoddy and ex-BBC Director of Radio Matthew Bannister also taking part in Northampton Chronicle events later this week. Matthew’s appearance gets the thumbs up from Jo: “I owe everything to Matthew Bannister. When he comes in, listen – he’s a very wise and smart man”.

After the radio studio opening, Jo was interviewed by third year journalism students Stephen Humphries and Bhavini Mistry. An MP3 of the interview can be downloaded here.

Raymond Snoddy will discuss – The BBC and other current media travails on Thursday 7 February in MB8, Maidwell Building, Avenue Campus between 1pm – 2pm.

Matthew Bannister’s Chronicle is entitled Ex Boss man speaks and will take place in Newton Main Hall, Avenue Campus also on Thursday 7 February, between 6pm – 7pm. Both events are free and open to all.