Fast track: A-Z of Employers Gwr Radio
Thursday 25 June 1998
History: When Wiltshire Radio and Radio West (Bristol) merged in 1985, GWR was the result. From 1992, the group expanded acquiring radio stations across the south of England - including Chiltern Radio - and then in the Midlands, and finally, Europe. In 1997, GWR bought Classic FM, after being instrumental in its birth five years before. The group now plans to operate the UK's first national digital radio service.
Address: Headquarters is in Oxford Street, London, the same base as GWR's sales company Opus. The group has 36 stations in the UK, plus others in Austria, Finland, Poland and Bulgaria, and associates in South Africa.
Ambience: Each radio station is self-managing, with teams of between 16 and 30 people, so it's quite a cosy atmosphere. There are several departments (sales, engineering, production), and employees are encouraged to build links across the group.
Vital statistics: The company, which last year had a potential audience of 11 million listeners in the UK, employs around 750 staff, plus another 100 world-wide. Last year's revenue was estimated at approximately pounds 73.8m with pounds 14.1m pre-tax profits.
Lifestyle: A spokesman claims it's "hard work, good fun and a bit of glamour". Hours for operational staff can be long, but there's a chance to use your initiative.
Easy to get into? Commitment and ability are the two major provisos for a job. Some qualifications are required if you want to get into the engineering side, while if you have aspirations to produce or present, you need to be talented and persistent, with some experience (in college radio, for example) under your belt.
Glittering alumni: Radio 1's Chris Moyles, Dale Winton and Capital FM's Neil Fox and James Cannon, plus Radio 1's head of production Grant Buckerfield.
Pay: Very much down to local conditions: the bigger the station is, the more you get paid: the downside is that it's more difficult to get a spot and keep it on these stations. Presenters have the potential to earn a six-figure sum.
Training: Each department runs its own training course, and the group itself runs management and development courses. Managers hold regular sessions to assess training needs. "The radio business isn't terribly qualification-driven; it's more about practical capability," says a spokesman.
Facilities: Not much in the way of canteens, although a spokesman points out that "every station has something to make coffee in, and somewhere to drink it". There are also plenty of bars and pubs near most stations.
Who's the boss? Ralph Bernard, who founded Wiltshire Radio, is the overall chief, and has been since 1985.
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