A Masters in radio production can thrust you straight into the front line of audio media

There can't be many Masters courses that give you the chance to produce your own comedy or collaborate with Phill Jupitus on an online breakfast show. But that's what Mog McIntyre found himself doing after enrolling as a mature student on Bournemouth University's MA in radio production.

At 27, having spent years marketing electrical goods, a stint on hospital radio was enough to convince McIntyre it was time to stop selling audio and learn to produce it. Barely 12 months later, his credits include a surreal sitcom featuring a cast of talking animals and a radio "comeback" spot for one of the most popular of BBC 6 Music's original presenters.

"I got a buzz doing hospital radio, so I began researching courses. As soon as I saw the equipment and industry links they had at Bournemouth, and where previous graduates had found work, I realised this was the one," he explains. "To be able to work with people as high profile as Phill is incredible. He'd been writing a book about breakfast radio and, as he hadn't done much radio since leaving 6 Music three years ago, he wanted to do a breakfast slot again. So, for one week, he agreed to present a show on our course radio station, BIRSt [Bournemouth Internet Radio Station], and I produced it, which was the scariest experience. Working alongside him was like having a practical tutorial – I learnt so much."

McIntyre quickly decided to use his MA experience to steer his incipient radio career towards entertainment. He followed this up with a placement at BBC Radio's comedy unit, and has submitted a dissertation project consisting of a sitcom pilot starring an obsessive-compulsive warthog. But others have taken their Bournemouth training in very different directions.

Five years after graduating, Abbie Cunliffe, 30, has veered away from front-line production to become a commercial programmer for Global Radio, owner of the Heart and Galaxy networks. Cunliffe, who spends her days vetting scripts and brainstorming programme ideas, recalls: "In our third term, we were encouraged to go on placements, and I ended up working four days a week for talkSport. Because the course is so hands-on, you feel equipped to deal with things in real life. One day at talkSport, I was given 10 minutes to produce a script about the Michael Jackson trial. After taking a deep breath, I thought: 'I can actually do this'."

So, as it prepares to send its 10th batch of graduates out on to the airwaves, what does this £6,000 Masters course offer that others don't? To its founder, the veteran BBC producer, Professor Sean Street, the formula for success is staying one step ahead of developments in a rapidly evolving industry. To this end, the course boasts an advisory board comprising key professionals, including Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, and holds regular sessions at which students take turns to pitch their programme concepts to commissioning editors and officials from the industry regulator, Ofcom. Then there is BIRSt, which, after 10 years as the MA's online answer to Radio 4, has just obtained its first licence to play music.

"For a course like this to work, students must be involved in hands-on production from day one, which means running their own radio station. Right at the start, my feeling was that ours needed to be web-based, because of the direction things were starting to go," says Street. "But 10 years ago, the idea of internet radio stations was pretty unusual. We were also trying something new by making our content available 'on demand' – again, that was clearly going to happen, but we did it long before BBC iPlayer."

A decade on, and Bournemouth is still ahead of the curve. This year's output has included everything from a 30-minute interactive crime drama with five alternative endings to a return to micro-level community broadcasting reminiscent of the home-grown "pirate" radio of old.

Lecturer Jo Tyler, whose industry credits include spells at BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, and 6 Music, where she helped launch Jupitus's breakfast show, explains: "With the consolidation going on in commercial networks and the editorial changes at the BBC, independent community stations are emerging to provide the kind of local coverage others aren't. We're developing close links with those in our area, and some of our students are already going out to work for them."

For more information on the MA in radio production, visit www.bournemouth.ac.uk/courses/MARPRF

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable