Keele Alumnus and BBC Radio Presenter shares how his time at Keele gave him a taste for his dream career

Having graduated from Keele in 1995 with a degree in French, Russian and Psychology, Simon Pryde has been a radio presenter at the BBC for almost 20 years, in a career which has seen him work at some of the largest sporting events in the world.

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Simon Pryde interviewing the Brownlee brothers after the 2016 Rio Olympic Triathlon

I am a sports presenter at the BBC in Newcastle. My main role involves putting together, and then presenting, a two hour radio show each weekday evening. It’s called Total Sport, but mainly covers football. I present it with a couple of ex-footballers, so it involves a mixture of journalism and radio production, as well as presenting and operating the mixing desk.

As someone for whom sport has always been important, it’s the perfect job for me. I love it! Since joining the BBC nearly 20 years ago I’ve also done football commentaries, presented news programmes, reported from various big events and worked in television. I also do some freelance work, mainly for a company called Olympic Broadcast Services. I’ve been to the last three Games, and last two Winter Games, where I interviewed athletes and made TV features for a global audience.

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Simon presenting the BBC Radio Newcastle Total Sport show with Newcastle FC player Alex Saint Maximin as a guest.

After Keele, I took a year off and, having got a taste for radio at KUBE, got a little more radio experience. I then got a place at what is now the University of the Arts in London to do a one year Postgraduate Diploma in Radio Journalism. From there, I got my first job at a commercial radio station called CFM in Cumbria. I was a news reporter, and had to do a bit of everything; writing reports, compiling and reading news bulletins, etc. I then moved on to Metro Radio, a commercial station in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was a much busier news patch, and I got to develop and present a new news show there. After a couple of years there, I went to Australia where I worked for a company called SBS, on a national radio station. On my return, I went back to Metro, freelanced for a bit and then joined the BBC in 2002. I’ve been there since, albeit in a number of roles.

Keele gave me my first taste of a broadcast studio. I loved it, and it gave me the seed of the idea to follow the career I have chosen. Beyond that, I just learned so much about life, people, sport and much more, as well as the academic background it gave me. I also had the chance to travel to France and Russia whilst at Keele because I studied languages – again, these experiences were character building and hugely rewarding.

University gives you so many opportunities. In retrospect I didn’t do half the things I could’ve. Yes, social life is important, but use the time to try new things, learn skills which will stay with you for life. Have no regrets!

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Simon in the studio presenting BBC Radio Newcastle Total Sport show.