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