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My year at the NZ Radio Training School

February 2, 2016: My first day at New Zealand Radio Training School (NZRTS) in Auckland.

I had an extreme case of butterflies as I was very nervous. What if no one liked me? What if I wasn’t cut out for the broadcasting industry? What if I failed at what I thought was my last chance to do something with my career?

The ‘what ifs’ were running through my mind and making me doubt my decision to attend the school.

I woke up at the crack of dawn to ensure I had plenty of time to get ready and find my way to NZRTS. As I was getting on the bus, the realisation dawned on me, what the hell had I done?

I had moved to a new city especially for this course, and all on a whim to try something different. Was I crazy? After getting lost and having to walk the distance from the Shire to Mordor, I finally found my destination. NZRTS, phew!

At least I had planned to get lost (a frequent habit of mine) as I was still relatively early. Stepping into the classroom, there was only one other student there. We were both what you’d call ‘mature ‘ students. I felt relieved at finding someone who was a similar age to me, and of course, our shared obsession for Harry Potter didn’t hurt. As it turned out, we later became best friends.

The day passed in a blur, with introductions and what the year would entail. I was excited but also apprehensive to get started.

During that first day, I decided to enrol on the journalism diploma (we call ourselves JJs). A lot more work, but so worthwhile in the end.

Within the first week, we were thrown into the studio to record our first speed break. I was freaking out, as the ‘what ifs’ clouded my brain. It wasn’t as bad as I had imagined and I was yearning to learn more. It was a breath of fresh to be learning in a different capacity. Having predominately studied in theoretical situations, I loved being in this practical environment.

We were being taught skills that were integral to the industry and would help when it was time to find a job. After the first few weeks had flown by, our class grew very close, and we referred to ourselves as a ‘family’.

Having this great bunch of people to socialise and work with made me love the course that bit more. I began to get excited to go to school and enjoy being there – something that’s never happened to me before.

As the year progressed, I became more focused on school, as I finally felt like I had found my passion.

I was usually the first one there in the morning and the last to leave, and I finally understood what people meant by “find something you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

Now the tutors: Larry, Kim, Pete, and Myrddin. They all brought different strengths and experience to the table. They had all worked in this industry so knew the ins and outs. Their wealth of knowledge they shared with us made the course even more worthwhile.

The one thing about the broadcasting industry is it’s all about who you know. As the course continued, we began to realise how well respected our tutors were in the industry and they had the ability to give you a helping hand when it came to finding a job.

What’s different about this course? At the end of the day, you choose how much effort and work you put in, but you still have the care and love of the tutors who are rooting for you to succeed – you aren’t just another number.

Looking back over this past year and seeing what this course has taught me I am forever grateful and proud of what I have accomplished. I chose to make the best of this situation. I worked hard even when I could have easily given up, but I kept in mind what I wanted out of this course: a job, a career.

My goal drove my hunger to keep practising and honing my skills, which demonstrated my determination to succeed.

One day Pete called me into the studio. I was thinking “shit, what have I done?” He then told me about a job opportunity that he heard of through a friend and wondered if I would be interested. All I was thinking was “hell yes!”

Then came my first proper job interview. I was a bundle of nerves: sweaty palms, large butterflies in my stomach. I kept repeating the mantra “I can do this” over and over. I was thinking there was no way I could get this job but tried to remain positive by thinking the interview was good practice for the future.

The interview passed into semi blur, but I think I played it relatively cool. At the end of the meeting, the most surprising and amazing thing happened: I was offered the job, I was completely gobsmacked but thrilled. My hard work and perseverance had paid off, and it was one of the happiest days of my life.

I had two weeks to finish all my schoolwork – two months earlier than expected – but I was happy to get it done as it meant I was finally starting my career.

Two weeks later and there I was standing outside a big five-story building in the city. I felt like a proper adult as I had a grown up job. After signing the paperwork, I was now an official employee of the National Business Review, with the job title of Radio Production Editor. I had to pinch myself.

NZRTS gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I made the best decision of my life to enrol there as it has changed my life in more ways than one.

I now have an amazing job that I love, but most importantly I met the greatest people that made this year the best yet.

If you’re thinking of a career in radio, then NZRTS is the place to go, where the tutors have real experience, and you will learn the skills needed to pursue your career in the broadcasting industry.

Enroll now over at

Imogen Atkins
Imogen is an aspiring broadcaster who has recently relocated from the Manawatu to the big smoke to further her education. She is working towards a Diploma in Broadcasting and Journalism at the NZ Radio Training School.
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