Careers’ Talk: Phil Parry

Posted: 7th February 2018

A life in radio. 

Banu Ali, Lower VI, here writes about the visit last week of Phil Parry, BBC Sports Broadcaster, who came to speak to the Priory 6 and Upper V about careers in broadcasting.

‘On 1st February, Phil Parry, BBC Sports Broadcaster, came to give us an informative presentation about how he became involved in the broadcasting industry as well as his experiences – even discussing the BBC’s gender pay-gap which revealed itself through the notorious list of top earners, sparking outrage and debate across Britain!

Mr Parry began by explaining how his career didn’t begin in sports broadcasting but was to do with his other great love (apart from his family!): music. At the age of 16 he spent time as a DJ before and became involved in his local hospital radio station before going to Warwick to study history where he built up his portfolio through becoming involved in the iconic university newspaper ‘The Boar’ as well as its student radio station. Following university, armed with his degree and varied portfolio, he wrote to radio stations and agencies, telling us how he received a heap of rejections until he landed a spot as a sports journalist. From that position, he worked himself up, eventually reaching Capital FM and his present company, the BBC.

Throughout Phil’s talk, (which was filled with many anecdotes such as how once upon a time radio broadcasting involved editing cassette tapes!) he taught us vital skills and lessons. For example, he showed us a video of a female ABC presenter who explained how, in the broadcasting industry, you must never give up and take “no” for an answer. We also learned to appreciate that there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes rather than just the presenters – for example you have runners and engineers working behind the set and also writers, producers, editors and journalists. Moreover, he encouraged us to start building up our repertoire now through vlogging, blogging, and getting involved in local radio stations through work experience, all of which he explained are so accessible to us thanks to smart phones and modern technology.

Amongst other questions, Phil was asked by Priory 6 girls whether he had seen sexism, feels sexism is present in the BBC and what his feelings towards the damming report on the BBC’s gender pay-gap are. Phil responded by admitting that although he had not personally seen sexism happen in front of him, he is aware that it is a big issue in the BBC as well as other broadcasting companies and is something that definitely needs to be fixed, although it is better than how it used to be. He shared with us the shocking statistic that whilst roughly 140,000 people are employed in the broadcasting sector, 48% of employees amongst the five biggest broadcasting companies are female. In addition, he told us how he believed that a woman’s work should be of the same value as that of a man so is disappointed about the pay-gap revelations, but remained optimistic that over time, with work, it will get better.

We thank Phil for giving such an engaging and eye-opening talk, and will definitely remember his presentation the next time we switch on the news or turn on the radio!’

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