Christian Williams has the job most teens dream of – a supercar driving radio presenter who hangs out with celebrities like it’s totally normal.
Williams’ career has seen him progress from student radio to local drive time and breakfast programmes, through to the national Capital FM Network and Virgin Radio UK… Perhaps something you wouldn’t expect from a ‘shy boy’ who grew up on the Isle of Wight.
Christian would like to inspire more young people to chase careers in the media – particularly young people on the Island, who are deciding what to do after finishing school.
yoppul caught up with Christian to ask what advice he’d give to young Islanders interested in the media and find out about his career and life on the Island.
Christian attended Lake Middle School and Sandown High, before moving up to the Isle of Wight College where he studied IT. Yet it wasn’t until he was at university that Christian got involved in radio, taking a degree in TV and film production at Portsmouth University.
Looking back, he joked that he picked Portsmouth so he could give his washing to his parents at the weekends, when he was back to visit friends. But he says people on the Island shouldn’t pick a university based on location and should follow their interest to wherever offers the best degree – you shouldn’t be afraid to move away from the Island.
If Christian had always known that he wanted to be radio presenter, he says that he would’ve probably picked Nottingham Trent, which is famous for winning student radio awards.
He adds that it took a lot of courage to step into radio when he was at Portsmouth: “I hid behind a computer, looking at forums, until I decided to reach out to a guy looking for a co-presenter. I sent him an email, and he told me to come in tomorrow, so I did, but I waited 15 minutes before I went inside. It was when I saw the presenter interviewing people that I realised that I wanted to be on his side of the desk and lost my inhibitions.”
It was thanks to Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival that Christian first landed a job in the media as a cameraman.
Although he now works in radio, Christian believes the most important advice he can give is to be well rounded.
“Employers are more likely to take you seriously if you have a large skill set – they won’t look at you twice if you can only do one thing.”
When asked whether living on the Island was a barrier to his aspirations, the presenter replied: “Just because you’re on the Island, it should never stop you from doing what everyone else in the country is. Send out emails to radio stations, ask for a chat, say you’ll buy whoever coffee. You’ll be surprised at how many radio bosses have responded when I’ve emailed them directly.”
He further stressed how important the web is in helping to achieve your career: “The Island has internet! Technology is at your fingertips, listen to all presenters, ones you like – and even ones you don’t – but don’t become a second rate version of Greg James or Scott Mills, because that isn’t going to get you anywhere. If you already think you’re a radio presenter, then there’s no reason you aren’t. Create a demo – you never know, it might land you your first job in radio.”
“Take risks. That’s another really important piece of advice. For example, when I interviewed Tulisa, and she was still with N-Dubz, I was that in no circumstances was I to ask about her love life. But as the interview was going really well, I asked anyway, which ended up making the interview really funny as she asked me about my love life instead and it ended up being shared on the internet. So it actually ended up being a positive thing.”
Now he’s landed a breakfast radio show, his “average” day in London is by no means average.
“It begins around 4am, when I have breakfast and a shower. I get to work around 5am. From 5am-6am I plan my show, which usually involves looking at papers and what was on TV the night before – especially if it’s Game of Thrones – and I compile the content for the show with producers. But if the show takes a different turn, say we have somebody phone in and the show changes course, then we save the content for another show. Then I’ll probably pick up breakfast at 10am.”
Christian quite often then heads off for a spin in a brand new supercar, in his second role as a test driver for Best Of The Best Competitions.
Listen to Christian Williams on Virgin Radio UK, weekends 6am – 10am.