We spoke to a Radio X producer about the inner workings of a studio

TV killed the radio star, so the saying goes. But there’s clear evidence to suggest quite the opposite. While the prime time shows are haemorrhaging viewers, the radio industry is still thriving.

Especially the likes of the rebranded and re-enegerised Radio X (formally known as Xfm). Twitter mastermind/Radio X producer Cornelius Mendez speaks to List For Life about his meteoric rise from listener to producer, what it actually means to ‘produce’ and his sage advice for anyone looking to jump into the world of radio – it’s simpler than you might think.

1. How did your passion for radio come about in the first place and who inspired?


I used to do a daily paper round early mornings when I was about 14/15. Each day I would listen to the latest podcast of The Geoff Show on Virgin/Absolute radio. That was the first radio show that I really enjoyed and got into. I was also a big fan of Danny Wallace’s XFM breakfast show and then Jon when he took over and I still find it very weird I now work with Jon on his show.

2. What are the main responsibilities of a producer at Radio X?


Making a show. It’s a bit of a simple answer but that is what a producer does. First of all we come up with the ideas, and then we go about preparing and executing them on air. It’s all a team effort. It’s a bit of everything really. Making audio, writing jokes and scripts, coming up with social media, making tea and lots more. I recently spent a good amount of a day researching and ringing actors who had played Mother Goose in panto. That was weird.

3. Would you ever think about making the switch to TV?


I love doing radio and am certainly focusing on building my career there but I could see myself working on a TV show if the right opportunity came up. I’m a big fan of American Talk shows like Conan, Jimmy Fallon and James Corden. To work on a show like that would be a dream for me.

4. What advice would you give any young people thinking about a career in radio?


Be nice to everyone ever. Literally all the work I’ve got has relied on a contact somewhere. I mean people should be nice anyway. Also keep busy. If you are struggling for work don’t just apply for jobs, make sure you are keeping creative even if it’s just small stuff like a blog or some tweets. It’s good to have a load of stuff and projects to get you noticed.

5. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a producer?


I literally have no idea. I did a politics degree so maybe something to do with that but I’m not sure. Possibly something to do with marketing/advertising as that isn’t too far from what I do now really.

6. What’s the hardest part of your job and, inversely, what’s the most rewarding?


Getting up at 4.30am on weekends is never easy. I think the most rewarding thing for me is the fact I’m working for a number of the country’s biggest radio stations and getting my ideas out on air. It’s nice to be in these buildings working alongside and learning from some of the best people in the industry in my opinion.

7. In 20 years, where would you have liked your career to have led you?


I’d just be happy if I was working in a job I love to do as I am at the moment. This could be in radio or something completely different but I’d like to be passionate about what I do and enjoy it.

Now what?