Before her voice became familiar across the nation thanks to her work on Gem 106 and Virgin Radio UK, broadcaster Amy Voce studied a degree in Communication Studies at Nottingham Trent University. We chat to her all about her connections to the city, her Two New Mums podcast, and her most memorable on-air moments…
What drew you to studying at NTU?
I was working at a radio station in Leicester and I didn't want to move, I wanted to be able to do both at the same time, so I thought I’d go to Nottingham. I was taking a year out and I was working in radio and it was going well, but I wanted to go to uni because all my friends were having so much fun so I was jealous and I didn't want to be in the world of work yet, to be honest. I loved Communication Studies because I wasn't entirely sure at that point what I wanted to do, and the course covered quite a broad range of subjects from Linguistics to Politics to Psychology, all sorts really, which was perfect for me. I actually started working at a different radio station in Nottingham almost straight away, which just worked perfectly for me at the time. I am a Leicester girl born and bred so it was nice to still have lots of friends there and still be close to home as well.
What were your favourite parts about being a student here? Do you have any recommendations for new students?
It’s nearly twenty years now since I was at university, but I just love Nottingham and I had the best time. I think what is so good about it is that it is quite a small city, but it still has everything you need. I would go to the Student Union a lot, especially on a Saturday night, which was called Climax at the time. I also really liked The Works, which was a club in the Cornerhouse. It’s incredible that Ocean still exists, because when I was there everyone was saying that Ocean was going to close, but we would go there on Mondays and Wednesdays for the Trent Social. The brilliant thing about being a student is that you can look forward to a Monday night!
Did you gain any experience in radio while you were at university?
I was obviously up for getting involved with Fly FM [NTU’s official student radio station, now called Fly Live] and I went to all the meetings. I was trying to be a part of it but for some reason in the three years I was there, it just seemed to be inactive. I don't know what was happening, but it just never seemed to sort of take-off which is bizarre because since then it’s been absolutely thriving. I was a little bit gutted about that, so I actually started doing promotional work at the local station at the time, which was called Century FM then, and went on to Heart and Gem 106 - I ended up working there for years. I was always doing stuff for the radio station alongside my degree. But I also got involved in different ways, like by being a Freshers’ Rep. All those things just help to really enhance your university experience and they’re all transferable skills. Whatever you go on to do, whether it is media, working at events, or anything else, it really builds your confidence and enables you to have a good time at university.
What drew you to radio in the first place?
I was always a bit obsessed with radio, I used to sit in my bedroom and listen to my local station in Leicester. I used to record my own shows in my bedroom, and I think I was fascinated by pop culture. I always wanted to be on radio or TV but I never quite had the confidence to say that's what I wanted to do. I did some work experience in radio and thought it was just amazing - I loved that you can hide in the studio behind a mic, so it's not as intimidating as TV.
What does a typical day look like for you now?
On the weekends, I currently host the Saturday and Sunday breakfast show and my slot is 6am until 9:30am, ahead of The Graham Norton Show. My alarm goes off at 4:20am and then I get up, have a quick shower, and then I’m in a taxi by 4:40am - I have a little nap because it's just under an hour to get to the studio. Although it's a pretty brutal wake up, the show goes so quickly and it's lovely because people are waking up and starting their weekend while they listen.
The brilliant thing about being a student is that you can look forward to a Monday night!
What’s the story behind your Two New Mums podcast?
Jennie, my co-host, and I basically found out that we were both pregnant, and our due dates were two days apart. It was so bizarre. And we thought, we've got to do something with this. So, we launched the podcast, and it's been amazing. I knew I wanted to be a mum but I knew nothing about pregnancy, babies, giving birth, and postpartum. We've had various guests on it, such as nutritionists and sleep experts, and we also had Joe Wicks come on and do a bit about weaning babies. It's quite therapeutic because you realise you're not the only one panicking about certain things. The great thing about podcasting is that it can feel like you’re just having a conversation between the two of you, but we have a little community of people listening.
What have been your most memorable on-air moments in your career so far?
There were some amazing moments when we worked at Gem 106. There was a point when we got the station to a record high, over 600,000 listeners. When we reached that listenership, it coincided with us being on air for ten years together as a breakfast show, so that was a special moment. In terms of career highlights, I got to chat to Noel Gallagher and honestly, I had never been so nervous in my life. It's not just that you want to do a decent job interviewing him but I grew up as a huge Britpop fan and so I just wanted him to like me as well. I just didn't want him to think I was an idiot or rubbish at my job! It was a terrifying but brilliant interview.
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