So… my time in BFM has come to an end
(for now?). I left in the first week of April.
In retrospect, 1 year 4 months seems neither too short nor too long — for my role, that is, as a news writer and producer. But I’ll get to that later.
In my farewell email to the organization, I said what BFM has is rare – it has built and embedded a family-like culture, we treat and accept each other as our own, the founder himself keeps us updated on the goings of the station (including the numbers), and we think of how to always better the station.
Don’t ever lose this, I said.
Although it has been 8 years in operations, the station still acknowledges itself, to an extent, as a start-up. And of course with that, has its perks and not, all depending on the individual.
BFM has given me the space to propose ideas, recommend guests, and provide content — and with this comes full accountability. It’s a flat structure after all, and you are own decision-maker and editor to what’s being published on air.
Though, the work you do is ultimately quite confined to your own belt/ team, i.e. if I get a Breakfast Grille guest, help out with research, the interview will still be done by a Morning Run member.
That said, I like the fact that we take charge and ownership of our own work, but I feel it’s only helpful if one has had a little prior experience before (in this case, journalism).
While monetarily (and perhaps even editorially, to a certain extent) it was a parallel move for me (from The Edge), I wanted to give myself a chance to try out radio, to see if it’s for me. And I got to try exactly that, and even had a good time there, so, thank you BFM.
With this I have dabbled in print media (writing for Edge FD, Weekly, and web), broadcast media via video (Edge TV) and now radio; somewhat sealing my experience across these main mediums.
I am grateful for opportunities that have come my way. But I am a firm believer that opportunities don’t just come landing on your lap. It takes initiative, hard work, and people skills (i.e. sincerity in building relationships).
It truly is a circle of sorts — you land an interview, do a nice job, and you get more ideas from your interviewee, get recommended to others, and it goes on from there. The best feeling comes from something you’ve first initiated yourself.
In a nutshell, I wrote the business news bulletins, updated the hourly and half-hourly numbers, but what I really enjoyed doing was producing and presenting: evening market wrap, current affairs (CAs), local market watches (LMWs) and the property show.
Wrote more about my role here but in addition to what was mentioned in that post, I have also since started producing and presenting LMWs.
The evening market wrap segment is not podcasted, but the rest are, will be updating them in a separate page soon.
What I’ve gained
Work — my role has been elevated from just a writer to now an editorial-like one, from making decisions to what goes on top of the bulletins (at times, when no other senior team mates are around), to selecting the topic and producing the content for my shows. All onus on us and I had damn well be sure to do a good job.
Knowledge — where previously I’m limited to business and Corporate Malaysia (having spent two years at The Edge), I’ve now broadened my horizons to current affairs as my team was passionate about issues on human rights, refugees, politics, etc.
People — I’m lucky I had a team who supports and encourages one another, and backs each other up. They are a hugely understanding and chilled bunch, I definitely ought to learn this trait of ‘take it easy sikit’ from them 😉
Contacts — I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to people from local banks, rating agencies, and on a regional scale Blackrock, Bain & Co, UBS, from my interviews. And some, whom I am able to call a friend. There is just so much to learn from these industry experts.
Voice — I wished I had spent time honing my voice, practicing my reads. Thinking back, I was too perturbed about content and getting the voicing bit over, that I failed to take time to enjoy training my voice.
Innovate — Not everything has to be done the way it has been done the past XX years. For instance, for my CAs, I could have gone with a Q&A style from the beginning, as I speak most naturally in a conversation, rather than reading it like a script.
(You know with the saying ‘penny wise pound foolish’, I should learn to also put more time and effort on shows that matter, rather than the minor, rolling-ones. I have been doing quite the opposite).
Have a little more fun — instead of always having work on my mind, 24/7, in the office.
While I managed multiple deliverables (news, wrap, CA, etc) at one time, it was at the expense of being too hard on myself. On hindsight I should have just chilled a little more, you know, not every script has to be so heavy-loaded. I could forget perfection, and come in earlier, and had more time to hang out with my colleagues.
BFM was nice to have allowed me to freelance, and I did so for Focus Malaysia. It’s one way to keep tabs of the ‘market’ (via interviewing corporates, stocks analysis), it also enhances my knowledge and allows me to bring forth these guests onto BFM as well. Win-win for both parties.
Not sure where the wind will next take me, or if I will come back here in the future.
I mean, I have always been keen and intrigued to join BFM since first hearing DS Nazir Razak on the BG. And to think I did end up being part of the radio station in the end! (I remember, when I last applied after leaving CIMB, I was only offered an intern role haha)
But one thing I do know for sure…
… is that I will keep on improving myself, as what my parents always tell me, “keep learning, improving on your knowledge and personal development, and you don’t have to worry”.