QE recently had another fantastic opportunity to catch up with a former student and hear all about their amazing experiences following their time at the College. Andy Backhouse, who studied English Language, English Literature, Creative Media Practice and Extended Project at the College, established the hugely successful QE Radio, which still broadcasts today, and regularly hosted the Battle of the Bands competitions before moving on to the University of Westminster. Whilst at university, he started reporting on air for BBC Radio London and the World Service and in his second year, Andy entered a presenting competition with the winning prize being the opportunity to travel to Mexico City and present shows on Ibero 90.9 FM (Mexico’s equivalent to Radio 6 with over 21 million listeners throughout the city). ‘It was the best student exchange programme you could ever imagine’, Andy comments. ‘We were able to fully immerse ourselves in Mexican life, from watching the legendary Lucha Libre to exploring the ancient Teotihuacan pyramids’. Following university, Andy continues to have close links with Mexico, now presenting on La Bestia Radio from London, in addition to BBC Radio. His main roles include finding as much exciting music as possible, designing social media posts, writing scripts and booking and recording interviews. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Andy also hosted a gig night every month at The Shacklewell Arms in London and was a DJ at festivals including Reading and Leeds.

When asked about advice for current QE students, Andy explains: “For exams, it’s definitely worth putting the work in, because whatever you choose to do in the future, you’ll always have your A Levels as a backbone behind you. My main tip for revising: download everything you need to know (from podcasts or record yourself) and play it on repeat.”

Andy’s advice for students wanting to work in radio or in the media is: ‘Try to know everything about what is it what you want to do. If that’s working in radio, experiment as much as you can. Student and community radio are where you’ll come to define yourself and find out what you’re interested in. By the time you’re going up for your first job in a radio station or in a TV studio, try to have something you can show people, like a podcast, a YouTube channel or a blog that you can update regularly.”

If you are a former student and have a story to share, we would love to hear from you. If you could email [email protected] with your details, a member of staff will be in touch.