1. Tell us how you became a radio presenter – and involved with Cool FM?

When I was around 16 years old, I had my first couple of DJ’ing gigs in local nightclubs. I was warming up for the likes of Pete Snodden, DJ Hix and Paul Kennedy. After chatting with the presenters about their jobs, I decided it was what I wanted to do. I quit my job at the time, and went to volunteer in community radio. After a few years, I got my first ‘proper’ radio job – and not long after, Cool FM asked me to join the team!

  1. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Absolutely everything! When I get out of bed in the morning, I don’t feel like I’m going to do a job. I grew up listening to Cool FM, and I still can’t believe it’s where I work now. It sounds cliché – but no two days are the same. I am constantly interacting with listeners, and I love how they chat to me like we have known each other for years – when it’s the first time we have spoken!

  1. What is your highlight of working at Cool FM so far?

There are a lot of highlights – even though I haven’t been part of the team for long. Recently, my favourite was interviewing Niall Horan at the launch of his solo career. I’m working alongside presenters who have a lot more experience than I do, so it was a real privilege to be asked to handle an interview of that size and importance.

  1. Outside of radio, what are your hobbies?

I enjoy going to the gym, although I have been slacking recently because I’ve just become the proud owner of a rescue dog – a little Jack Russell called Alfie! I also love watching football, rugby, ice hockey….in fact I’ll watch any sport if it’s a good game!  I’m also a MASSIVE plane geek.  I hope to have my private pilot’s licence in the next few years.

  1. Where is your favourite place in Northern Ireland?

That’s a hard one, because we live in a country that has some of the most amazing scenery in the world.  That being said, I love Belfast. It’s hard to beat the buzz of the city.  I could happily sit outside a coffee shop for hours and watch the world go by.

  1. Where is your favourite restaurant in Northern Ireland?

There are quite a few. It depends on what I’m in the mood for.  I eat at Slims Healthy Kitchen with my girlfriend quite a lot. But if I had to pick one, there’s a little bistro in Comber called Sugarcane, which does an amazing steak!

  1. If you weren’t a radio presenter, what would your dream job be?

That’s easy…an airline pilot!  I’ve always wanted to be a pilot since I was kid!

First landing today….a bit (very) bumpy..but I’m alive! 🛩✈ #avgeek #cessna #pilot #flying

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  1. Who is your biggest role model?

My parents. They work hard and they have always been my biggest supporters. Even when I told them I wanted to leave my full-time job to volunteer in community radio at the age of 21, they were 100% behind me.

  1. Tell us about a great book which you have read recently.

The last good book I read was Chris Evans’ autobiography.  It taught me the importance of taking chances in the radio industry when they’re in front of you!

  1. If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?

There is a lot of good, new music out at the minute – it’s hard to narrow it down to just one! If I absolutely had to choose, it would be Coldplay – specifically the X & Y Album.  I went to see the band play the Odyssey Arena in 2005 when the album was released, and it is probably the best live show I have ever seen. I’m almost sure Chris Martin sang to me!

  1. What is your advice for someone looking to break into the industry?

Get your ‘foot in the door’.  Whether it’s volunteering in community radio, or making the tea at a commercial station – if you’re in the building, you’re one step ahead of most people.  Be prepared to work hard, and learn as much as you can.

  1. What’s your favourite joke?

Why did the scarecrow get a promotion? … because he was outstanding in his field!! (I’ll see myself out…)

Love Belfast interviews Cool FM’s Melissa Riddell

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