TV and radio host Edith Bowman – who has had a long career that’s taken in MTV UK, Radio 1, and her popular movie podcastSoundtracking – has seen her career thrive and evolve over her two decades in the business, despite once being told her accent meant she couldn’t even work on Scottish radio.
In an interview with The Big Issue for the Letter To My Younger Self feature, Bowman shared her experiences breaking into the industry and overcoming snobbery about her background and accent.
Growing up in Anstruther, Fife, Bowman was always surrounded by music and arts. “There was this constant musical soundtrack in my life,” she said. Despite feeling that a career in radio and television seemed unattainable, she couldn’t shake her desire to be part of that world.
“There was definitely a dream of getting involved in that world in some way, but it felt completely unattainable. But I kept trying to break into radio, even if I thought it was an unlikely thing. I pestered Radio Forth [in Edinburgh] constantly and I wouldn’t take no for an answer,” said Bowman.
Her persistence eventually led to a meeting with the programme controller, but his response was less than encouraging: “I can’t put someone with an accent like yours on the radio.” Bowman said she was shattered: “I sat there feeling the tears welling up. But in my head, I was thinking, ‘I want this and I want this really bad’.” She didn’t let his comment deter her, and she was eventually given a two-week work experience opportunity.
During her placement, Bowman worked tirelessly to make herself indispensable. “I worked my arse off,” she said. This determination paid off when she was offered a spot on weekends and holidays at the radio station, marking her first significant step into the industry.