- Course studied:
- Sports Journalism
- Year of graduation:
Chris Coles – Sports Journalism
BBC Radio Derby
Chris Coles is a sports broadcast journalist for BBC Radio Derby, where he presents all their sports programmes. Since graduating from Staffordshire University, he has worked at Birmingham City FC, Free Radio, freelanced at BBC West Midlands, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, Sky Sports, Leicester City FC and The FA, before joining Radio Derby.
He said: “To have a full-time role talking about sport for a living feels very lucky. I was always interested in sport growing up. There’s a saying: if you can’t be a pro sportsman then the next best thing is being a sports journalist. But from a young age, I remember wanting to be a sports journalist. We’d turn the volume down on the latest FIFA game and I remember commentating out loud or in my head. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Sports Broadcast Journalism MA
Chris started his undergraduate degree in Sports Journalism at Staffordshire University in 2005. Touring the state-of-the-art newsroom and teaching facilities and meeting the course lecturers was enough to convince him to move from Cardiff, where he grew up. He said: “At that time, it was also one of the only universities offering a sports journalism degree and it was one of the only NCTJ accredited courses in the country.
“One of the best things about Staffs was the quality of the lecturers. Their experience and knowledge as well as the guidance they gave was gold dust. They treated us like professional journalists from day one and this prepared us really well.”
After graduating in 2008, Chris immediately started on a Masters in Sports Broadcast Journalism, aiming to specialise in radio and television presenting. “I was always more interested in the broadcast side and I had a word with the lecturers during my third year about specialising and the Masters sounded good. The roster of those that did the course before me and had gone onto great careers as broadcast journalists looked amazing.”
Towards the end of his Masters, a job opportunity came up for a video journalist at Birmingham City FC, which was offered to Chris and five others on the same course. Chris got the job and spent the next three-and-a-half years commentating on matches, interviewing managers and players, writing match reports and more. He said: “It was an exciting few years, as it was during the time they finished 8th in the Premier League, won the League Cup and then got relegated.”
At the start of 2013, Chris joined commercial radio station Free Radio, covering matches for the Midlands football clubs, including Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton and more. Then in September 2015, he left to work freelance, getting assignments from various regional BBC radio stations, among others. He also picked up work at Leicester City FC during the year they won the Premier League and presented videos for the FA, including a Facebook Live interview with England manager Gareth Southgate OBE.
Chris eventually accepted an offer of a full-time position as a sports presenter at BBC Radio Derby in December 2017. “I was enjoying freelancing but I felt like a supply teacher and wanted something that I could craft and make my own,” he explained. “It’s great fun and there has been so much going on at Derby County, like this morning when Frank Lampard announced he was leaving to manage his former club, Chelsea.”
Chris continues to stay in contact with Staffordshire University and recently returned to give a guest lecture to current students. He said: “Anything like that I’m more than happy to do for the University. It’s the least I can do really. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Staffs. It’s something I’d like to do more of in future.”