NEW technology is introducing enormous change to all aspects of the media, but with those changes comes uncertainty, and fear of job losses.

According to Ross MacFadyen, programme controller at Radio Clyde, however, there may be even greater opportunities for those working in the medium in the future.

''The new technology at the forefront of everyone's attention is digital radio and while there is a level of automation already coming into many radio stations, there will always be a need for the human touch,'' he explains.

''Digital radio will offer listeners a much better quality of service, much greater choice, and potentially there will be more work in radio because of the scope for more radio stations.

''In the future we are likely to see all sorts of different music genres being catered for on exclusive radio stations. We already have our own digital radio country station, 3C .''

Radio Clyde currently employs around 100 people, including freelance and full-time presenters and journalists, and has the biggest news room outside London.

There is also a team of production engineers, a promotions department and a sales team that sells commercial air time. Many of those in management positions today, including Radio Clyde's managing director Paul Cooney, started out as presenters.

''I still present one show a week and that is important to me,'' says MacFadyen. ''I came through the ranks so I understand everything from a presenter's point of view rather than coming in and managing people without ever having done the job myself.

''Continuing to do the job at the front line is important because you appreciate the pressures that presenters are up against.''

MacFadyen is responsible for the output of Clyde 1 and Clyde 2, for the people who present the programmes on air, and for the content of those programmes.

Like many other radio presenters, he started out in hospital radio. ''I went through years of not knowing how to get into the business,'' he says. ''I wrote letters to Radio Clyde at 14 and was told to concentrate on my education so I would have something to fall back on.''

''I left school and worked in the travel business for six years, at the same time getting involved in Hospital Radio Paisley which served 12 hospitals.

''That gave me a real training in all aspects of radio and I became the station manager at 19. It was a fantastic starting point.''

Then he read an article about a new radio station being set up in the East End of Glasgow. ''I joined as a freelance presenter on weekend shows while still working in the travel business, and when a full-time job became available I applied and got it,'' he recalls. ''Within six months, I was programme controller.''

While still at hospital radio, he had sent off demo tapes to numerous radio stations, and continued to do so while at East End Radio. Radio Clyde responded and he began working there as a freelance presenter on the overnight and the weekend breakfast shows.

''Radio Clyde has been the market leader since the first day, with a 50% reach of all people listening to the radio,'' he explains. ''To be part of that has been unbelievable.

''Every radio station wants its presenters to be as good as they can be, so there is a quality control element brought into every operation at different levels.

''The key for anyone wanting to get into the business can be applied to anything in life: believe in yourself.

''You have to give it your all,'' says MacFadyen, ''learning from people around who have been in the business for years, applying different skills and developing.''

In 1996, MacFadyen took over as head of music for Clyde 1, then, in December 2000, following a re-branding of the station, he was invited to take up the position of programme controller.

''I love the fact that it's not a nine-to-five job. My mobile phone is on all the time so that I can be reached at any time of day or night. The radio station never goes to bed.''

MacFadyen still sees hospital or student radio as the best, and most popular, way into a job. ''I would say that the majority of people go into hospital radio because they want to pursue a career in broadcasting,'' he says.

Irene Dick, a volunteer presenter on Monklands Hospital's Radio Heartbeat, agrees.

''Hospital radio can be an ideal way of developing a career in radio because most radio stations want their potential employees to have experience before they will take them on,'' she says.

''For many, hospital radio is a first stepping stone, a way to get work experience. We don't mind people using us to step on the career ladder but the bottom line is that we are hospital radio and are here to serve the patients.''

Radio Heartbeat is staffed by 11 people, all of them volunteers. They include two mobile DJs, a third-year law student and a deputy rector of a local secondary school.

Dick cites a willingness to talk and to learn, good communications skills, an interest in other people, a sense of humour, an open mind and ''pure cheek'' as the necessary qualities for the job.

For information about Radio Heartbeat call Irene Dick on 07974 618660 or e-mail