From DJ to Sports Journalist: The Matt Skinner Story

University of South Wales' new 3G pitch is the sort of facility kids in Torfaen need

By Matt Williams

MUSIC, alcohol and a crowd in the palm of your hand. For many, DJ’ing is the dream job. However, Matt Skinner has decided to swap the decks for the gantry in the hope of fulfilling his long-term dream… To become a Sports Journalist.

Matt with wife, Kimberly (Credit- Facebook)

41-year-old Matt Skinner from Pontypridd has spent much of his career on the nightclub scene entertaining large crowds.

However, despite the financial uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic has cast, Skinner has said the pandemic inspired him to take the huge leap of faith of going back to university.

“It’s mainly down to everything that’s been going on. I was working five nights a week as a DJ, and I’ve been speaking to Julie (course leader) about it before and she was my lecturer the first time I went to university at USW.”

“Every year I’ve thought about it and with how the outbreak affected my job, I thought I’m going to do it this time.”

He continued; “It’s something to fall back on too when the DJ’ing has to stop. I can’t do it until I’m 80 years old.”

Skinner, a father of two says the course has been eye-opening for him.

“It’s very good. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of what I read and given me a bit more insight into what things actually go on to produce what we’re reading and writing.”

Since leaving Winterbourne Academy where he completed his A-Levels in Economics, PE and Biology, Skinner has been on a varied career path.

“I started working straight away. I worked in Natwest in the call centre. Then I started working in a company called Dave & Buster’s in Bristol, which got closed down in 2002.”

“That’s when I took up DJ’ing. I got asked to do a karaoke competition and from there I got asked to go and do it in a nightclub.”

“So, from the age of 19 I’ve been DJ’ing along with doing other work, so I did some work for Red Dragon and Capitol as well.”

Alongside being a new member of the Sports Journalism course at the University of South Wales, Skinner works as part of the media team at Cardiff City. A role he has held since 2013.

“I started working for Cardiff City the season we got relegated from the Premier League for the first time.”

“I do all the music pre-match, and I also do work for the FAW on a Sunday and a Wednesday, which is a bit different again because there’s a lot of restraints from UEFA on what we can and can’t do.”

“So, it’s a really intense job.”

Skinner’s passion for music was perhaps never more telling than when he played a song before a Cardiff Vs Derby game.

“I did play a song for Wayne Rooney, and one of the Derby officials asked Cardiff if it was aimed at him, and I played innocent and said no it wasn’t, but it was.”

“I can’t actually remember what it was. It was linked to when he had a few issues with his nan-stage. It definitely wasn’t the Spice Girls.”

With the pandemic casting no opportunities for DJ’s to make ends meet, the 41-year-old has done everything he can to fund the course.

“We’ve used every avenue possible; I’ve done one DJ shift in seven months so it’s the longest I’ve ever not been working.”

“Luckily, I’ve managed to save £23,000 in 10 months because we didn’t spend anything that we didn’t need to.”

The pandemic has ushered in a lack of opportunities for DJ’s over the past 10 months, and Skinner says the rate of pay does not always guarantee security either.

“It depends where you work. Some venues are really stringent on how they pay you, and others will just chuck money at you.”

He continued; “One place I was working at was paying me £80 a night and there was a bonus scheme on top of it.”

“One place I worked at payed £220 on a Saturday, so it just shows there’s a massive difference between all of them.”

“It’s only the last 18 months that have been quite prosperous for me.”