History : Past and Present

Louis Armstrong airport is about a twenty minute drive from downtown New Orleans, and the cheapest way to get there is by using the shared van Airport Shuttle service. The driver tells me his family were from England – Exeter to be precise – but that was around 300 years ago. He’s full of facts…

Rocks and hard places

I should open this blog with a disclaimer that these are my views as a Journlaist, and not necessarily those of my employer. The piece is meant as an observation of the relationship between reporters and their sources, and may well stimulate some debate on the subject. Since the start of the year, I’ve been…

Ratings or Reputation?

Last week the latest audience ratings for UK radio were published. As usual there was more spinning from station managers than Alistair Campbell in a gym class armed with comedy plates. And, as usual, the raw numbers can never tell the whole story. In unashamedly blowing my own trumpet, I’d like to think that my…

A Matter Of Factual

Here’s a question. What actually constitutes news these days? Of course, there are as many answers to that question as there are listeners to your radio station of choice. And it’s long been claimed that “the news” is gradually being dumbed down by just about anybody from Radio 4 downwards. Targeting the news to a particular…

Katrina – and the radio waves.

On a thoroughly dark day for journalism – in which two US journalists were apparently shot dead by one of their own disgruntled colleagues, it’s easy to see why our profession has something of “a reputation” – and all too often, the wrong reputation. However, it’s worth reminding ourselves – and the rest of society – why…

The Skype’s The Limit

Any radio producer will be familiar with the newsroom conversation when it comes to inviting contributors on air. Inevitably, the question will be asked : “Can you come into the studio?” Seasoned guests know the form. An interview just tends to work better if it’s face to face. And the perception is that the audience gets…

Give Me A Break

The Daily Mail really is a nasty piece of work. But you didn’t need me to tell you that. However its latest tirade against the BBC raises some interesting points about the frustration faced by journalists trying to get a simple answer to a seemingly simple question. The latest storm centres around the BBC’s Creative Director, Alan…

A Lorra Lorra Gaffes

There can be little doubt that Cilla Black was one of those figures rightly described by man as a “national treasure”. And her death at the weekend rightly deserved top billing in the news. But suggestions that the BBC was too slow to report her demise are somewhat wide of the mark. Rod McKenzie, the…

Let’s (Not) Talk About It

The pesky BBC. Filling our nation with all of those radio stations, enriching our listening experience and – get this – having the cheek to do it with your money. Honestly, if you believed some of the rants in recent days from apparently well-educated and well-heeled radio professionals, you’d wonder why the BBC was ever…

(Don’t) Read All About It

A couple of days ago, my local paper carried four full page adverts. For itself. They were shouting about the various ways in which I could get content online – through the traditional website, through an app which displayed a digital edition of the front page, and another app for breaking news stories.  Some had…

Music To My Ears

The headlines are rightly focussing on the Government’s deal to make the BBC pick up the tab for paying the Licence Fees of the over 75s. But yesterday also saw a smaller, yet significant announcement that could ultimately shape one of the services the BBC provides to you. And it’s personal, because it happens to…

Hold The Front Page – but be prepared to justify it.

I remember it well. 0745. The story had been running since my first bulletin at 0600 when the phone call came. A press officer demanding that I don’t run the story at 0800, and if I did there would “be consequences”. Being a good journalist (and trusting the rather more senior journalist who had written…