I Sat In the Newsreader’s Chair!

Heart West Country

I spent yesterday evening in the company of radio presenters and producers from across the region – at the Heart West Country studios in Bristol City Center.

┬áThe reason for this was a Radio Academy South West event – ‘Breaking Into Breakfast‘ in which Capital FM Yorkshire‘s Breakfast producer Scott Myers, presenter of BBC Somerset‘s Breakfast show Emma Britton, and one third of Heart West Country’s Breakfast show Paulina Gillespie┬á discussed Breakfast time radio and shared their thoughts on making the Breakfast Show the best it can be. The evening was chaired by Regional Programme Manager for Jack FM, Ian Downs.

I went down by train with Dan and Jack after presenting my own show on Tone Radio – arriving in Bristol just in time for the start at 6pm. There were a lot of Uni of Glos radio students there – we took up two whole rows of seats!

We then had a tour of the studios – I sat in the newsreader’s chair, went in to the Heart Bristol Drivetime studio (pictured above) and wandered around the Disaster Recovery Center – a set of 10 studios which are very rarely used – but all the Global brands (Heart, Capital, XFM, LBC, Gold, Classic FM etc.) have studios and newsroom facilities there, which can be used if the Leicester Square studios are ever forced out of action. So I can now claim to having stood in a Classic FM studio!

Back upstairs and some of us got talking to the producer of BBC Somerset’s Breakfast show – Jamie interviewed him at length about what he does. He is only 24 and still lives with his parents. There is still hope for me then! (I’m 20, just under 2 months from my 21st, and still live with my parents – for part of the week at least).

Eventually some of the other radio students started signalling to us that we needed to wrap up the conversation (in the way that radio producers do when they’re communicating with a presenter through the glass)… Dan, Jack and I walked back to Temple Meads Station whilst the others all returned to their cars.

We should have left about 10 minutes earlier. We missed the 21:42 train by three minutes! Realising that the next train to Cheltenham would not be until 22:00, we played with the idea of trying to get back to Gloucester instead – but that would have meant changing at Severn Tunnel Junction (not something we wanted to do) – so we went to find some food instead.

Eventually we returned to the station to find that the 22:00 was running 8 minutes late. The announcement said that it was due to poor rail conditions! That gives you confidence, doesn’t it!??

By the time we walked through the front door shortly before 11, Jack and Zoe were already back, having even had the time to stop at the Michaelwood Services for some time on the way.

Back to lectures today though (some of the others are going back to Bristol for an SRA Training/Nominations day at UWE, but I’ve got Lit Fest stuff later) If I’ve got one thing out of last night’s event, it has reminded me why RADIO IS BRILLIANT!


Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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