On a forward-planning shift this week, which I always enjoy as it gives
me freedom to spend a bit more time on stories rather than sticking
rigidly to the diary.
My efforts to find the next big exclusive
are overshadowed by a day of high drama involving the editor of The Sun
and the actors who play the Mitchell brothers in EastEnders.
It’s not long before I’m wishing I was reading today’s bulletins, rather than working on stories for tomorrow.
the afternoon throws up an interesting meeting with Auschwitz survivor
Ernest Levy. He was minutes from death in the concentration camp during
the war, and is now organising a trip for school children to visit the
I interview Ernest at his home in Giffnock, near Glasgow,
and am immediately struck by how angry he still is at the atrocities he
suffered 60 years ago. As he speaks I note the strange mix of burning
fury and peace and love in his voice.
Definitely one of the more fascinating characters I’ve met in my career.
04.11.05 Now wishing I was a tabloid hack rather than a radio boy as I digest the Mitchell brothers’ controversy.
forward planning for the weekend consists of building up to bonfire
night. Police asking us to stay safe and be responsible, animal
campaigners ask us to keep our animals safeâ€¦ didn’t we all do this last
Sport is news in the west of Scotland, and I liaise with
sports editor Ewen Cameron to ensure we have the top games covered and
clips of the managers in our Saturday breakfast bulletins.
with Ewen is a bit like going to the dentistâ€¦ you dread it for ages,
but it’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be.
At the end of the shift Real Radio takes team-building to a whole new level by having a staff firework display in the car park.
Up at 4am and into Real Radio to present my Sunday breakfast programme.
Undoubtedly the highlight of my working week and, despite the early
start, I always find extra energy for it. It’s like being set free
after a week in the newsroom, with the constraints of the tightly timed
broadcast news bulletins.
I finish off my preparations and go on
air at 6am. It’s a mix of music and journalistic chat. I try to veer
away from the inane “text me now with your favourite sweetâ€¦” type of
I’m still learning the trade, but thoroughly enjoy being
able to air my opinions and vent my frustrations and listen to what
others think about the world we live in.
From 8am until 9am the programme features an in-depth interview, usually with someone from the world of business.
always intrigues me as I get inside the head of Scotland’s top
entrepreneurs. Today it’s a guy who’s launching a series of DVD movie
rental vending machines. There’ll be one near you soon.
Nothing can beat the buzz of a breakfast show in commercial radio. I’m
on the news desk this week – and I’m writing stories by 4.30am. I
always like to get in ahead of the competition and make my bulletins as
sharp and engaging as possible.
Breakfast show hosts Robin
Galloway and Cat Harvey soon join me. They’re on a high after recent
record-breaking RAJAR audience figures. We bounce off each other all
morning – the three of us taking a cynical look at the front pages in a
The shift flies by and midway through I listen online to Smooth FM newsman Howard Hughes and Andrew Bailley on Virgin.
they have considerably shorter bulletins than I do, I always like to
hear their take on the top stories and note any phrases, inflections or
angles they run that I can ‘borrow’ for mine. I’ll do anything I can to
make Real News the best in Scotland.
08.11.05 Stayed up too late
last night watching the final of Hell’s Kitchen USA. I’d love to run a
newsroom the way Gordon Ramsay runs a kitchen, but I’m not sure it’s
really the Guardian Media Group way.
Feel tired, but another
great breakfast shift, then a catchup with the news editor, Heather
Kane, who explains the latest corporate goings-on.
I have to
deputise for her at a meeting on Thursday and need to know my stuff
before entering the lion’s den with the managing director and programme
Catch our afternoon bulletins read by my colleague
Carol Shedden. Hearts football club’s decision to unveil Graham Rix as
their new head coach is dominating. We’ve got all the angles covered
with the latest audio from the media conference.
The appointment’s causing huge controversy among Hearts fans, given Rix’s conviction for sex with an under-age girl.
reporter at the stadium explains how “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett and
the Union Gap is played on a continued loop from the CD player of one
09.11.05 Rix is on the back and front pages of almost every Scottish paper and high up my agenda on the breakfast bulletins.
also have a Rangers v Celtic match in Glasgow tonight, and, at
half-time police will use the video screens to broadcast an appeal for
help catching the killer of a prostitute.
My favourite piece of
audio from my morning bulletins is the member of the French National
Assembly appealing for calm after 13 nights of riots, and telling angry
youths they can “go home, watch television, make love to their wives,
do whatever they like, as long as they don’t pour petrol over cars and
set them on fire”.
It’s that kind of straight talking that makes me truly proud to be a European.
A long and tiring day as I stay late in the newsroom to record an interview for my Sunday programme with Janet Street Porter.
fell in love with her (not like that, obviously) while reading the book
about her time running Live TV. I plan to ask if she has any
“innnnnerrrrrvaaattttifffff” plans for the future of television up her