We’ve started an experiment at BBC Radio Leeds. Like they used to say in the Chewits ad-it’s a long shot but it just might work. News and Programmes have reinvented themselves as “Lives” and “Futures”. We’ve moved away from individual programme teams to an all-round ideas factory that looks ahead – “Futures”, and a group of on-the-spot executioners, if you’ll pardon the expression, which deals with stories that happen on the day – “Lives”.
So I am now “the artist formerly known as the Radio Leeds news editor”, except on my business cards because I had a load printed only six months ago.
My desk bears the sign “Andy Evans Lives”. It’s come as quite a shock to a couple of our district reporters.
My day starts at eight. BBC Yorkshire has recently moved to a plush new building with state-of-the-art studios and a marvellous city centre location.
We’ve been spoiled up until now with the luxury of a free car park, so the prospect of paying more for parking than my car is actually worth seems daft.
I now spend the first part of the day taking a rather involved role in the Leeds version of the running-of-thebulls ceremony that is our cycle path network.
First job when I get in is to find out what on earth is going on- the beauty of the new Lives system is that I get to live for the moment and not have to deal with any of that dreary forward planning business – something at which I’m sure my colleagues will agree I’meminently suited.
Our daily running orders are partly filled in advance, with more holes appearing as the day goes on-our job is to fill them. Our Lunchtime programme is a ‘current affairs interactive’.
That’s a phone-in to you and me, though more and more people are using text and email to get their point across.
The major national news story of the day is the heartbreaking case of the Wyatt family and their baby daughter, Charlotte. Her fate is being rather grimly decided in the High Court and this emotive story elicits a powerful response.
A father from north Leeds rings in to tell us how his child was born prematurely and that they had tomake a decision whether to switch off the life-support system.Aileen fromBradford texts in to tell the Wyatt family: “don’t give up”.When she was 18 shehad a child and was told that it would never survive: 38 years later her child is alive and well- so doctors can get it wrong.
Leeds is also hosting the European Conference of Bishops. I spend most of the programme finding somewhere to hang the raincoat of the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, while he explains the church’s stance on the war in Iraq, terrorism and immigration.
Unlike the Cardinal, I fail and end up typing cues and answering the phones with the Archbishop of Westminster’s gabardinemac draped over my arm.
Our Drivetime programme is relatively uneventful, except for the appearance of the new world number one squash champion, and a bronze medal-winning table-tennis player just returned from the Paralympics.
You will be pleased to know that work on the new bathroom is well underway and that my toilet has arrived. I work four ten-hour days under the new system so Friday is a day of rest, unless you’re trying to rescue your house from the blind hippies who have run amok in it for the past 15 years.
I started off reporting on non league football and sometimes miss it.
Today is not one of those days. Watch West Brom beat Bolton in a bar in Leeds surrounded by Rugby League fans berating the Rhinos.
Off yet again! I talk with our weekend newsreader, a story about the lifting of reporting restrictions on the trial of the man accused of shooting a policeman in Leeds last year.
It’s a huge case and the whole teamis acutely aware that it’s one we need to be extremely careful about. Thankfully Julie Langford, our newsreader, is completely aware and it’s just a courtesy call to let me know what’s going on.
It’s a struggle to make it sound fresh and exciting today, but wemanage. An exhibition to commemorate the life of John Charles, Leeds United and Wales’ greatest-ever player, is touring major cities across the country -apart from Leeds. Today is the first day but it’s still not being shown in the city where “Il Gigante Buono” made his name.
A reporter is dispatched to cover a fire at a local stable where three horses have died. Janet Leigh’s death gets us calling on our friends at Bradford’s Museum of Photography, Film and Television to look back at her work.
Spend most of the day being given the runaround by a Frank Sinatra biographer, a missing phone number for a Bradford councillor and Boris Johnson.
It’s days like these when I like to seek professional refuge in thinking up gags for our award-winning football show Kick Off with Kelner .
It’s (appropriately) hosted by Martin Kelner, whose biggest claim to fame is that his brother is editor of the Independent (Oh, and for his Guardian Screen Break column, but who reads that?) and it opens up with a Letterman-style top ten.
The issue over who thought of it first is murky but I think you’ll agree that we can stand toe-to-toe with Dave on this. For instance, following the news that Pierluigi Collini is to get an honorary degree in Hull, in our top ten of footballers being snapped up by academia, Emile Heskey is to be similarly honoured by UMIST.
Things are back on track.We seem to be the ASBO capital of the country at the moment and an interview with the mother of an 11-year-old who has been banned from every street in Bradford, other than his own, has the phones ringing off the hook. We are enlightened with comments ranging from: “It’s a disgrace to ruin this poor lad’s life” to a text that tells us to “lock him up and throw away the key”. Who said the phone-in was dead?