2PM: 24 Hours in the Life of 5 live
Hello, my name is Alice and I am a Broadcast Assistant - which is a great place to start off in journalism if you want to go on to become a Broadcast Journalist and beyond. I work on Richard Bacon 's afternoon programme. My job involves everything from doing all the administration a radio programme needs to run, to meeting some of the celebrity guests my friends are now bored hearing about.
I arrive in at Television Centre at 8am and start the day by checking the web, my emails, the papers and other outlets for good guest suggestions ahead of the morning meeting.
Alice with her childhood hero Andre Agassi
During the meeting we go through what's booked for the programme that day as well as discussing future planning ideas and big guest suggestions. This morning, I saw a great article about Vivienne Westwood and suggested we ask her to come on as Richard is a huge fan of her clothes. Knowing the presenter helps focus your ideas. Richard is always bubbly and engaged (and likes a good chat), so it's not difficult to get to know which interviews he would be excited about and do well.
As the rest of the team get to work and brief Richard when he arrives, I tend to work through some of the day-to-day administration that keeps the programme ticking over - keeping the programme inbox tidy, liaising with programme contributors, sorting out transport, organising studios.
On a Thursday, I am part of the team that produces the Help! item for the show. Help! is a feature on the Richard Bacon programme where some of our listeners ask a rotating panel of experts for advice, on any subject. And, trust me, they can range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Recently, DIY expert Tommy Walsh and the philosopher Alain de Botton teamed up in an unlikely Help! duo to assist one of our listeners. Tim from Stoke-on-Trent called in asking for help to get rid of the moss he had growing on his red tarmac driveway. An obvious question for Tommy - who suggested scrubbing it with a hydrochloric-acid product. However, Alain suggested a slightly more Zen Buddhist approach - learn a philosophical lesson from the moss. Love the moss. Tim was helped.
My day gets busier (and more exciting) in the early afternoon, when the programme's guests start arriving. I make sure they're met in reception and bring them (and sometimes their over-sized entourage) through the maze of BBC corridors to our studio. This often involves passing TV Centre Tours who are pretty excited to see a famous face. Although I can't say the "celeb" is always quite so excited to be included in a tour of the building.
As a result, I've met quite a few famous types. My most memorable guest was Andre Agassi - my childhood hero. It was daunting to meet the sportsman who defined tennis for me. When I was 8-years-old my Dad took me to Wimbledon for the first time and I saw him play. Because of him, I was inspired to pick up a racket and, later, to become a ball girl at the Championships. I've since had the pleasure of working at Wimbledon for 5 live (always wishing that I would bump into Andre). I think the whole of 5 live will remember my bright red face the day I actually got to meet him.
Other favourites include Minnie Driver, who beat me in a competition to see who could keep a Fisherman's Friend in their mouth for the longest. And most recently Dermot O'Leary who, being a big fan of 5 live, asked to have a tour of the newsroom. It's usually a job I do for new members of staff, so some of the looks I received from other programme teams were priceless.
During the programme, I make sure the guests are comfortable and ready to go on air. Sometimes this involves calming some nerves - but has meant that I've played dog-sitter for a very busy and adorable Bichon Frise puppy. Two days at work are never the same for me.
Once the programme has finished, we record Richard's podcast which includes the whole team. The Daily Bacon podcast is a great way to make Richard's programme more accessible to his ever growing audience both here and abroad. Richard really likes to give a behind-the-scene feel to the podcast, so it is a bit like you become part of the team at our post-show debrief. You can even become a podcast hero (though you would have to go and download the Daily Bacon to know what I mean).
As the time nudges 5pm and I've pretty much finished all the post-programme tidying up I need to do, my day draws to a close. But as I said, no two days are the same for me, so who knows what I'll be faced with tomorrow.
Check out the time-lapse video of the 5 live newsroom
Alice Larkman is a Broadcast Assistant with 5 live.