10PM: 24 Hours in the Life of 5 live
Tony Livesey and some of the 5 live team in Manchester.
I'm the Editor of Late Night programmes on 5 live. We make Tony Livesey and Stephen Nolan's programmes in Manchester and then we produce Up All Night in London.
I love my job. I get to work with some of the warmest and most engaging presenters on BBC Radio. Tony Livesey, Stephen Nolan, Rhod Sharp and Dotun Adebayo have all seen record audiences in their slot. We've worked our socks off with an exceptionally busy news year which included the General Election and the World Cup.
Our shifts on Stephen Nolan and Tony Livesey start at lunchtime when we begin planning what will be in that night's show. The great thing about a late night programme is that you have loads of opportunities to see what other news shows are doing both on the radio and on the telly. You have lots of time to digest the papers and news websites from around the globe. The downside is that you want your progamme to make an impact and sound fresh. Lots of other progs would have already gone for the same guests, stories and treatments that you're considering.
The output editor sets the general tone, content and style of the output. But I also wade in when we're faced with editorial dilemmas. We're driven by breaking news and the big stories but we also want to connect with our audience and provide a warm and fun listen.
I love the nights when I'm studio editing. It's a massive buzz especially when there's breaking news. The beauty of 5 live is that you can rapidly change the running order to reflect the audience reaction, the quality of the debate and to ensure that we've got the editorial balance right. We really value the instant reaction that we get from our audience on text, email, Twitter and Facebook. The feedback we get from the listener shapes all of our shows.
The strange, anti-social hours of late night shifts often brings people together both on-air and off. Late night audiences are really loyal to their shows and often as not have a strong attachment to their presenters. We're a close knit team who have to work until the early hours when most people are tucked up in their beds. It brings its challenges - try waking up a big name politician when there's breaking news very late at night. But there's a great team spirit when you're working odd hours and generally it's a great laugh.
However, working on those long, dark, late night also brings with it some strange habits. We're all obsessed with sleep patterns. How much sleep we managed. Whether the kids woke someone up. We could all bore you senseless with tips for getting a bit of good sleep.
Food is another obsession. Mainly because there's so little choice late at night. Too many of us rely on the vending machine in the corner of the office.
At 7:30pm we have our programme meeting where the presenter is briefed about what's in the programme. Everyone attends the meeting including all of the technical and editorial staff. And it can get pretty fiesty.
This is also about the time that Tony starts his pre-show routine. He's exceptionally healthy most of the time and will start eating one of his twelve oranges during the meeting. Stephen Nolan is the opposite. He smuggles in packets of crisps into the studio and secretly munches on them during the news and sports bulletins.
A big part of my job has been preparation for 5 live's move to the Northwest. I'm responsible for all of the team who're currently based in Manchester. We've already had a successful start with the move of staff and programme to this city in 2010. A minimum of nineteen hours of 5 live output is now produced from the BBC's Oxford Road studios every week. It can sometimes be a little bit lonely being away from the rest of 5 live but we're loving being pioneers for the radio station - the first people to make the move.
We've recently moved from a small office (we called it the broom cupboard) to a relatively swanky room where we work with a team from the One Show, Radio 4's File on Four and a team who make BBC1's Rip Off Britain. There's a big buzz about the place. We're going to be the first news programme team to broadcast from our new home in Salford. A few weeks later and we'll be reunited with all the rest of 5 live when they move at the end of the year. 2011 is going to be one of the most exciting years in 5 live's history and we can't wait.
I finish my shift just after 1am. I find it hard to switch off so I go home and usually end up watching something trashy and fictional on DVD or TV. And then it's to bed, to dream of anything but news and sport.
Jonathan Aspinwall is 5 live's Editor of Late Night programmes