Watch Listen
On Now : 5 live Sport
Chelsea Ladies v Notts County Ladies
BBC Radio 5 live
The 5 live blog
Over the past few weeks I have been planning a trip across the USA for Drive. The plan is to look at three big election issues in three appropriate states.

 

First stop El Paso. We are there to look at immigration as an election issue. It’s a subject that always features in elections here and arguably parties that ignore it, or are seen to, do so at their peril. The same can be said for the US, where fears that Mexican drug cartels are using the Texan border as a route into the country combine with worries that jobs are going to illegal immigrants ahead of unemployed Americans. It's a highly contentious issue.

 

We are due to meet police, the immigrant labourers and the people who use them and also someone who has in the past taken matters into his own hands to keep the border secure. It should make for a great listen on Monday’s Drive.

 

After the show we will fly to Detroit to discuss the economy in the spiritual home of the US car industry. If anything says America, it’s its love of cars. Detroit in its heyday was a city of nearly two million people - now it’s just over 700,000, and that's predicted to fall to around half a million. Its population sums up much of the city’s history. Once booming, when American cars ruled the world, now it’s struggling. It’s a big election issue because the President bailed out the city’s car industry.

 

We’ll be taking a tour of the crumbling city and asking if the money has worked, not only for Detroit but for the US economy generally. We’ve got some great guests lined up here for Wednesday including economists who have worked in the car industry all their working life and the controversial local Mayor. No trip to Detroit would be complete without a quick tour around the Motown Museum so that's also on the cards.

 

We'll leave the car city in, appropriately, a car. We'll drive to the swing state of Ohio and its capital, Columbus. Looking at morality issues and seeing how topics like abortion and gay marriage play out in a state which has voted for the President since the 1960s. The area has been bombarded with campaign teams and its TV and radio viewers blitzed with constant TV ads. I’ll be keen to know if they are fed up with it and long for the day when commercials return to fast food and cars, rather than policies and scare stories. That’s all next Friday on Drive.

 

It’s going to be a long trip, with some American-size journeys, and some fast turnarounds and no doubt one or two manic moments. The planning has been hard work as I’ve found that American guests fall into two categories. On one hand you have those that fill the stereotype and can’t do enough to help: “thanks for reaching out and have nice day”. On the other you have the polar opposites who are clearly very busy in the run up to the election and want to say no, and would, if only the word was not part of the American vocabulary.

 

However if all this sounds like complaining, it really isn’t. I wouldn’t dare as this is a trip of a lifetime that all my colleagues would love. So I’ll shut up and just say listen next week when hopefully we’ll make the US election about the people and the characters that you wouldn’t get elsewhere. I’d like to say that we’ll be supersizing the election but I’m really not that cheesy.

 

Jim Connolly is a senior producer at BBC Radio 5 live. 5 live Drive is on Monday-Friday between 4pm and 7pm.

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 14. Posted by Arabis

    on 3 Nov 2012 18:37

    26th Oct. A thoughtful insight from Jim Connolly into the US election.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 14: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 14: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 13. Posted by Jackstumps

    on 1 Nov 2012 20:54

    Five Live seems to be drifting into a dream world in that however much folks criticise they either close down that avenue of comment or simply ignore the opinions of the most important people - the listeners. I see AVK has been seconded to another gravy train in the Beeb for a few months and Tim Davey has moved on as well. Must be hoped that people replacing them have some radical ideas to oust some of the cosy presenters (Derbyshire / Campbell / Bacon) and some of the downright poor one's - Murray, Nolan, Savage etc the list is becoming endless.

    It won't happen of course. The problem is in the Beeb no one is accountable as in a commercial operation. If they are, could someone tell us how?

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 13: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 13: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 12. Posted by what

    on 31 Oct 2012 14:43

    There seems no point, other than a jolly for the normally Bromley based reporter and her chums, in visting the US when the BBC have hundreds of permanent staff there, and report on the usual cliches - the border illegals, Detroit decline, Iowa on a knife edge... Yep, and Bacon on election night - coz he wants to!

    It might be better for the management to consider why during a home Olympics/Paralympics, Wimbledon, Ryder cup etc. the station lost listeners yet again. No other station could have achieved that. And their answer to this recurring anamoly is trails, jingles, plugs every few seconds. On saturday morning you could hear the crowd cheering as a list of a dozen upcoming events were read out: "Coming up, racing from Doncaster..." There's a paradox here: the more you insist people do something (listen) the less likely they will. But I imagine that is lost on this management as much else.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 12: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 12: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 11. Posted by GingerTompkins

    on 31 Oct 2012 13:21

    With so many jingles and trailers on 5live its beginning to sound like Radio One with loads of sport and sports chat and with what little news you can actually get , thrown in for good measure.No wonder 5live had to incorporate 5live Sports Extras Rajar audience figures to help boost the listeners numbers and make them sound somewhere respectable as this controller fails over act on the decline of this dumbed down tabloid radio station.Its not really working is it ?

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 11: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 11: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 10. Posted by carrie

    on 30 Oct 2012 17:02

    Bacon did the Obama Inauguration. I expect he would like a quick trip across for the actual election.

    I cannot fault Rhod for giving the best perspectives of a journalist who is both resident yet not an American citizen. His reports are always interesting and easy to listen to, whereas I am afraid Lesley talks too loudly for me.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 10: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 10: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 9. Posted by Jackstumps

    on 30 Oct 2012 16:44

    This guys having a laugh surely? He's not even a presenter.
    I agree that the election perspective should be Rhod's domain. Are they planning to send Campbell / Bacon / Derbyshire out to present programmes from the inevitable cafe or bar to add 'colour'?

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 9: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 9: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 8. Posted by bennsplash

    on 30 Oct 2012 08:17

    It will be interesting to get different point of view on the election, a British visitor's view, and for that reason I look forward to reading and hearing more from this 'letter from America'.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 8: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 8: 1
    Loading…
  • Comment number 7. Posted by rapidrickthommo

    on 28 Oct 2012 11:39

    Carrie, I too am concerned about the "Romney finger". As we saw with Bush/Blair this has major implications for the UK. We can debate devolution as well of course!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 7: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 7: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 6. Posted by carrie

    on 28 Oct 2012 10:33

    The subjects they are going to discuss are important to the US electorate, who are insanely inward looking unless it is to do with their national security. However, a trick has been missed to link this series with what matters most to the rest of the world, and to be honest what I am worrying about is a Romney finger on the old War button.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 6: 1
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 6: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 5. Posted by sauerkraut

    on 28 Oct 2012 10:13

    is marvellous that we take soooooooooo much interest in the U.S. politics and forget ours,time that we put our future first i.e. scotland wanting to leave ,wales with language problems -we can not speak english properly -our leaders are determent to make us speak welsh ,lets have a choice on this folly !

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 5: 1
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 5: 0
    Loading…
More comments

More Posts

Previous

Next