« Previous | Main | Next »

Running the show in Namibia

Martin Vennard | 17:55 UK time, Wednesday, 26 September 2007

At the height of his running career Ed Moses was the world’s best hurdler, but when he agreed to co-host World Have Your Say from the Next Step conference in Namibia I doubt he could have imagined that he was letting himself in for a 2-hour marathon.

He had initially said that he could stay with us for 45 minutes but – and I don’t think I’m putting words into his mouth – he seemed to enjoy the experience so much he stayed right to the end of the show.

Having Ed take part in the programme was just one of the many highlights of our broadcast from the Namibian capital, Windhoek.


The conference was about using sport as a way of encouraging development - in people and communities – and another of the delegates, Caroline Kondo, a trainee sports teacher from Zimbabwe, also joined Ros as another very able co-host.

I tried to get the former 200m world record holder, Frankie Fredericks, who is possibly Namibia’s most famous son, to take part, but he was busy on Friday night, while Britain’s golden girl Kelly Holmes flew out the day before the show, although she did try and change her flight to stay.

We worked alongside the Namibian state broadcaster, NBC, who also took the show live on their airwaves. NBC provided us with some equipment and another co-presenter, Wesley Vries.


I’d arrived in Windhoek on the Wednesday afternoon after 17 hours on planes and in airports. It was virtually non-stop from then until the programme went out on air from the terrace of the Safari Court Hotel, where the conference was held.

There were several hundred delegates there from around the world - including Britain’s minister for the 2012 London Olympics, Tessa Jowell, and the Namibian Sports Minister, John Mutorwa - and many of them turned up at the live broadcast.

Getting co-hosts, participants and the audience together for the show was the (relatively) easy bit. The main problems were technical. It took several weeks to get a broadcast quality phone line installed at the hotel for our programme, and it still wasn’t tested until after we got there. Fortunately, we had a very reliable technical person, Adam Reed, with us.


The internet connection we needed to communicate to our office back in London and get listeners’ emails proved even more difficult. The telecom company only managed to get it working a few hours before the show… and then it cut out again.

In fact, internet access from anywhere in the hotel was patchy at the best of times, but by some miracle we were back on-line for the programme.


Some local guys, who were working as volunteers at the conference, agreed to be microphone-holders for the show to allow the terrace audience to have its say.

The sun set behind a crowd of more than 100 people as we went on air and the temperature fell below the daytime’s 30C. But as the temperatures cooled the debate heated up.

We were also able to link up with some of the people that the organisations represented at the conference had helped. We heard from a former homeless man in Scotland, and young sports people in Kenya and Zambia who had battled adversity.

It’s difficult to follow everything that’s being said when you’re trying to co-ordinate things on the ground, but I could tell from the reactions of the audience and the texts and emails we were getting that the debate was going well.


Many in the crowd were fascinated by the way Ros directed the debate like a hyperactive traffic policemen, frantically waving his hands and moving around to bring people in and out of the discussion.

We were delighted that a regular WHYS listener in Namibia, Chris Park, and her husband and son turned up for the programme. They invited us up to their house after the show and I’ll write more about that later.

They were also surprised that he let Caroline and Ed have the lion’s share of the presenters' airtime. The two of them were more than worthy of it.


Far from leaving after 45 minutes Ed said he was happy to stay for part of the second live hour of the show, which goes to Africa, and the text messages started coming in from our listeners there.

But he stayed on right through to the end. It had been a hugely enjoyable experience, but also challenging and hard work. I noticed that by that time even Ed had worked up a sweat. I’m not sure how many other radio programmes have taken Ed Moses out for a two-hour run and kept up with him.


  • No comments to display yet.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.