jobs do you do in the newsroom?
I don't work in the main newsroom. I'm the Kendal reporter,
which means I work - alone most of the time - making
sure anything happening within about 20 miles of Kendal
which deserves to be reflected on some part of the BBC
gets there. Usually this is BBC Radio Cumbria - but
it's often also north west regional television, and
on occasion, national radio or TV. I also look after
the Kendal studio - although I'm not very good at keeping
it tidy - sometimes represent the BBC by giving talks
to local groups, assist listeners with general inquiries
about Radio Cumbria or the rest of the BBC, and try
to be reassuring when local television transmitters
the most exciting/biggest news story you've ever covered?
I was reading the news on the night of the Lockerbie
atrocity - but in terms of actually being there and
covering the story, it's hard to choose. Foot and mouth
left its memories, as did most recently the Morecambe
Bay tragedy. But the long-running stories, like the
controversy over a 10 miles an hour speed limit on Windermere,
are one of the reasons I stayed a local reporter, following
issues over the years. And smaller stories - like the
invention of abseiling on bicycles by a local group
- can be equally exciting in their own way!
famous/well-known people have you spoken to during your
John Major, John Prescott, Michael Heseltine, and one
or two TV stars like Clarrie Dixon Wright and Ben Fogle.
But I prefer to see my job as making people famous!
did you get into radio?
I was freelancing after leaving a job as Editor of the
North West Evening Mail in Barrow, most of my work was
for BBC Radio Cumbria, and after three months the station
offered me a job. Good thing too - the money was running
out. More than fifteen years on, I think the letters
BBC now run through me like Blackpool in rock.
was your first broadcast?
I can't really remember - but I've a suspicion it was
a news report about Ulverston Town Council.
else have you worked?
I spent six years in Barrow on the Evening Mail, working
my way up as a production journalist, putting the newspaper
together rather than reporting. Before that, I trained
as a reporter at Redditch in the Midlands.
other jobs have you done besides broadcasting?
In and around a slightly irregular education, I drove
light trucks and vans all over the Midlands and the
south of England.
are your local connections?
None, apart from a few distant ancestors buried in Egremont
would you be if you weren't a journalist?
Unemployed - or a truck driver.
would listeners be surprised to learn about you?
My beard or my age seem to be the main surprise when
do you do when you're not broadcasting?
With between two and four children in the house depending
on who's home, I'm kept pretty busy. If I get a chance
I play tennis, or ride my bike or walk around Sedbergh.
Working for the BBC gave me the opportunity to train
broadcasters in formerly communist countries in the
skills they need to work in a democracy. I spent three
months in central Russia, which was very cold but wonderful
fun, and three months in Bosnia, which was also fun
some of the time, always interesting and often depressing
- it is very sad to be surrounded by so much destruction,
fear and hate, and to know that they'll spend generations
repairing the damage of a couple of years of madness.
After years of wondering what it would be like to be
a war correspondent, it convinced me - even though the
bullets were no longer flying - that I would crack up
if sent to cover such conflict.