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29 October 2014

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Radio Sheffield's 40th Birthday

You are in: South Yorkshire > Radio Sheffield's 40th Birthday > Jenny Day

Jenny Day at Orchard Square, 1990s

Jenny Day at Orchard Square, 1990s

Jenny Day

Jenny Day worked at Radio Sheffield from 1984 to 1991 where she met her husband, Chris Van Shaick, and had a hot air balloon adventure with Rony Robinson!

:: Jenny Day
Presenter and Producer, 1984-91

Jenny Day, today

Jenny Day, today

How did you come to work at Radio Sheffield?

I wandered into the Job Centre on West Street and spotted a job for someone to run a Helpline on BBC Radio Sheffield (I can still remember my sign off line - "That's it for the Helpline today. If you can help, please ring Sheffield 682 682.") I ended up presenting mid-morning with Rony. On the way, I did everything from driving the radio car to learning to drive the very scary looking desk. 

Where has life taken you since your time here?

Since leaving (in tears and very reluctantly), I've been a mum to two lovely children. But I've kept my hand in with my beloved local radio. At the moment I'm having an almost ridiculously good time producing and co-presenting with Tommy Boyd on BBC Southern Counties Radio which covers Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire. It's a glorious part of the world but terribly posh. And I'm regarded as incredibly northern.

What was your proudest moment on air?

I suppose I was proud when I was interviewing Arthur Scargill about a new statue of a miner being unveiled in the city centre. But I tackled him about an overtime ban. What ensued was a combat which gripped the newsroom so much that they delayed the news to hear the rest.

What about the funniest?

It involves a tape recorder, Rony Robinson, his pipe and a hot air balloon. It seemed a good idea at the time to send the two of us up in a balloon with a tape recorder (called a uher in those days) to commentate on what we could see over our beautiful corner of the country. But in reality the blast of the burners drowned out lots of what we had to say.

Rony Robinson

The landing was a crash. Rony landed on top of me, his pipe stuck in my neck. And lo and behold the microphone fell out so we didn't even record the denouement.

And the worst?

My worst moment was the horror of interviewing an MP without knowing which party they were representing. The producer had neglected to tell me. It was almost certainly Labour but I didn't dare hazard a guess on air. Not a classic interview by any means.

Who was your favourite presenter?

Without a shadow of a doubt my favourite presenter was, and remains, Rony Robinson. Or Robbo as I called him. What fun we had as a radio couple. He took me to his heart from day one: nurturing me, laughing at my attempts at unfunny jokes and when I messed up my timings, talking until it was time for the news.

Don, Chris and Jenny celebrate their engagement

Chris and Jenny celebrate their engaement with Don

I learnt everything from him; his warmth, his engagement with people from all walks of life and his fearless ability to take on the great and good and ask them the questions which needed asking.

I think he is in the Champions League of presenters and I was so lucky to work with him.

What do you do with your spare time?

Pilates, dog walking, tap dancing and grasping any opportunity for a nice glass of bone dry white wine. I'm quite a country bumpkin now. I've fallen for life in the sticks with our Cocker Spaniels, Snoop and Scrumpy, two guinea pigs Phil and Bob and the humans Chris, Harry and Missy. We haven't even got a shop. Only two pubs and a church. Bliss. But there's plenty of action in Portsmouth, Southampton and Brighton. We can even swim in the sea because the weather's so good. 

Chris Van Shaick, 1980s

Flowing haired, cutting-edge reporter Chris Van S.

How would you sum up your Radio Sheffield experience?

I honestly think Radio Sheffield made me. Was it fate which guided me to the Job Centre that day and found me the perfect job? I'd had a really unhappy time in my PR job in Manchester. But it was Radio Sheffield and the the warmth of the South Yorkshire people who put me back together again, gave me back my self esteem and allowed me to blossom. And to cap it all, that's where I found my husband, Chris van Schaick.

He was a flowing haired, cutting edge reporter then. When he used to visit me in my Helpline office, I had an inkling it wasn't really the Coventry Yellow Pages he was after.
Twenty years, two children, two dogs and two guinea pigs later, we're still going strong.

Guess what we talk about over dinner. Anything but radio or our teenagers will howl in protest.

last updated: 05/10/07

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