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Media Masters with Paul Blanchard
welcome to media Masters series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game digital the England as a presenter editor and department head across the BBC and the commercial sector and now oversees 39 local radio stations across the country.
She said daytime programmes on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour any questions about the week.
I was responsible for bringing new voices to the end including Jane Garvey and Kirsty Young spent four years as head of group operations for BBC Network radio Chris thank you Tony Hall BBC director-general at testing with reinventing BBC local radio for the next generation that must be quite a challenge, but I think it's if you love radio which I do they would say it's the best job in the world to have because you're basically doing what you love doing.
So you know I love listening to the radio.
I love being in radio Studios I love.
People about radio and actually I've now got permission as part of my daytime job to listen and talk to people about radio and also to talk to audience about what they want from radio station and I think what I discovered.
I've been in this post now.
Just over 10 months ago after 10 months and I visited 39 local radio stations across England and when you meet audience members of listeners and when you talk to the staff there you see the tremendous passion emotional connection people still have with radio and also lots of people sent me since I started my career or it's you know it's a medium but it isn't because it's about radio but it's also about podcast it just about sound and actually because of the technology and use of phones that people can sort of consumer everywhere.
You don't have to rely on.
Will have something very heavy gonna carry around so I think we are in a really exciting period for radio and audio radio is such an incredibly intimate medium.
I couldn't imagine life without it.
I mean I I wake up probably many people in the first thing I wake up with the radio on you know because that's my alarm clock.
That's what it's me up in the morning.
You will have to see what station.
Will it varies because what I will do is I will wake up because I travel quite a lot I wake up wherever I am the local radio station that I tend to wake up most days about to the 530 or 6 and 2 many territory.
I could I could be if I was listening to three counties it would be Wally if it was obviously Radio 4 then you'd have sort of your morning.
And you have your prayer for the day and then going to farming today, so I'm off and said to people I actually don't look at the clock in the morning.
I don't need to look at the clock in the morning.
I should have know where I am but the which is really quite sad now but what is it about radio that you that you look so much? What is it the inspires you about it? I think it's a great question.
I think it's the thing that you said earlier on it's the intimacy so I was born in Liverpool and spent a lot of my life in the midlands, and I was the youngest to 3 and 20 of the youngest your brother and sister.
I really don't like playing with you.
You can't run as quickly as that you can't do anything you're all well.
We got a taker and I used to love taking the kitchen radio in just go away and listening to it and I can remember doing that when I was probably.
Quite hard and I in my head.
I thought that the radio had the little people that sat in it and they were telling me this wonderful stories.
I've seen no evidence to contradict.
No, I think people were quite sure but what was lovely About It Was by listening to the radio.
I was taken to this completely other world and they were describing place ever been to London I like I'm listening to someone they describing the rain in Piccadilly and the lights in the puddles and all that kind of stuff and it was just as wonderful world that was presented to me and radio for me became a window on the rest of the world whether that was nationally or internationally and I still believe this is the best pictures are made in sound and through words and language you know and I think it was that they just took me in and I knew from a very very early age.
But that's what I wanted to do.
I had no idea.
I would go about doing it because my family had absolutely no connection with the media whatsoever but that was my passion and I still feel passionate.
I feel passionately about it now as I did when I was that you know little 4-year old wondering around the house.
Just listening to the Rain like probably some people listening.
You know I used to take the radius bed night on the door.
Would you turn that thing off? I just obsessed my earliest memories with my thumb over the pause button listening to the UK top 5 counting down waiting for him to stop speaking just let go of the top 40 matter what was number one on Spotify
Things have changed and that's great as well because what it means is that Radio has to reinvent itself for a new generation and I think one of the things that I have said several times people recently and I said what you want from me as you want that emotional connection you want to feel it really matters and they're on your side.
I can remember talking not that long ago actually talking to my niece about why she loved Chris Moyles absolutely love Christmas something car park catchphrase was the greatest invention ever what is it about Christmas you really like and she said the thing is you just want to be in his gang you want him to be your friend because he's coming to look after his wonderful and she now realise Greg James
Broadcasters, do is there great communicators and they are your friend and they should have on your side and when you know I mean I can remember listening to John Peel was the most amazing words with and he would introduce you to things that you think do I really want to listen to this and 8:30 on you really didn't want to listen to that but because he said you did you went with him.
He took you on a journey and you know he did that from when he's very young broadcaster when he became absolutely Mickey catalyst in the late shift on BBC Radio 1 broadcast an hour but he was unbelievable then to stay up to listen to it and that's what you think I want to be more often local radios that appointment to listen and it's that sort of friendship and passion and people who you just really interested in their lives because I think again.
Broadcasters they share something of themselves and that's really important.
You know you feel you know them you listen to people like Jane Garvey and sharing parts self.
I mean she is not all of herself but part of herself and so you feel that if she has something it's the question you want to ask and I think also great broadcasters.
Have a great.
It's a sort of Sixth Sense they know the question the list was probably shouting at the radio at home and that's the question you go for great fun can't you love Ken Bruce on Radio 2 PopMaster anything you know it's nothing more than a lot in local radio clearly news and journalism is a very important part of local radio.
I completely get that your new take something like Wally Bridge recently and it's really important.
Local journalist and broadcaster with a great seer Sheffield Radio Derby and Manchester all come together and follow the story really really important stuff but also what you want from Radio 2 if you want that escapism because you know something about me know when you going home.
Yes you want to catch up on the days events, but you also want to go home a bit of a smile cos I've had a bad day and what I think great broadcasters do and great radio Dad you're able to leave behind your woes and just go into another world and that's a lovely thing to be able to do it, so let's go back to when you were 4 years old listening to the radio on his little people speaking that you wanted to do radio zakaria.
We think about what you think that was my dad said, what do you want to be when you grow up but I didn't tell them I just thought I'd like to do that.
I don't know quite what it is that I could do.
New but that was the sort of thing I'd like to do and probably like you know some people listening to Listening at the moment.
You know I kind of thought myself well, what could I do not say I'd like to work in radio because that's going to be some really stupid so I never mentioned anything but I knew that's what I wanted to do any other education.
Well, you know to be a teacher so yeah, yeah had already secretary secretary very important and I thought I could be those kinds of things but really not where my passion lies is all I want to do and I can remember I was about 13 or 14.
I wrote to my local radio station in Nottingham called radio rich them and I basically did a sort of critique of their output.
I didn't realise that was doing and I was suggesting that they should do such and such.
What they needed for somebody like me to help them now looking back on it.
Yes very precocious, but I didn't really think of because I just thought well.
Why not why shouldn't I be getting out exactly so I wrote the letter in not expecting to hear anything and in those days.
It was posted and we got a letter from the registration.
You said to me before you and in those dates for the only letters that are arrived for you.
It was either your exam results or birthday card and thank you very much like to get up to open it.
I should have came down and I showed them and it was basically saying why don't you come in and have a chat so next week? I went in I had a chat.
They gave me a voice test and two weeks later.
I ended up side of working on a Saturday morning show as part of a posse and that was it.
I just had the bug even more and if they took it is a very kind man.
They're called John Shaw sadly no.
Live and taught me how to read it and you taught me how to use a portable recorder and drive a desk and I just I would do anything any job.
They asked me to do you know could you do this Christmas thing actually know how to do that, but I know somebody I could ask and don't show me and that's what that's what I did and then I did and I went to university and remember what I did was I kept going back to the commercial radio station to the old singer fill in the summer.
I do anything just to learn and I can remember when I left university and my dad said, what do you want to do and I said I want to work on this thing called radio that was when you came out with the truth and it's because I've well tell you what I'll give you a year.
Find a job in a year then.
I think you should go and do law and I thought ok got here a year to do it also backstop.
If you think about it from lots of other much more sensible thing to do but anyway, it's fine.
So often marched and hundreds of letters price for loads of jobs.
Probably didn't get any of them then late night.
Presenter was leaving commercial registration Radio Trent why don't you put a demo in again? What's to lose? You're the worst thing they can say is now so I put a demo in and I got the gig and so I was doing a late night phone in from 10 till 2 in Nottingham at the that is the height of think of the miners strike and all that going on and you know you look back at it.
How mad was that was the time when commercial radio did a lot of speech and they used to broadcast autocross Leicester so you had two areas to deal with and I did that and then I was asked somebody phoned me up and said there's a job then.
Why don't you apply for that so I did that and that's how we ended up at the BBC but I was still inside this job the first first and I think I know I did a little bit of network presenting.
I presented you and yours A Woman's Hour a couple of times and but I realise I will sort myself.
I'm ok on it but actually I think I would be better producer rather than being somebody on it because great presenters.
There's just something that separates them from everybody else there.
There's a little X Factor couple of years ago and he said he calls it.
And you've got to have that and I'm not that sort of person really I enjoy chatting about what I do but actually you know I don't have the word skills with the flow anything on days like so I ended up moving behind the scenes what network ready for a long time and then commercial ready and I would say that I've done I've done most jobs in in radio and I love them all equally I've learnt something from doing all of them have also learnt there's actually the best teams are those mixed teams where you can you just respect people's different skills and that's the one thing I learnt through presenting and it will be presented to working with technologists and Engineers you know what I really good at it sounds like and there are some people that have got the most wonderfully is and can just put fairy dust over something you've created and then.
What is a typical week for you? What is your job is a BBC executive you are now collecting Nanny's for producers, but it's like.
What do you do? What do what do I do if I spend a lot of time going around visiting different stations and talking to the teams there about would I feel good local radio should sound like an area and I think the interesting thing it does vary from area to area.
There is a kind of Staples that we can do looking at ways to three people up.
So they can focus on the things that they should be focusing on so they focus on the you don't have to be make the most of the great stories that we on earth and the talent we on earth and moving their Talent around the organisation how you do that, but I think you do a lot of listening.
And I think the best way of doing it is encouraging people chatting to somebody yesterday actually really London then, what do you want to listen to London to prepare for exactly? This is a great city to live in and it's a big city and its breath city and you know what you want as you want lunch own London and that vibrancy and the rich diversity of the city all that comes and the fun.
You know that's what you want to hear coming out of the radio.
He said things sometimes you don't get things right.
There will be things that we trying to do that won't always be brilliant.
I genuinely believe that audiences will forgive you for something not being perfect but they won't forgive you for it's consistent warden.
So let's throw a surprise them.
You know I think what logo.
Yeah, it's done over last year in terms of the evening programs bringing back the evening program trying new Talent that's great.
You know the reason why I particularly like that is somebody gave me a chance.
I went on here.
Did I know what I was doing not really but somebody also took me aside and nurtured me and actually I realised at the end of the day.
I was going to be great at that butt was something else inside the industry that I could do so I I I spend a lot of my time literally talking to people and saying to them well, what can I do to help you to make this better? How can we encourage people to see us the front door for the BBC to get their stories held and also I think what I tried doing my rule 2 is it a good idea over there so in Bristol for example.
They have something called upload which is the speech equivalent of BBC introducing.
About spoken word and stories and it's a beautiful piece of kit they developed with technology and they had this just started and they sent me this amazing development which was it was a homeless man in Bristol who board somebody's phone he recorded a poem of what it was like to the streets in Bristol and the violence he faced on a daily basis and he told the story but his word was all done through poetry.
It was uploaded to load they played the story it went out and the whole thing went global that is the power of radio so what we going to do is BBC upload in Bristol I can do is let's do that across 39 local radio station is a good idea while it's exactly and I think that's part of what I in my role want to do is it?
And see if you're in Cumbria what you've just got to think about camera which is quite right with a focus on the audience, but you're not necessarily going to know what's going on in say Bristol or Cornwall with a might also be great ideas for an element of an ambassadorial role, having local radio for me seems quite unsung it is a lifeline for local that major news events like flooding and its companion to millions and yet it feels sometimes that it's under invested in not just by the BBC but by commercial radio stations by Society itself, but I do see myself as in part being a bit of a cheerleader for local radio and I make no bones about that and I because like yourself.
I think it is a great thing that we've got there and I think if you look at what's happened say with local newspapers.
I mean there are lots of areas of the country now where there is no.
There is no regional newspaper.
That's all gone if you look what's happening commercial radio and I think commercial radio has been really important in the growth of audio generally and what it I got lots of friends who worked at Bauer and global I really respect what they do but we're doing something very different and I think what local radio does it is owns that local space and also I think local radio can be really important to ensuring that democracy and her is still is there people are still go to account for what's going on in some of those areas and that's why I think you know local radio is really important and we should favoured and we should really make it make it proud and bold at that.
I think there's something that I've observed as I've gone around you know the best example.
And I accept this is this is amazing and I have a meeting with technical and I said this is amazing and sure enough so we got support from him another and was a visiting we actually know that we are ready.
Queue is another expression for using a conversation sure you do one thing that I'm very keen that local radio is it is much more visible because again you know we don't want to be enclosed off buildings in III want to see who are the presenters are because I clearly know now.
They're not sitting in little radio, but there's something.
Developed with design engineering BBC technology area which is called radio on a box which basically means that if you give me an iPad I can put a radio studio on that and you can go broadcast anywhere that Lucy live and social media so it's much bigger than that something very similar in Sweden found in Sweden is a their kind of clothes unlock their buildings and a litre in the summer.
They leave their buildings and they go to the coast because that's what the audiences are and as a result of that more visible audience have gone out so there's a you know we know what local radio is like we know what radios like it's kind of what are the things we can do that differentiates us from everybody else and I think it's things about being accessible the sort of place that you can touch feel being fun celebrating your area and having a real emotional connection with people.
How are people listening to local radio?
BBC Radio York when I was elected councillor in York for 6 years only two things the paper in the local radio station that but let's see if it 93.1 or whatever I mean now the thought of listening to anything on FM is just ridiculous.
I've got DAB in my car.
I got the BBC Sounds app on my phone because I've been bullied into it every BBC Radio staying for the last year has the platform changed the audience engagement with it because now it isn't just a question of turning on the local FM station.
You know you can get metrics you can learn about how people getting their what links the clicking on absolutely and I think this is one of the things that we have not done enough on in local radio and it's one of our challenge is I think they're so I think we are still rely.
Quite a lot on the live linear listen on DAB but if you look overall at listeners to local radio they tend to be less than the national average and I think what we've got to do is kind of move that dial and actually show people the possibilities of listen again of the cast for being also made by a local radio is a wonderful one called multi-storey, which celebrates the best stuff that's on local radio is another great one called the naked podcast is also a lovely one made by jo good radio London city, so we're making lots of great stuff and no one to do which is called England and wrap which is basically documentaries that go out on local radio.
That's all there on sounds but we need to sort of all these things up much more from listeners, and we can do that through using social media.
We can do that through Facebook really interesting story with an initiative called.
New voices which is effectively kind of saying right or evening programs you want to be a contributor you got a story you've got 60 seconds to audition tell us a story and we might put you on it and they did this a while back in Nottingham the discover broadcast coordinator and sumaya went on with very different frozen on Nottingham previously and she's to stream her whole program on Instagram lots of risks include.
They were controlled wrist because we are the BBC or that kind of stuff, but it just short of breath of fresh air but she was found to a talent search called untapped and it goes back to the upload example of talking earlier on so I thought that sounds good.
So why don't we do that or 39 local radio stations and so that's what we doing 39 local radio stations.
I don't quite know what's going to happen, but the thing is we done all the advertising for it.
Social media and Facebook nothing that bid on it but basically what we wanted to reach was a new audience that wouldn't think about going to their local radio station because they think all that's for people like them rather than people like me and I want it to be for everyone.
I want her our audience to be as broad a basic should be about people who love their area and you can be you know you can be sex and love your area and you can be 86 of your area and I want us to be a broad Church but the church that's kind of relevant for all those people at home and one of those does every single regional variant of BBC One in the sum of 900 channel area even though I live in my living Milton Keynes commute to London but I always watch BBC Look North cos I'm from York and lots of them and I wonder when you were talking about podcasting IDE love that if the radio.
6-minute York summary on a podcast genuinely listen to that and I think that's where I was talking that we've not really developed.
What are digital offer is because I think there are people like yourself and pants and you kind of love your area and you want to know what's going on.
You're not going to listen to show but actually tell me everything I need to know in 6 minutes.
Tell me what's the news that week.
I really need to know about from that particular area particularly when you are talking about this relation to the students when you first go to university a little bit and you should want to know what's going on and that he actually be what your local football team is doing and you want the kind of you want the best bits and just served up a real simple fashion and I think there's more much more we can do around.
Stay connected and we don't worry not just seen as being if you like the live listen.
It's 3 hours and you got to listen to the 3 hours.
There's lots of things we can do a lovely program called the c word in Coventry presented Again by loving you broadcast record Latisha I'm a big Letitia family hands on the think she's great what I love about the t-shirt is very do a kind of cut down version on sounds and it was one she did which is one of my favourite is which was a real thing for Charlie Sloth and she recalled this very that's 3 minutes long but was about her having a dream about having a date with Charlie Sloth 1Xtra and it was just funny and quirky and it's kind of shorts like that sounds very relevant to your area and we need to be doing much more of that we currently are I think it's also about having it pushed to you as well as one of the things I do like about the BBC Sounds app in fairness and I'm not a paid advocate.
And I've seen some own free will is you can subscribe to certain channels and shows and then automatically download and put in your feet so once I've subscribed.
I can't miss something and that's what I don't want to be with you.
No listen to a 6-minute your new something that is great and then just forget about it after think I think that's the one I'm a bit like you I drive to a lot of things on sounds.
Not surprisingly given the nature of my job.
I can listen to them sometimes.
I do sometimes.
I don't sometimes you kind of you.
Don't get round to it and you but actually just think it's there means when you got a bit of time.
You know when you're on the three and a half hour journey home whatever happens to be possible that I can have a bit of that and you sort of almost have this sort of August for the things that you can consume which is lovely well that actually brings me to my next question which is where all the attention deficit these days.
That is also so many things competing present ever.
A couple of months ago that knows that I'm bored anymore because that's right.
I've got 50 things on Netflix I've downloaded 100 shows on BBC sounds.
I've got 50 unread emails, but it's your competition in the old days Radio York competition was Minster FM imagine it is Netflix is something on 5 Live podcast on a TV show of course it is and that's why I think it's important.
We make a noise and we we have to find a way of punching through and doing something different we can't just rely on audiences going to Radio York it's going to what's going to be our appointment to listen and how are you going to tell me about that? Are you going to tell me that through initiatives like you voices.
Are you going to tell me that because of the support you've god you know and I think it's things like.
Do we have to do much more of an amine local radio does an awful lot around 4, we know sport is one of those things that Drive young audiences in local radio is good when it does thought because we can also be a bit bipartisan wonderful thing.
They didn't Radio Derby when Dobby was in the playoffs and they had Frank holiday on a bank holiday, and it was this is fun and it made you smile it made you laugh, but it was it was really it was local radio being noisy local radio punching above if you like everything else that was out there and I think therefore the quality of excellence.
We need an area thing we do is really important and I'd almost say I'd rather us do a little bit less but actually repeat a little bit that's not see repeats as being a dirty word because actually happens in lots of different places.
What is kind of thinking this is really good? You know if it's a nice song you hear My Song to it's a great interview play the interview twice customer list as point of view.
It's really good to hear it again, but is having great distinctive content enough because when you were saying that I was thinking of what I call the airport bookshop problem which is 10 Great books that you could read and you're stood in front of the open the gate and you literally have to judge the book by its cover, but you haven't got time to have any recommendations given that you got this great content you then got a hustle.
Have you got a market how you do, but I think the best way of doing that locally is sometimes through word of mouth and it's people saying did you hear such and Such radio station and it's also that's why I go back to the point.
I mentioned earlier on about being very visible because you there we don't want to be locked away with their and without.
Omnipresent and I think that's that's one the really important things that we need to do you know what you're saying about you how to make a choice and that's why I go back again to an earlier point about that emotional connection was telling me a story recently which was when the over-75s came out and it was a Radio Merseyside this who gone to the station talk about it.
They wanted advice on what they should do and there that listeners sitting in BBC Radio Merseyside talking to the editor of BBC Radio Merseyside and she said well.
I know it's not you.
It's the BBC because from her point of view her local radio station was Merseyside it wasn't connected with the other thing was the US and because they had an emotional connection with that radio station.
And that's why I think you know it goes back to the great broadcasters the friends what you do what you provide that no one else is going to be doing it's local radio to get into these days as a as a career.
I mean you obviously wrote to your friend when you're in your teens, but you could someone do that now.
Is it you're not giving in the HR policies of the BBC 50 times more voluminous.
Do they were then? I think that's one of the reasons why I'm keen to see things like you voices and upload there because that's a way of finding different voices and people have got experiences again what you want from your local radio stations if you want to be representative of the areas that the living in and sound like the areas.
They are living in and that doesn't mean.
Radio station has a particular accent of the area, but you can if you have a passion connection there as I think by having things like you voices.
Yes, we still have traditional recruitment, but we've got other ways of getting and I'm also keen to see what we can do around apprenticeships to bring other people in because part of what I want to see local radio, do is put the radio back into local radio.
I think it was a period of time when we were very much focused on use and as I said you will always be an important part of what we do, but there's other stuff you can do as well and that I think is really important things to know about and by creating lots of different avenues to get for people to enter local radio stations.
Hopefully, we will make it easier for people just kind of thing but I can approach them.
I can have just I get a lot of emails from people who want to work in radio.
I always respond to them because I think it's really important that we do I'm not always as quick as I would like to be but I live in radio and this may sound a bit kind of old does she really think that I generally believe this we have to have a generosity of spirit and I can remember you know somebody taking me aside and helping me learn how to edit and show me what was done and I've never forgotten that and I believe somebody did that to me so I need to pass that on and I was involved for many years and still am on the prick but I was chair of the Radio Academy and part of what I was said, there's we have you back.
You know I wanted the Radio Academy which it is doing very well at training to be a source of the one place.
You could go to try navigate your way around this industry.
You know when I start.
I had no idea who anybody was what type of record for me.
It's just something I wanted to do and I'm supposed to be quick learner and you know I got to where I got the right places, but it shouldn't be just down to an individual being cocky suppose you would say these days.
I wanted to be a bit more welcoming on that.
Yes, I think to work in industry like this.
You do have to be quite confident in arrogant.
You know you wouldn't believe it if I said I would but I am I hate any networking event.
I would rather now my hands with table then go to one but if you said to me talk about radio might such a great thing to be more than happy to do that so I think it has become more difficult but I think in local radio what I want to do is broaden the range of skills.
That we need will make it easier hopefully for variety of people increase the number of roots in it could be through something like you voices.
It could be something like upload and also when those people get in make sure they got the right support in place because that's really important to you know so they can find different ways of navigating the way around the industry because probably every person you will meet will have a story similar to mine as one person and help them and another one thing I know about people who work and radio is there love talking about it, so let them talk about and share their knowledge and expertise and bring on the Next Generation there's been a huge developments in the broadcasting technology you know in terms of digital playout and all this was clearly makes the job of getting to a more cost-effective cheaper, but also better quality, but on the other hand you got that which is great, but then you've also got the fact that local radio have less money than ever you know what you were saying when you were talking.
I know you do not give me some more money.
Everybody will always say you want more money.
I'm not going to say this but we know the world were living in and the great thing about technology is it can drive down the cost of lots of things so actually you put the money into if you like people and ideas remember once Rose working Radio 4 and somebody said to me.
They know we don't have much in terms of our program by that the meaning of disposable things to commission extra stuff for myself, but you've got x number of people that's our ideas factory.
You know yes, it's great to have additional spending other things so what I want to do if you like is where we can spend less perhaps on it and be clever about digital Technology so that week.
Send money on people and ideas because fundamental in local radio you need a lot of ideas to actually keep interest from the listeners and you need to encourage them very often is having people with different skills is local radio still the path to to entering radio and then working its way up the ladder if I want to win national radio presenter.
Is it better that I start of the Cambridge recently was concerned that commercial stations and a parachuting celebrities in now.
So then you're there biggest names of presenters won't even Radio presenters.
I never have been and Amanda Holden for example and it's because they've got big Instagram followers and social media to what extent is that dynamic changed I think for local and it will always be a little bit different.
I think in broadcasting more generally you know it's a match borderlands.
Get you got now and she said there are many different routes in there are people who are great podcast as Who
Get your fantastic and I think local radio may be rooting for some people but there are some people who want to stay working in local radio because that's is a particular type of broadcasting that they want to do and we need to celebrate that as well, so you're right.
I think it can be a stepping stone to somewhere else that can serve as a stepping stone and that's what you want to stay and you want to develop doing different things and you wanted work on different programs you want to always be doing different things with audience.
Yes, it's one routine, but I don't think we should always think it's a routine to get out your commercial rivals are replacing the locals would like to syndicated national shows it is that way.
Can actually win then listen to look up commercial local radio sometimes and they have they have a syndicated sky news broadcaster for the news at the top of the hour is that there's a couple of local bits when they then go back out there a pleasant and expenses listening to BBC local radio for you.
We have a different way of doing things and I think 1 things I want to see us being is more local than we've ever been before and again if I go back to I'm not obsessed with technology, but I do think you can be a great enabler to do things and actually because we don't have to set up a radio station and have a big building then you know it could be in a library and we decided to create a pop-up service and we may decide to partner in certain parts of the country with community radio or may decide actually the right partner is.
1Xtra all the Asian Network and I think one of the things that we need to do in local radio is always reimagine what local radio is going to be like it's not going to be in 5 years time as it is now a lot of what they do in local radio currently that will still be there on the basis of what they do but if you were doing something new and different saying Bradford would we do it in the same way through done it in Leeds will be think actually that's got 560000 people.
It's a much younger.
It's much more diverse should be going for something about urban music.
Yes some local news bulletins, but totally different and should we actually be having that platform not necessarily on DAB but that should that be on only platform and it's online so I think one of the exciting things that I want to do is to explore how we can really push local to make it more local but actually.
What we doing bits maybe sometimes, it's purely about sport maybe sometimes.
It's just down the summer but it's really local and it's also giving voices to people who don't normally have a voice and would also that the BBC isn't for them which kind of brings me to the point I was going to make a ballerina my biggest expensive local radio was the decade leading York and it was a Minster FM ready you're ready.
You'll have the better news presenters, but the music was never as good as Minster how do you choose that was the problem that I would listen to Radio York in spite of the music because my nephew was just as a listener, but they clearly have an old demographic of listeners and therefore they have to play a bit of Val Doonican from time to time but I never did that they always have the cool music on so there's always a bit of her a choice as to what I would have it doesn't listen to little station music is a very important part of what local radio does it's a large part of our output and one of the things I've done since I started as I said right.
We need to have a music policy that is.
Radio music policy and is played across and I think sometimes we perhaps of skewed too old and I think we can have to be much much broader church when it comes to our music and go younger, so I often use the example of Christine and the Queen's number one evening.
I think I was watching Graham Norton with my mum and Christine and the Queen's came on with the first big hit she had it that's what she is and what I thought was so brilliant was Graham Norton introduced her friend.
It's marvelous performance and everything is all the rest of it.
She went completely that what he did was he introduced the record so that Mum really enjoyed it.
I really enjoyed it and I think my niece was at the time as well.
She really enjoyed it.
Different generations but he framed it so I don't think in local radio.
We should be frightened about playing Younger music for want of a better expression.
It's how you actually frame and introduce take people on a journey.
The people don't complain about being seen as being younger.
We sometimes it or well, so and so is such and such an age therefore.
They really going to like this if you look at the average age of people going to Glastonbury it very often as people in their 50s and 60s is not just people in their 20s and they sing a whole range of different artists there because grown up with pop music.
It's always been around and you do like things on you.
I like Calvin Harris I should like to help and I love Avicii I think he's great it was great sadly passed away, but if it's new music with excite me as well, and I want to deliver that look really want it so one of the things.
We spent a lot of work doing at the last few months is we've been rolling out a new music policy.
Greater consistency to be younger sounding music in there.
I don't think Val Doonican will be part of the core.
There may be certain sort of specialist programs.
We would have that on but you know them has got to match the conversation in the evening with slightly younger because that sound of a younger audience, but it should always be accessible, but the most important thing.
That's the skill of the presenter.
So when something new comes in you frame for me and you introduce it rather see me I'm going to know-it-all best managers have the carrot and the stick and you mention a lot of carrots that you show us pictures and some extent.
Are you the enforcer as well like you know I've got several Friends were teachers and there was fear the the Ofsted inspection in theory we welcome the Ofsted inspectors things that we can improve our ability to read it.
Is there an element of enforcement.
Are you problem-solving and deal with things that aren't working as well as I think they cost.
Of the role and a big stick, I don't have a big steak to turn up Radio York with Dad and I haven't no I don't do that over the years.
I went with lots of people and the things I've just people can I think that's that's stupid enough to give it a try and remember a few years ago now and I was am I went on Saturday Live and satellite was being launched, and I was talking to the other one day and I think one of the Producers came by and he said to me and you have to say something to the two of you.
I said it would have wanted you to never agree on anything and we agree on most things but whenever I see you're always arguing over this and he was referring to we were having a very lively discussion, so I would say one thing she was saying everything either.
We could do this.
I could do that and what will try to do was to build on each other's idea but hopefully lead.
To explain what that just the way you work and so many other occasions while can't say no that I really don't think that's right and I think natural style is yes, there will be times when I say this is going to happen that I have one of those recently somebody said I know you said there's going to be a new music policy, but when will we start doing it that you got a new music by 6 we have at the moment and it's rolled out your station.
That's when they start doing it.
We really start doing that we really will start doing it and we've all got to pay it although they played it was almost but if we don't do it you're not going to tell us off and they said they actually said to me well, but if we don't do it, how will you know as well I can actually pull a sheet off and I can look and I can be the traffic warden but I just think it's better if we do it so I can do 3 question your authority.
I'm quite happy to have a robust discussion because I think that's great and I think there are occasions when you can say well, you know what you could try and cheat if you like, but not very grown up and we're also doing it together.
You know it's not actually about what I think it's about what audiences think and what audience was saying to us is music really matters we could do things sometimes a bit more contemporary frame at for me.
That's the news that that's coming that's research that we're seeing so we should act on that.
Can you be a normal radio listener, so if I say you're driving around the region from the local BBC radio station and your off-duty you're not on BBC executive at that point you a human being can you be that are you listening out for things that they might have got wrong that you're giving notice on and can you get a switch off just listen to the radio? Yeah absolutely I mean I listen to the radio.
Yes, I listen to the radio because it's my job, but I also listen to the radio because it's my joy.
It's what I do.
You know I am one of those very fair.
People in the my hobby if you like is what I do for a living if I didn't work in the radio, then I would be involved in hospital radio you mentioned earlier on I was the chief operating officer and design engineering and also working example for the deputy director-general group, but when I was there.
I was very involved in the Radio Academy one of the reasons.
I did that was because I loved radio edit on voluntary basis and loved it.
I organise the radio festival every year old time is great because I just loved it so I can listen to things quite I don't sit there with a pen and notepad by me.
I'll just kind of it and sometimes I listen I think but I I generally believe the best way to get the best out of people is to encouragement rather than enforcing.
People the good rather than always point out the bed and in the best BBC tradition of saying other radio programmes and stations are available on BBC audio content do you listen to when are you allowed to say I do listen to Commercial radio? You know I and I've listened to the whole range that depending on where again I like watching their best.
I just I just listen because I'm curious.
I have a little routine whenever I go to a local radio station invariably I get the train and train station to LaGuardia section discusses you feel of the area and applications when I've got into a car because it's been raining here.
It's been too far to walk or whatever but usually I think it half an hour if you do that another couple of occasions you get in and the taxi drivers got a certain commercial radio station on could be any one of a number and I'll always ask why you know what is it you like about them.
Risk BBC Radio talkSPORT from the time of the day and I was in was Linda Calloway in Newcastle and son you're telling me a story that it is it is an odbc manager that you got into the cab and it was there listen to Heart and then there's a football phone-in they do on radio Newcastle everyday and just before the football phone-in started the cab driver turned over because that was disappointment to listen at that point I listen to 5 live from 4 a.m.
To 6 a.m.
Wake up to money but then I will switch off visited a program immediately I would never listen to 5 live breakfast which is not for me and not political so you do that.
It's almost like an audio.
It's a consciously where you switch over and say right.
That's the opposite to that and you know I I think that if I
I've said this number of times when it stops being a joy that's the time to stop you know I do this role.
Get this navigation.
I feel I've got the best job in the world because I genuinely love what I do and I love the variety and rings and I love what I do because I can endlessly curious I can meet lots of fascinating people and I can listen to lots of great output.
There are some things I hear and I think that's really not quite good enough.
We have to get that better, but you know the time.
It's pure joy.
Are you one of these BBC managers that he said that I was reading recently that the BBC wants to replace the radio with all that was upset someone like me you was a radio traditional radio radio on you I can understand.
Why they want to replace radio with audio hire BBC management I can remember working in Network radio Network radio that are made or ran all the national radio stations was called audio music and then we move back to being regular music because it was decided that actually really as a shorthand for audio and he can get too hung up on what things are called.
I remember having a big discussion at the Radio Academy about the weather's Radio Academy should also now be the audience Academy I think it's Whatever Fields relevant to you.
Let's not worry about it too much.
I'm sure there will be a time when radio will become audio, but I don't think we're quite.
I don't know whether you are too young to remember but radio 12752 85.
It's moving 2fm.
What was really interesting there was the kind of the slow crossfade and it took years and years and years before it happened now live in an age where I think things move much more quickly than they did then but I think radio will be a word but around for quite some time to come remember that all of the the frequencies used to be in the jungle, so it'll be 88 to 91 FM radio to that even going to the new single wave now.
They say something online and it is different now and we have to recognise that it's different now and you know what we want it to be as you want the radio platform if you like all the audio platinum.
Let me know my title as head of audio and digital we want people to feel that this is a medium that still relevant.
And we can always spend a lot of time worrying about what it's called most important thing is people are still turning it on or pressing a button or going to listen again.
That's nice when you've been programs.
Get it on on Radio 4.
What do you make a criticism of say Lauren Laverne presentation on Desert Island Discs cos you know she stepped into the breach in my view.
She doing a great job part of the criticism about her that you got a regional accent.
That is just different people don't like change.
How do you say listen and Disability manager? I think that you change anything on the radio and everyone will always have with you and you're the thing about Desert Island Discs is desert island.
Disk is one of those programs, but I think people always feel quite prepared for all about.
It's one of the greatest things that and I think Lauren Laverne has brought a different style to it.
Grace she is great.
Different Kirsty it's very different to Sue and both of them and you know it's kind of getting used to the differences and I think we can get sort of Hunger too much on one person said this the fact is thousands millions of people still enjoy desert on this every week Lauren does a great job.
She doesn't in a different way and I can remember some of the changes I've made and you would use a new presenter and it takes a long time to get used to it and goes back to that fat but radios a very intimate medium.
You know I've been sharing my morning coffee with this person and now I've got this person you John Humphrys has now left the Today programme.
There's going to be a different voice there and I'm going to do the 8:10 interview your world has slightly shifted, but you know people say things the world will move on everyone will still carry on listening to.
It's really important in those times, but the editor is supported by their managers and the presenter of supported by the editor and to a certain extent.
Are you give people a bit of air cover I can remember when we launch Saturday Live and we were slated everybody hated it and everybody hating not home through someone know it's not true.
It's something completely different if it wasn't exactly and I can remember 18 months later the big awards ceremony and nominations in virtually every category and we won best speech program.
You just sometimes have to kind of keep Faith with what you believe is a good idea.
You know Lauren is a great.
She's doing a great job.
I just hope that she in the team getting the support that they need I'm sure they are is the BBC the unwieldy bureaucracy that critics say it is it like.
You're on a career ladder on a certain row.
Who's the view that James Purnell is it from Shannon how does how does it work? My boss is Helen Thomas who's the director of England and she reports into camera quarry? Who's the director of the Nations and regions and I obviously I see James Purnell and I will have a conversation is the director of radio station.
I see Bob Shannon his new role and you know I think you'll see it.
Can it can sometimes feel a little bit like trying to take unravelled wall and put it back into a ball of wool, but most of the time actually my experience the BBC is people are there because they love the work and you know we can not the culture we can say.
This isn't right and that's not right and I've worked in lots of different environments and I would say that it is still one of the best places to work if you want to do different things and you want to innovate whether that be as a technologist as a creative or Andy does a manager very often you need to do things and I think sometimes you know it's very easy, but there's a every morning.
You know you sent the email which is all the is the newspapers the same about you that day and you can look I don't want to kiss you can sing.
Oh my another thing and another thing but you have to put that into perspective if you know we are publicly funded therefore we are accountable but
You contrast that with say woman who goes into Radio Merseyside or there was one.
I think it was Southampton and a guy who was very little he died letter to the station saying open this on such and such a day in the family centre day and it was him basic.
Thanking the station for being there for him in his darkest hour and you see that you see great audience figures and then you think yeah, there's the cuts in the morning and then there's a reality are the impact you're having on people's lives emotional rollercoaster.
You got a hold on to that bed because you can get too wrapped up in the Daily Mail criticising of course we all like to be loved no one's going to sit here and colours.
Enjoy being hated that we all want to be loved but we also have to be realistic.
Not everyone's gonna love you, but you hold onto the important things.
What's your fondest memory in your career so far.
What's the thing? You've done that when you remember you most proud of I find it really difficult to answer because I've done the different things and I've been the proud and different ways of all of them.
If it was it was great launching Saturday even when the Sony that felt great.
It was great working in design engineering just completely different and understood one word and 10 and every meeting and it was great getting my first job in Network radio.
It was wonderful to be in the presenters chair and do things like you and yours and see the little.
How to speak I love working at Radio One doing so the documentaries and social action campaigns and working out how to use music beds and you know I have genuinely enjoyed all the various things I've done that.
I think the wonderful thing I've learnt about the BBC is you can have a series of different is sometimes in one organisation has been great and you know and I'm not just saying that because it's my current job, but it's great having this role and no having an opportunity to develop and shine a spotlight on so what is probably seen sometimes seen by some people as being a bit of a Cinderella service we're not Cinderella service.
I want every person in local radiator if you're really proud of the stations.
They work for because they do something that's unique.
Different in England today and that's really important and what a wonderful opportunity for somebody like me to give back hopefully, but hopefully create something that the next generation of broadcasters going to love but next generation of listeners and people really feel passionately about an absolutely fascinating conversation.
Thank you for your time a right angles podcast in association with big things Media
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