Friday, November 09, 2007

Feedback BBC Radio 4 - reflection

BBC Radio 4's feedback programme features BBC Radio Leicester, which was the first BBC local radio station in the country - the date 8 Nov 1967.

Talking is station manager Owen Bentley and my mentor, Vijay Sharma, one of the first Asian presenters way back when and a senior executive and pioneering force within the BBC Asian Network.

Its report wasn't anywhere near long enough.

If you're a radio ham, BBC Leicester is worth studying. It is also largely responsible for some key talent within network BBC e.g. Julian Worriker, Iain Carter - Radio Five Live, and Egypt-Midd. east Coorespndent Ian Pannel.

Vijay Sharma was not only responsible for Asian programming but launched some of the first Afro-Caribbean output.

I joined the sation in my second year of university (1986) eager to see how radio worked, than anything else.

I was a Maths and Chemistry undergrad, fascinated by all things electronic.

But it didn't take me long after joining to think I'd love to be on air.

One of my most cherished memories, was a report I made around a neighbouring area called GROBY.

Now humour me ? How would you pronounce GROBY?

Well it's actually pronouned GROO-BEE.

And if there's one thing local radio listeners hate and will probably lead to an audience with an irate station manager that's mis-pronouncing local area names.

Trouble is I was fairly new, was half way home on a late night 10.00 pm shift, with classes the next day, when I recalled what I had done.

Whatever happens next I thougt, tired and weary from a long shift, I need to go back and correct this.

Two problems. First I did not have any keys to the station, so at 10.30 called on one of the programme managers who kindly but quietly fuming drove 4 miles to the station to let me in.

Second problem, I didn't know how to take the report off from a cart - a version of the 8 track cartridge - redo it and get it back on cart again.

Finally Urgh
I perservered, trying and trying and trying some more.

Eventually 5.30 in the morning I'd cracked it and the report was back in the in-tray of the morning presenter with the offending word corrected.

I could now go home.

As I passed a Macdonalds opening up for breakfast, a group of women coming back from a late night club heckled.

"Wot you just finished your shift at Macdonalds. Hope you swept the floor properly, it's filthy".

"Yeah. yeah, yeah!", I remember replying and faded into the unfurling dusk, with lectures barely four hours away - not enough to get any sleep.

That was my first on air report - in 1987 - a report I kept, which I have it somewhere, somewhere.. .

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