What I learned at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
BBC West Midlands opened their doors (or more precisely) their airwaves to the general public in the first BBC WM Takeover in March. They bravely invited 100 listeners and members of the public to co-present, produce and report for a range of regular shows with the BBC WM team for an entire week.
My involvement began with a phone call from one of the BBC producers. After a couple of appearances on the Sunday Night Show with Nikki Tapper & Joe Aldred at the end of last year, I received a call to tell me about the initiative and to confirm if I was over 40 years old. Slightly insulted, I enquired why the question was being asked and a slightly embarrassed producer advised me that she didn’t think that I was over 40, (back peddling furiously) but that was the criteria for the project alongside a couple of other factors, although exceptions would be made under special circumstances.
Based on my perception that at least half of those whom I saw eventually take part where under the age of 40, I figured in the end that there were quite a few of us who were deemed special; but I was happy to have been invited to the audition process at least, where after meeting some great people including, Pushpa Alexander, Jenelle Plummer, Marcus Bernasconi, Floyd Stewart and Denzil Fletcher, I was reconciled that that was reward enough, even if it didn’t go any further!
However after some speed dating BBC style at an audition that I didn’t realise was an audition, I received a call from Bernie (another BBC producer) to congratulate me on being selected to be a co-presenter (which was fortunate, as I’m not sure that I could have done the other disciplines). Later I received another call to ask me to co-present on 2 shows, the drivetime with Paul ‘Franksy’ Franks and the Sunday morning breakfast show with ITV news veteran Llewela Bailey. I have to say I was honoured to work with them both. Being a huge sports fan and a Gooner being in the studio with Franksy was great, and with Marcus (who I met at the audition and had a conversation with about our desire to be part of Franksy’s show) we formed the very excited M&M team. Llewela is amazing and for someone so experienced I was pleasantly surprised by her warmth and openness. Despite having only been on BBC WM about 4 weeks herself, she really welcomed Denzil and I, and exchanged telephone numbers when we were done which was amazing.
Outside of meeting some amazing people though, I learned so much from my experience! I have presented my own show for 10 years, and it’s easy to think that I know what I am doing, but seeing the production process was so valuable. I am so grateful for the Sunday morning show, because I got to be such an integral part of the production process – the key ingredient for a good show. Denzil and I brainstormed in the run up to the show and as a faith based show I was immediately drawn to the idea of looking at the conflict between faith and wealth. Denzil’s experiences inspired a discussion relating to getting your estate in order – and I called in a couple of colleagues to get their expertise for Llewela. Denzil suggested the guest of influence – he was amazing, so much so that he will be a guest on my show in the future.
Thank you BBC WM, I have learned some invaluable lessons that I know will aid my journey to international broadcasting – the reality for my future – watch this space!
It just proves to me that no matter how experienced we are, there is always more that we can learn!