Radio-DJ-Allison-Ferns-570x380We would like you to come onto Allison Fern’s radio show on BBC Radio Sussex. You would be an interesting guest, and could mention anything you wanted to promote.’

How can any writer turn down such an invitation.

This was from her producer, Fiona Paris, and as a matter of courtesy I telephoned the day before , just to ensure that all was in order.

10.30am was my report time at the Brighton studios in Queens Road, and of course I was early. The studios are in the main road leading from the seafront, very hilly, not that far away from the main line railway station.

It is a double fronted building, with an entrance in the middle. The shop windows are selling various BBC lines, such as tapes of old programmes, and also posters of present and future radio programmes.

radioEntering the main door, I was warmly greeted by a male receptionist, and waited in a surprisingly comfortable pseudo- plastic wrap around seat. To gain the maximum from the atmosphere, I behaved like any civilised tourist and stared at the photos that lined the walls. These were of current radio show presenters.

There were two studios, the one at the front being used for the current morning programme with Danny Pike, the rear that we were to use. Danny’s show was being aired in the waiting area.

I had previously googled Allison, so I knew a little about her background. She greeted me very welcomly, and explained the procedure. We were to record about half an hour of content to be included in one of her future afternoon programmes.

radio3Make myself nice and comfy, and put the ear phones on. The sound proofed room had the main presenters’ chair facing the door, with my back to it. We were facing each other over a wide desk, which had three lots of earphones so she could potentially have three guests at the same time. I took the middle ones, which were on a short lead so might have tightened them around my head if sufficiently unwise.

Allison had obviously done her homework, knowing what questions to ask. It was basically about my current activities, both social and business. She had looked up some of my web sites, so knew all about those relating to walking, talking, writing, and antiques.

radio2We laughed a lot, just like a social chat between new-ish friends/acquaintances. It went all too fast, surprisingly so, because I was enjoying myself so much.

alisonferns2At the end, when we had completed the recording, we chatted some more, and the upshot was that she introduced me to her producer, who I had spoken with previously on the phone. Fiona shared this responsibility with other radio shows, and I was asked if I would like to come again.

This would be to review the daily newspapers. Report at the studio at 12.30pm, read papers for half an hour making notes of five or six items suitable for comment, and then half an hour live on air discussing.

Apologies for no photos, yes, I did take my camera, but in the pleasure of the occasion forgot to take it out of my pocket until far too late. However, on my return I will rectify this and also write more articles about broadcasting for the BBC.


Harry Pope is a writer, walker and talker . and