Thursday, 28 August 2008

Of BBC Radio, Trisha Goddard, Sport and Telford

It's been an interesting but frustrating week - interesting because I've done something different in terms of publicity but frustrating because I want more of it!

Monday night and it was Talk Sport. Yes, even Talk Sport has a radio programme that allows a very impassioned and intelligent presenter - David Prevor - to conduct a programme the way he wishes to. So I had my fifteen minutes of fame with him. Again it went out live but this time I responded to the questions and, I do hope, didn't go off on a limb the same way that I did at BBC Radio Leicester. Whether it sold any books, I don't know.

However, I do know that people were listening to the broadcast because so many callers rang in to speak to David after my stint, describing their problems with mental illnesses. David has told me that whenever he runs a programme that has mental illness as its topic, the switchboard will go into overdrive. Everyone has an issue, or knows someone with an issue. As one in four people suffer from some kind of emotional/mental disorder, then it's hardly surprising that once the subject's out there, they want to talk about it!

The following morning I made my way to the BBC at Western House, where I was being interviewed for BBC Radio Shropshire. Having managed to get past security and the two very jolly receptionists who appeared to be having the time of their lives, I was shown to a studio where I, alone, and with earphones and a red clown's nose for a mike, was put 'down the line' to Clare Ashford. This was indeed an interesting experience. She was late. She apologised after I'd waited in there for what seemed like ages and wondered whether I would ever get out again - more of that later. Eventually, and with great mirth, I heard her laugh. The traffic, the congestion and the weather... 'Can't be as bad as London,' I managed. 'Yes,' she replied, still laughing, 'I know. I used to live there...' I think it went well. I think she'd read the book - maybe knew the press release really well!

It's pretty much the same questions every time but I'm trying to make the answers pertinent as well as compelling to the listener. Clare and I spoke for about twenty minutes. She's a very easy interviewer. There's definitely a skill and a technique. I'm jealous.

I'm not sure when the programme will go out but she'll let me know. So I'll note that here - just in case anyone wishes to hear me. At the end of the broadcast and after having said many goodbyes, I tried to escape but the door appeared to be stuck. I tugged and tugged and the guy outside didn't see me and I had visions of being incarcerated in that tiny, soundproofed room, until my feeble cries would finally be answered. Then, as if by magic, the door opened and I tumbled out! Pathetic...

Tuesday evening and it's the Trisha Goddard Radio Show from Liverpool. She's delightful and knowledgable and describes what it was like for her when her schizophrenic sister behaved manically. She's obviously passionate about her work with the mentally ill and made the point that part of the proceeds from her programme are dedicated to Mind. We spoke for about half an hour. It all went by so quickly. The programme is broadcast this Sunday evening, so this time I should be able to listen to myself and see how it can all be improved.

Next week I'm speaking with Radio Mediterraneo, the largest English speaking radio station in, I believe, Spain, if not all of Europe. Can they buy the book there though?

The nice thing about radio is that once hooked, the listener will continue to listen to whatever programme is being broadcast, irrespective of subject matter. I think it's always been the same. I can't say that I've ever been an avid gardener or scientist but the amount of programmes that I continue to listen to in the car once I have arrived at my destination will not necessarily correspond to a hitherto deep interest in the topic! There's something about radio that essentially sends you to another stratosphere where your imagination, unneeded for television, works once more and you morph into one of 'the audience.'

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