An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

What a fascinating insight into how a radio programme works.

It started when Daniel at Wild Things asked if I would consider radio interviews for BBC Radio 4’s The Reverend John Cole’s show and BBC’s Radio Scotland to chat about the new book Islandeering. This was slightly more than I had bargained for as an author and my immediate answer was ‘no that’s a bit too scary’.

Now Daniel is not the Inddie Publisher of the Year without having great communication skills. Needless to say I did end up saying yes!

Within a few days I had a telephone interview lined up with a BBC researcher who asked a whole load of questions to scope what the listeners would be interested in.

For the live BBC Scotland show I had to pop into my local radio station which at the time was Swindon. Asked to turn up about 15 minutes ahead of the show I got into the queue at the front desk watching those precious minutes tick away as I slowly worked my way forward.

Ten minutes to go, and still in the queue, the show’s producer called me from Inverness to check that I had turned up, gently encouraging me to get into the studio as soon as I could.

Eight minutes to go and asking the receptionist where I needed to be followed by a tannoy announcement asking for someone in the bowels of the building to come and help me ‘set up’.

Six minutes to go, another tannoy announcement saying that the previous request for assistance was now getting quite urgent. By now my heart rate was building.

Five minutes to go, I was in the studio and shown which light would come on, given a pair of headphones and asked to wait.

Four minutes to go and the producer’s voice came through my earphones saying that the sound engineers wanted to do a sound check. I had to sit different distances from the mike until they were happy.

Heart rate through the roof I can now hear the show on air. First the national news, then the ‘Out for the Weekend’ jingle.

Green light and I’m on live radio.

I absolutely loved it. So glad I did it, I nearly said no as I thought I’d be terrified. Just goes to show…

Listen to the interview here

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