I’ve always thought that I had a face for radio. It makes you wonder why I’ve never tried it before. The last 6 weeks or so have been focused largely, and with growing pace, on the upcoming and now past, Kempsford Literary Weekend – or Kempsford Literary Festival as it became known (with a nod back to previous ones, of course). We were due to begin on Friday and amongst the ticket booking calls that made the wires zing I took a call from BBC Radio asking if someone could come into the studio and be interviewed about the event. Now, of the half dozen or so of us who put the Festival on this time, 2 of them are experienced media folk, or at least, they have been in this position before.
It took me 24 hours to come to the conclusion that neither were available on Friday morning – the day of the interview and the start day of the Festival. It was going to be me, then.
Public speaking doesn’t phase me and I’ve played gigs before and “amdrammed” once (though it’s not really my thing) but I’ve never done a live radio interview,or any other sort of radio interview for that matter.
In the past I’ve always stuck to the maxim “You can’t prepare to fail you can only fail to prepare”. So prepare, I did.
There wasn’t that much to do, really. I had been immersed in the Festival prep so deeply I knew it better than anyone. But I still did prepare and remembered my public speaking training. Still, I didn’t get much sleep on Thursday night.
Friday began with a 6.00am rise. Bleary eyed I sat and ran through my radio interview prep one more time. Strong coffee sparked the engine a little.
I checked route-finder on the web for my journey to the radio station. Damn. 1 hour through the rush hour. “I’d better get my act together,” I thought. I jumped into Mrs. Monkey’s car. but not enough petrol to get me there. Aargh. I’d have to risk it.
Watching the petrol gauge and the clock I limped into the radio station car park 20 minutes early. Phew. I began to mentally prepare. Breathing exercises. Stay calm. Facial muscles relaxed.
10 minutes before my 8.30 interview I pushed the buzzer by the doorway in the alley and asked for the producer by name. Prepped, I entered my scene full (Jared Blake DeCroce). I’m “on”……………………
I keep my breathing steady and drink water, not the coffee that is offered. I sit up, no slouching. I am to be interviewed on the Breakfast Show by Mark Cummings of BBC Radio Gloucester.
The producer leads me in to the studio and I take my seat in front of a big yellow mic. Mark smiles and greets me during the weather review. He leads in the item and we’re away, and then I realise that he isn’t going to ask me any of the questions I’d prepped. Gonna have to wing it !!
(Copyright is probably held by Auntie Beeb, so I’ll leave this here for a while and then remove it.)
(Please also note that Firefox doesn’t support the audio file so to listen you may need to come back using IE if Firefox is your main browser.)
A minute later I’m out in the car park working out where the nearest petrol station is. It’s going to be a very busy day.
(You can read what happened next, and about the rest of the Festival, here.)