Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Behind the Scenes at LBC

Sorry for the lack of posting since lunchtime. When you get a call to say "can you present our evening show tonight?" from a nationally renowned broadcaster it kind of throws your schedule.

A few weeks ago I did a tryout for LBC to present a show with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. We spent forty minutes in a tiny studio doing a mock show. To be honest I wasn't sure that it went very well. Anyway, something must have sparked.

I had an important meeting this afternoon to decide on which new titles to commission for Biteback Publishing so I didn't get to LBC until just after 5, so there were only two hours to prepare. We decided on the subjects and then I had to record a couple of trailers and do a live taster on James Maxx's drivetime show. Having not eaten since breakfast I popped out into Leicester Square to get something to keep my energy levels up - not good for the diet!

In the last hour we decided to cover the subject of assisted suicide - way outside my comfort zone. They had lined up MS sufferer Deborah Purdy to talk about why the law needs to be clarified. I suggested getting Nadine Dorries on to put the counter point of view.

And before I knew it, it was time to go into the studio. One and a half minutes to get my papers sorted out and off we went. No script. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end. We spent the first 45 minutes talking about the LibDems and asking listeners: "What's the point of the LibDems?" Mike Smithson from came on and was fairly scathing about the conference and LibDem strategy against the Tories, as was virtually every caller with the exception of the ever loyal Mark Thompson who called in having just got home from Bournemouth. People really don't like Vince Cable's mansion tax.

In the second hour we did the regular Wednesday night panel with guests Will Straw, Baroness Ludford MEP and James Broeknshire MEP. We had a lot of callers and talked about Baroness Scotland, Gordon Brown and climate change. The hour went by very quickly indeed.

In the final hour we talked about assisted suicide, following today's clarification of existing law by the DPP. I hope people felt I treated it with the sensitivity it merited. I interviewed Debbie Purdy, the MS sufferer who had forced the law to clarified. She was a brilliant interviewee and rather inspirational, I felt. I then interviewed Nadine Dorries who thinks the law should remain as it is. She pointed out the dangers of the state condoning assisted suicide. We had quite an abrasive interview although she remained very calm. I think she felt I had given her a bit of a hard ride.

The last part of the show was the stickiest as there was a problem with the phones so I had to extemporise like mad. But I think I just about pulled it off.

And before I knew it, it was all over. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. To be honest I felt totally at home. A professional radio presenter friend of mine twittered me afterwards and said...
That was the most laid back debut I've ever heard. You're a natural.

That meant a lot. But it was the text from the LBC MD which I was dreading. But I needn't have. It ended with the words.
Consider yourself part of the LBC team.
Job done!


Cardiff Blogger said...

You were fantastic Iain. I bet in 2 months you'll have a regular show.

Radio is a huge passion of mine and my favourite presenter Nick Abbot is on the station. I'll never stop listening if you come on too!

scrapheap said...


Anonymous said...

"Nationally renowned"

The clue is in the name of the station, Iain

jailhouselawyer said...

Calm down Iain it's only a commercial radio station. LBC is hardly national, it's local rather like Viking FM in Hull or Radio Humberside.

Pity I missed you giving Nadine a hard one...interview, that is. I did tune in for awhile, but prefer Magic 105.4 which you are not too keen on.

The Grim Reaper said...

Nationally renowned?

Proof that you politicos think the world ends outside the M25...

rob's uncle said...

well done: maybe you have found your metier.

Ash said...

"nationally renowned broadcaster"???

It was once but it was a long time ago.

The wonderful LBC of Douglas Cameron and Bob Holnes lost its licence (just like Thames TV) because of the vindictive nature of the "blessed Margaret".

The current owners bought the name of the defunct station to boost the prestige of a second division local radio station.

Sorry. I'm sure you were very good.

Plato said...

Well done Iain, miss your Friday night shows so good to hear you're back on the airwaves.

wv grateist ?!?!

subrosa said...

Sorry I didn't hear you Iain, but I was watching the BBC1 programme 'Wounded'. A totally humbling experience and one which you may like to discuss once you've seen it for yourself.

I'm sure you did well without my support. :)

Jamie said...

Well I'll tell you now, LBC is not nationally renowned. I'd never even heard of them.

However it does sound like you did a very good job! Well done!

Mark Thompson said...

Ever loyal!?

If you read my review of Clegg's speech on my blog you'll see that I was not happy about some aspects of it. However when you asked the question "What is the point of the Lib Dems?" I felt compelled to give you a few answers!

Well done on the show. Like Plato I have also missed your Play Talk politics show so I hope something more permanent comes of this.

Not a sheep said...

You will never get a job at the BBC if you insist on "getting ... on to put the counter point of view."

Anonymous said...

About two years ago I sent to all my MEPs my view on the EU human rights. In that it was fatally flawed by not balancing the rights with the responsibilities of the individual.

Got two replies, one from Syed Kamall, supporting my views and typical PC bleedin heart reply from liberal Baroness Ludford MEP. It did not change my views of of the Liberals and the low esteen I hold them in.


Sally Roberts said...

My local radio station LBC used to be a good one under its previous owners. It is now part of the giant Global Media - who it must be said also own the excellent Classic FM.
LBC's iron-fisted, draconian "Programme Controller", Jonathan Richards, has ensured that the station has quickly veered politically to the Left - and has a particularly anti-Boris agenda.
There used to be a number of regular callers who were Tories (yes - including myself!) Many of us have now been banned or our calls are no longer taken. They now have several "pet" Labour people including an Irish woman who is a one-woman cheerleader for Gordon Brown!
I do not know what can be done - this is after all a commercial enterprise - but my comment is merely to point out that it is not only the BBC that specialises in "Pravda" type broadcasting!

True Belle said...

As I am tucked away here in the Purbecks, my on line broadband reception was slightly fadey, because everyone in the world had probably clicked on to your link to listen to you! ( reception was just like the old BBC world service)

What an unruffled clear presenter you are Iain , hmm, nice voice !

There was a very wobbly moment when you stated your musical preferences, er, yes ,would be interesting to hear a little more from you on that subject.

Our local radio caters for a different audience- very shallow deliveries sadly. The damned adverts kill everything . A different type of euthanasia !

Anonymous said...

I have been listening LBC since 1979.
I listened to you during debate when the Labour bloke was " prevaricating" that is the word I used in my email to your LBC studio which you kindly read) about the dreadful Baroness Scotland escaping saying that it was like congestion charge. You did very well. LBC should give you a regular slot to you, which I think will be forthcoming in a few months. The one dark side of LBC is giving a Saturday slot for Red Ken which he used to criticise Boris Johnson. Ken is pathetic.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Iain, lots of people (including me!) call you a media whore. But it's not a bad thing to be a media whore, and you clearly have a talent for the media and enjoy it.

So I'm very happy for you that it went well and I doubt you'd ever have a tougher show to pull off than one for which you felt unprepared, was unscripted and had a major technical issue as well. So from here on, it's all going to be much easier. :o)

Can I be the first to say that you have a fine face for radio as well? :o)

Andrew Efiong said...

Well done. I haven't listened to LBC for years when Robbie Vincent and Douglas "smooth voice" Cameron were on the airwaves but I tuned back in.

Will Straw was as slippery as his father, he'll go far. You were openly Tory, not a neutral.

And I thought you were gentle with Nadine Dorries, she seems to base her ideas on fear and prejudice.

J said...

Is a podcast available?

True Belle said...

Re my previous comment , we do suffer from topic deprivation. There is nothing on our local radio progs to properly engage their listener.

These rural areas suffer the gloom and doom topics of underage boozers, unmarried mothers , affordable homes(lack of),holiday traffic jams, the next beach clean up( good thing) more traffic jams , low wages, wheelie bins, lost cats, car clampers , divers with the bends, and so it goes on .

No wonder we were a walk over politically!!!!

TrueBlueBlood said...

Bloody great show Iain. Loved it.

You were a natural.

Certainly a show I would listen to on a regular basis.

Radio is your home.

Roger Dodger said...

Congrats and well deserved praise.

Eddie 180 said...

Excellent show.

You handled the attempts to veer off topic really well.

LBC is a London station but you don't have to listen for long to realise callers come from all over the UK, as well as other countries.

The radio signal can be picked up throughout the Home Counties, so that must take in a large part of the population. The station is also available on Sky TV, on DAB in many parts of the country, as well as the internet - so many that once listened to LBC when living in London still listen now they have moved away.

I would say politically the station is fairly well balanced - yes it has Red Ken on a Saturday morning, and leftie James O'Brien on weekday mid morning. But it also has Nick Ferrari in the important breakfast spot (and excellent he is too) who is to the right, and James Max who is also to the right on Saturday mornings before Red Ken.

Red Ken is using it as a vehicle to fight the next mayoral election.

I look forward to hearing more from you on LBC in the future.

Unknown said...

You were fab as usual Iain! Thanks for reading out my email! I confess I did a little dance around my study!!!

True Belle said...

Re diet,steer clear of the junk eating stuff, keep to regular meal routines.

I have listened to Jeremy Vine sometimes, he is very demanding and excitable- bit too strident, are presenters an old boys network or are they evil about each other?

At least you listen , I am glad you are not a gabby type.

Definitely a labrador sort of character, aren't you ? (Safe pair of hands/jaws)

Anonymous said...

Your were very good, especially on the timing (speaking right up to the traffic/ads etc). You should replace Andrew Pierce on Sunday. I can’t bear to listen to him as he says “noos” instead of “news” about once a minute. And he really can’t interact with callers. It’s painful.

Unknown said...

The thought of being locked in a room with Alabi Brown turns my stomach.

Now Lucy Pinder is another matter. Top tory totty.

Sir Edward Heath said...

Many moons ago I presented a radio show but was never invited back. I can't think why. Hee! Hee! Hee!

Surely a radio station is national if you can listen to it on the web. Another reason not to be too London or England centric in your future shows Iain. Which, of course, your show last night was not. Excellent! Good to know "British" broadcasters realise there are nations, regions and people (and also news stories) beyond Cambridge and Oxford.

Who would have thought it? For London is the capital of the United Kingdom. It is not just the capital of England.

Paul Halsall said...

Congrats Iain,

despite political disagreements, I applaud your role and fortunes in our national conversation.

Mr Peecock said...

to be quite honest I was only listening for a short while but I found your voice monotone and boring.

You should reconsider a career in radio because it isn't for you and I don't think you are capable of becoming a radio presenter.
Try something different - its nothing against you personally.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever see in yourself signs of an inordinate self-conceit ? Interviews on an issue as serious as assisted suicide require something more than empathy with one side and its partisan, and lack of sympathy or understanding of the other, However I suppose it could do for LBC.

Iain Dale said...

Did you actually listen to the programme? Thought not.