I’ve now been presenting my LBC show every weeknight for four weeks. I’m doing this in addition to my normal day job, which is running a publishing company, so you can imagine it’s not an easy schedule to juggle. But I love every minute of it.
Most of the show is phone in based, and I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the calls which come in from the great British public. People imagine that phone in shows are mainly populated by people who want to rant on about immigration or some other controversial subject. Not a bit of it. Some of our best shows have taken calls from women who’ve been through IVF treatments, had abortions, or are struggling to juggle their job and looking after their children. The LBC producers tell me people open up to me because I have a calm, reassuring voice and don't interrupt all the time, so people know they will be able to have their say.
I never ceased to be amazed by the subjects which provoke phone calls from listeners. With an audience of close on half a million you know that whatever subject you’re discussing will touch a nerve with someone. I have to say I love it, and when I took two nights off this week I really missed talking to my audience. And of course when any radio presenter takes time off, there’s always this fear that the person covering for you will turn out to be better than you! And I have to say Mehdi Hasan was excellent. I'd better watch out!
One of the best things about presenting a show in the timeslot I have (7-10pm every weeknight) is that no other radio station is doing politics at that time, although not all the show is political. But the worst thing is that I now have absolutely no social life at all during the week - no dinners, no parties, no receptions, no booklaunches. Between now and Christmas I have only two more nights off - hosting Ann Widdecombe in Clacton on November 29th (!) and one other. Still, at least I have a good excuse not to go to any Christmas parties...
I do realise that the majority of you may well have no interest in my LBC Show, but I know many of you listen from the calls, texts and emails. I talk about it on the blog from time to time because it is now a major part of what I do, and this is, after all, a diary.
* This is an amended version of a piece I wrote for my EDP column today.