Over the last 9 months or so it’s become normal to be live on the radio with several appearances on 5 Live and BBC Wiltshire both in the past few weeks. Most of the time I’m commenting on how local or central Government policy will impact local businesses, or representing clients or commenting on specific subjects related to their industry or sector. So how does it work?

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It often starts like this. A client drafts a press release on a specific subject, sent to a database of press contacts, some of whom ask for more information, or in this case for myself or the client to appear live on air to comment, in this case on the  Chancellors November spending review and how the “green revolution” was likely to trickle into the electric vehicle charging market. This seems like short notice, this was received about 3pm to be ready for live broadcast at 7am the following day. Thats actually pretty reasonable. In the early stages of COVID I was once in my in-laws back garden and took a call asking if I would go on air live in about 45 minutes, following The Chancellors announcement at 5pm. That time was announcing the SEISS scheme. That was 45 minutes of frantic research and listening live to Mr. Sunak rest assured!

Screenshot 2020-11-25 at 14.34.13It isn’t that long ago that going live meant a trip to the radio, (or in March the television), studio. That’s all changed now with guests going on air through FaceTime audio and other platforms.  You can see me here early one November morning talking into a microphone connected to my iMac talking live to tens of thousands answering the (unplanned) questions of the host DJ. In some instances, if there is a PR agent involved I’m briefed, (thanks Natalie and Mia if you read this), as to what the ‘likely questions’ will be, but some DJ’s and journalists have ‘a reputation’ to go off piste!

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This shot shows nicely the notes and information I have to hand. While a great deal of research goes into each 3-5 minutes of airtime in advance (written notes on the iPad next to the screen) I find it useful and comforting to have key facts such as dates, amounts and possible outcomes in front of me to both steer my comments, but also to keep me on track.

Each broadcast can often mean 30-90 minutes of preparation, and some fast thinking. Live on air I was asked unprepared what the “total amount of taxpayers money spent may be?” Relating to the SEISS scheme only 5 minutes after it was announced I had to quickly sum it to “likely in excess of £10Bn.” Thankfully it was about £13Bn a few months later so that wasn’t too bad!

IMG_7728I was asked recently the most important thing for me in terms of going on air. As most of my broadcasts recently have been on breakfast shows its 100% the coffee! At 7:01 this morning (as I write this) I was begging Soph to bring me some as I had had none at that point and was cramming on what to expect from the spending review, and how that would affect both national and local businesses in the renewables sector. However my working environment is a close second. To spend the time with clients virtually, and to stay up to date with industry news I need to have an office environment that is welcoming and comfortable. To help achieve that I refreshed my home office in COVID to invest a little in myself and my metal wellbeing at work. It’s paid dividends for sure and I would highly recommend.

So what are my takeaways? I don’t mind admitting I enjoy it. It’s not the actual being ‘on air’ bit, that’s often over in a few moments, it’s the quick thinking and cramming needed in a short space of time. The pressure and mental agility it forces on me is a challenge I enjoy.

Also my credibility has taken a significant step forward. I’m working with more clients with revenue in the millions. I’m no longer having to ‘pitch’ for what I do, anyone that has researched me gets that before we speak often from just listening to my thoughts and views on air, and increasingly on socials and in the press.

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Finally, I’m not a fan of photos. The ones above, or the ones here which have all appeared in printed and online press in the last couple of months. I’m defiantly older than I remember myself, and I appear to have not done enough swimming, running or cycling. But hey, there will be time to put that right soon. Right?