Stood down not up!

We went to a football match yesterday and as usual, were listening to Radio Five Live. It always accompanies us in the car as it has a good mixture of news, sport and items of general interest They were discussing a piece about presents teachers have received over the years from the children in their class and wanted people to contact them about the most unusual.

Hubby, who used to come into my school and listen to children read, immediately recalled a present he had been given from one of the children. It was a book about Formula 1 racing. It had been bought at a jumble sale so he was told. It had no front cover on it and had quite a bit of scribble on many pages but it had been wrapped and very proudly presented as an end of term gift.

Hubby was very taken with this and although it didn’t find it’s way onto our shelves, it clearly made an impression for him to remember so many years later. I sent off a text to the programme and got a call from them asking if I would be prepared to go live on the radio to talk about it. As you can imagine, I didn’t need asking twice so we planned when we would stop the car ready for the call which was due towards the end of the programme at 2pm. We listened along to prepare for my moment on air only to hear that the verdict in the Nigella Lawson case was in. That was it! Time was taken up talking to various people about the implications the verdict would have on the TV chef’s reputation and the programme came to an end.

It was about 10.30pm when we were travelling back from the successful match which saw our team win, when the mobile rang. It was Radio Five Live and they were running a similar item about teachers and presents. A school in the US had put a cap of $100(!) on presents for school staff and they wanted to know what UK teachers thought. They had the details of my text and the contact made so thought they would give me another chance at fame.

Once again, I agreed to go on air and once again I was told they would ring in about an hour. We worked out which service station we could get to by that time and were sat in the car ready for me to speak. The mobile went and it was the station but they had apologies and would have to ‘stand me down’ as other news was breaking. They hoped I understood and said they would have me on air at sometime but maybe not talking about presents to teachers!

Part of me was a bit relieved. My voice is still very croaky and the evening programme took things a lot more seriously so it may not have been suitable for my tale of the jumble sale book. It did make me realise though that in this age of immediacy, news programmers must be among the most flexible, having to move from light-hearted to serious, from VIPs to man in the street and to do it all without showing ‘any of the joins’.

I won’t ever grumble again when changes are made to scheduling but rather will think about the poor programmer counting seconds in the hope that it all goes smoothly.

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