How are you feeling today?
Is this a Wellbeing Wednesday for you?
I'm reminded that for a few years when I was the presenter of the BBC Radio Jersey Afternoon Show, an hour every Wednesday was devoted to subjects related to our health and wellbeing. It was a really interesting hour, with different subjects and guests talking about all sorts of issues.
We covered physical as well as mental health, and explored alternative medicines and measures that people employ to keep themselves well. I learned a lot.
When you are working on a daily show, I soon discovered that to sustain the programme day in and day out, I needed some sort of 'structure'.
Planning ahead is vital. It can be unbelievably exhausting if you arrive at work every day with no idea about what is going to happen and how you're are going to fill your programme. If every day of the working week is a struggle to fill space, it's just so stressful! Andin the long term, that's certainly not good for your wellbeing! Putting a little plan together can actually keep you well!
It's also depressing if you keep getting knock-backs and disappointments, but the truth is ... ringing possible guests and contributors at say 10am asking them to chat to you live on the radio at for example, 3pm, can result in constant refusals. Believe it or not people have lives and work, and not everyone can just drop everything to have a chat with a radio host, not unless they have an urgent need to do so.
Yes I'm aware that lots of media people think the world revolves around us ... why WOULDN'T everybody just pause their lives to be on the radio in half an hour's time? But the truth is, life is not like that! We have to work around others.
Yes, there's always flexibility, of course, because it might be something happens that day that you need to respond to during the show. But mostly you can plan most of your guests and subjects in advance and work around them if you need to.
The trick when you're working on a long running production - and I have worked for many years not just in radio but in (live and recorded) television so I think I know what I'm talking about - is to have a plan and even a 'schedule'!
You can look ahead and see if one day in particular is an important date or anniversary in the calendar ... you could book guests to reflect that. You can source guests who might have an event planned, and you can think of ideas for what we call 'stranding' - subjects which pop up regularly which you can plan in advance, featuring issues you think might interest your listeners. These can be pre-planned.
This 'stranding' also means that people tuning in to your show may feel that they have an 'appointment to listen' if they want to. They know that a subject may be coming up at a certain time, on a specific day of the week. If you're running a 'series' you may want to run it around the same time every week so that people know to listen in!
I know what you're saying ... 'well you can always play another song or run some sort of survey or competition where it's mostly YOU chatting'?
Yes, that's true, but BBC local radio in the UK is supposed to be predominantly 'talk' and based in the community, featuring local conversations which interest local people. Well that was the original intention and aim anyway. The BBC is not a' commercial' station or set of stations which rely on mostly music.
Anyway, although I loved playing music on the radio, when I was presenting I'd much rather chat to someone else who is far more interesting than me rather than just wittering on into the microphone about myself, the things I've been up to, the people I've met, the places I've visited or are connected to and the things I'm interested in. Giving a little of yourself is important, but not too much I always think!
We can all be rather self-centred, it's true, and we would often rather talk about ourselves than let others speak. Maybe many of us would rather push our own ideas than listen to the other person. If you're at a party, how often do you find yourself chatting about what YOU are up to, or YOUR opinions on a matter, rather than being quiet and letting others talk and finding out about what they are doing? It's all part of the skill of 'Active Listening' which I was blogging about last week.
And as I said at the top, apart from anything else, when you talk to different people, you learn SO much!
And I believe it's never too late to learn!
It takes a lot of work to put together an interesting radio programme every day, especially when you're working either alone and producing your own show or working with a very small team. Researching subjects so you can ask sensible questions is important, I think.
Some presenters don't do that. They go into an interview rather unprepared, relying on stuff they 'think' they already know, and so often it can become more about pushing their own thoughts on the issue. It's more about THEM than the subject and the person they are talking to!
This acrostic reminded me of it and today I share it with you ... and hope you will be inspired.
Wellbeing Wednesday on the radio wasn't MY idea, rather it came from a fabulous young producer who I was working with at the time - Emma-Jayne - and she did most of the legwork on the series, booking guests, compiling those all important notes, introducing me to some of the wonderful people in Jersey who are part of the 'wellbeing' community.
Of course, lots of people choose to concentrate on this issue in the middle of the week ... which for many is also called 'Wellness Wednesday' ... so it was a great fit.
It was a lovely time for me, working with EmJay ... what a privilege to share office and studio space and ideas with someone so fabulous!!! We bounced off each other and it was glorious!
The Afternoon Show as originally envisaged (1-4pm) is now no more ... the schedules have changed, different people are in place. Actually the focus of BBC local radio is changing in some respects although I hope the 'localness' will never be entirely lost.
But I will always remember Wellbeing Wednesday with fondness and in fact the idea did gain another life, because until the COVID19 pandemic hit us, every Wednesday a group of local wellbeing practitioners were setting up stall in Jersey's main town of St Helier, sharing their expertise and experience. All under the 'Wellbeing Wednesday' banner!
And who knows, that idea might continue yet? I haven't given up on it entirely ...
Maybe .... Watch this Space!
Meanwhile, if you have a moment, I invite you to read the attached message. Perhaps read it a few times and feel inspired and motivated.
Have a Well Day everyone!