Coming in your ears; The high and lows of community radio

Chorley 102.8 FM studio - Nicola is on air Sundays 9am until noon. You can access online via chorley.fm
Chorley 102.8 FM studio - Nicola is on air Sundays 9am until noon. You can access online via chorley.fm
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It’s now approaching six months since I became the woman in your ears at Chorley 102.8 FM, waking you up slowly every Sunday with a mixture of chat, tunes and fantastic - mainly bookish, film and media - guests.

I wasn’t entirely new to talking on the radio.

I’ve been bothering Tuesday afternoon listeners on BBC Radio Lancashire with my news round-ups and views for donkey’s years and I turn up between 4pm and 5pm on Tuesdays with Brett Davison and in the studio every couple of weeks on Graham Liver’s breakfast show.

But guesting and being in charge of an entire three-hour show without a producer (indeed I am generally all alone in the hot broom cupboard of a studio) has been a learning curve, with some comedy moments.

All the buttons for a start.

It’s not particularly challenging, as I keep it simple, but when you are juggling guests, weather reports and music it is easy to forget to slide down that fader.

When technical gremlins hit, you are on your own.

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I’ve had to learn not to swear, even off air, as knowing me, I’m probably still broadcasting to the nation (or at least the Chorley area and the internet) and Ofcom would not be happy.

Most of the work is off-air, planning guests, promotion and chatting to listeners over multiple channels. I am my own producer.

But one thing that has been amazing is my confidence – on other people’s shows I am less so, but given my own microphone I find I have no problem whatsoever – now I talk too much.

Call me a control freak, but I love directing the flow of conversation and I’m remembering anew how amazing it is to actually interview and chat to someone and how interesting other people are.

As a reporter, interviewing was usually under time-pressured circumstances and involved intense shorthand scribbling, but with my podcast-style three hour show you can properly get to know a guest – it’s lovely.

There have been low points – technology meltdowns, late guests and the time security locked me out the building leading to the cancellation of the show feature highly.

But it’s been great to learn something new as a time-served journalist – crucially that the listener comes first, as a certain cheeky comedian would say...

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