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Making waves in radio

BBC Radio Leicester’s editor Jane Hill talks about staying ahead in the media and reveals hidden talents in stand up comedy and novel writing. 

After undertaking a degree in English at UCL and a postgraduate diploma in radio journalism at Cornwall College, Jane found a job in radio pretty much straight away. From being a radio journalist to working in management, she’s worked across the board.

Having taken over as the editor of BBC Radio Leicester quite recently, it’s fair to say that she’s as passionate as ever about her role and excited about the work the station carries out day in day out. “My role is to oversee everything we do, not just what goes on air, but how the station behaves in the community and how we relate to the city and the county we cover.”

Whether it be overseeing the news agenda and the presenters, to features and outside broadcast community events, she has her hands pretty full. But she credits her fantastic team for making things quite easy: “It’s a busy role but the great thing about the station is that a lot of my job is about delegation. I’ve got some fantastic staff who I can really trust.

If I say hey, lets do a whole series of features about Richard III for example, I know they will produce some beautiful material and I don’t have to oversee every little detail.”

A typical day for Jane would include getting into work at around 8am but the day starts well before that, as she switches on the radio as soon as she wakes up! However, her life wasn’t always so hectic. In 2005 she took some time out and actually wrote three psychological novels, all of which have been published. She also took up stand up comedy and has been doing it for around six years on and off.

The 48-year-old said: “It doesn’t fit in with my job so much now, but for a while I was gigging two to three times a week and I’ve done the Edinburgh Fringe Festival a few times.” Incidentally her partner also happens to be a freelance journalist who is also a stand up comedian.

Like any job, of course there are challenges that she faces on a daily basis and they mainly consist of breaking news stories. For example, added Jane: “You might have plans for the day and something else will come up at the most unlikely time that you have to react to, which means you have to redo everything.

“Recently when we knew Jessops had gone into administration and they were going to close all stores, the announcement came through late afternoon and it was clearly a story we had to react to.”

With the emergence of social networking the role of radio is changing. However, Jane believes the main thing is to use social networking sites in a sensible manner. “For example you can break a news story on Twitter, but then retain listeners by directing them towards the station for more information,” she said.

“I think everyone in radio works best under pressure, that’s why we do it. It’s so instant and the fact that you can do a story and have it on air 10 minutes later gives you a real buzz.”

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