Five minutes with…Rich Main / BBC London Radio

NB Team

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As part of our new series ’Five minutes with…’, we spent some time catching up with Rich Main, reporter, newsreader and producer at BBC London Radio, where he told about us about his fave lunch spots, his top-three apps for survival as a journalist and how he’d tackle an A.I. takeover.


What does your day usually look like?

This really depends on whether I’m reporting, producing or news reading. When reporting, I work on the BBC London breakfast show, working 04.00am – 12.00pm. This is a very unpredictable shift and normally hinges on the day’s breaking news. I can be out at Kings Cross asking commuters for their opinions, tracking down politicians at hustings or standing on a police cordon outside the scene of a crime.

When producing my job is far more office based – booking guests, writing cues and dispatching reporters to stories. Then, when we go on air, I manage the show from our ‘ops area’.

Finally, as a newsreader, I write and voice our half hourly news bulletins, working closely with colleagues across the BBC and at other organisations such as the Met to bring London the latest breaking stories.

What is your favourite piece of tech / gadget?

We can now do pretty much all our broadcasting from a smartphone or tablet (BBC London use a pool of iPhone 4s and second generation iPads) using slightly tweaked versions of commercially available apps such as Luci Live and the BBC’s own PNG (portable news gathering) service. Therefore, I’m always on the lookout for any gadget that makes my battery last longer but doesn’t take up a huge amount of space in my pocket.

What makes you irrationally angry?

Nothing. I’m an oasis of serenity. But needlessly obstructive press officers don’t help. Irrelevant press releases wear out my deleting finger. And the public could give me a smile when I shove a mic under their noses at 6am.

Your favourite lunch spot in London?

So many places. Cavendish Square in the sunshine with a sandwich or any of the delhis and cafes on Foley Street beyond the junction with Great Titchfield Street. The BBC Canteen also does a mean curry…

What is your preferred way of working with PRs?

A good PR is a diamond – very valuable, very rare. But a well-constructed and relevant press release put out by a PR, who can actually be contacted on the number they give, is half the battle.

What do you think is the single biggest challenge facing the media industry at the moment?

A lack of fun – I love news, I work in news but even I suffer overkill sometimes. The 24 hour news cycle is all consuming, can lower ethical standards and stretches the definition of what ‘news’ is, devaluing the content.

Name your three favourite apps, and why they’re your favourite

1.     Twitter – if you don’t have it, you don’t really work in the media.

2.     Periscope – my current app of choice, a fascinating prospect and good fun but will it become an essential part of our social media arsenal?

3.     Google Maps/City Mapper – getting to breaking news as it happens, getting home from the pub – both essential journalistic skills

Do you lie awake at night and worry about the possibility of A.I. turning on us?

Not really, I’ve seen Terminator; I reckon I could rock a leather jacket if required to as part of the resistance…

Rich can be found tweeting here: @RPMain