How would you react if a “live” radio microphone was thrust in your face needing a response to some world events or homegrown problem currently in the public domain?
Who are these people seeking opinions from the public and who broadcast replies to regional, national and worldwide audiences? Many inquisitors become well known working for the BBC, especially if on TV, whereas radio reporters, having no visible presence, have a lower profile which might be of benefit in their private lives. One such was Alan Jones who was the latest speaker at the Probus Club of Basingstoke.
Alan chose to join their ranks in his late thirties and after completing a specialised training course in journalism he discovered he had a “face for radio”. Always working as a freelance journalist for the BBC, his new career endured more than twenty years. During this time he provided over 25,000 reports for many national radio programmes and the regional BBC Radio Solent. He worked as a reporter, producer and presenter but carved out a niche of his own as a roving reporter travelling across the south and central southern England. He had a specially adapted mobile studio which was sometimes thought to be a TV Licence detector as it had several aerials, one of which could be extended over 30 feet high.
We were introduced to a nervous Bishop at the top of the partially built Portsmouth Cathedral, uncovered the naked truth of nudity in Alton, wrestled with snakes on the Isle of Wight.
He boarded warships at sea and a lunatic Frenchman who wanted a Guinness Book of Record for using a drum kit at altitude in an old Dakota. He had to use a high wire “tight rope” interviewing an artiste of the Moscow State Circus, questioned exhibitors at a rabbit show when the producer demanded that the rabbits could be heard making a noise.
He walked with Royalty when HM Queen opened the finally built Portsmouth Cathedral. Her Majesty usually enquired of crowds “Have you been here long? or, Have you come far?”
During his interesting talk, Alan took his audience on a journey of adventure, mishap and fun, proving that “if something can go wrong it probably will, especially if you are holding a live microphone”.