Friday, December 08, 2006


It's Friday, it's 12 o'clock and it's Friday Live on Forest of Dean Radio with Sally Lomax.

Today due to a combination of winter colds and overtiredness, from being out and up late at their school play, I was blessed with not one but two little broadcast assistants aged 8 and 6. So they came along with me to the studio.

"I wish you didn't do this Mummy" I hate having to come here with you when I'm not at school, said 8.

Being a heartless type, I ignore her, pass her the lunchbox that I have previously made up, and set them both up on one of the radio station's computers, before going into the studio to sort myself out for my show.

It was a Mark Harper day today. Our local MP. Every three weeks or so he comes on my show to talk about what's being going on politically so to speak, in the Forest of Dean. We often have little grumble about the fact that people in Whitehall and Westminster probably don't even know where the Forest of Dean is, so one day, when he has either risen to great heights as a politician, or like many other MP's before him, has himself become a broadcaster, maybe if he's really lucky for FOD Radio, I can at least claim kin, so to speak, and say that I interviewed him here first.

But I digress, because I was talking about my junior BA's, who, half way through my interview with Mark, suddenly increased the volume levels on the computer they are playing on. Now bear in mind that this is a community station and although we have some quite snazzy equipment available to us, we don't have seriously soundproofed rooms. So the noise gets louder and louder and louder, until I am sure that all who are listening to the radio at that moment would hear an electronic pinball game going "boing" in the background.

I start to giggle to myself, and then I catch Mark's eye. I detect a hint of amusement in his eyes too, but being a political type there is not a hint of it in his voice. Professional to the last he simply carries on, undeterred by the "boings" in the background. Put some music on at first available break point, and then go and sort out "boings". 8 and 6 completely unaware that decibel levels are very high, or that it matters, as they aren't in the studio, and therefore can't see when the red light is on.

Go back. Finish interview. Half way through next interview 6 year old comes in to studio. She has been before, so knows the score and so to start with is complely silent every time the red light comes on. Then she puts some headphones on and forgets she is in the studio and starts humming to herself....

Would Jonathan Ross and Chris Evans be able to cope with these additional elements to their shows I muse.

To be fair though to be able to take a 6 and 8 year old into a radio station at all, and expect them to be silent for over an hour while I am on air, is quite a feat, so on the way back we stop at the pound shop to buy fairy lights for the baby Christmas tree that we put up in the playroom each year. The deal is that the kids are allowed to make that one gaudy if I can have my perfect white lights and gold decs on the main one in the sitting room.

There are only illegal parking spaces left in the middle of Cinderford, so as I pull up outside the pound shop, I give 8 year old a pound and ask her to go in and get some lights, if they have any I add. "How do you know how much they will be", she asks. "I have a hunch" I reply. Two minutes later she emerges with some - amazingly - not coloured but white lights. No coloured ones left. "But we don't want white lights, she wailed. We want coloured ones". Secretly I am delighted as it means that all the house will look co-ordinated, but being a mother I sypmpathise accordingly and then, not too long hence, drive home, having consoled her with the notion that the decorations are coloured and the white lights will show up the colour of the decorations more............... or something along those lines.

And then I think to myself, who are the real politicians here? Thank goodness that I attended all those lessons in how to avoid the most contentious of situations in the battlefield when I was pregnant. I'd never have been able to cope with five children without those


Ignorminious said...

Wow! Sod Cherie Blair, you are the real superwoman. Bet she never takes her kids to work when they are ill.

One of these days I fully intend to listen to your show via the interweb thing. Sadly that day will not be for a little while yet as I seem to find myself in a lecture at the time you come on air each week :(

Asha said...

Hi Sally,thanks for visiting me and for your wishes:)

You are really a great mom! Coping with five kids is not easy at all!You have to be everything and anything for them.It takes everything you have to hear those smart Aleky remarks, to control yourself and not react!:D

Enjoy the kids and have a great weekend.

Damian said...

I love stories about stuff that goes on in the studio.

I was recording some voiceovers at 2MBS-FM - Sydney's "fine music" (i.e. generally classical) station. I was in the little pre-record studio, with my back to the window into the broadcast studio, pausing between takes when I half heard, half felt, something coming through the cans.

It was a kind of rythmic throbbing.

I laid down the next VO and it was still there at the end.

We played the track back, and there it was, all the way through the VO.

I looked at the engineer, and, in my most sentorian voice, said, "Do I hear BASE in here?"

I turned around from where I was standing at the mic, and he stood up from his chair, so we could both see into the broadcast studio. We saw a trim lady in her seventies, wearing a very Katherine Hepburn pair of 1940s style wide legged pants, jigging around while she cued up her next record.

She was the Jazz show lady, and she was introducing the listeners to funk. I'm not talking about any eighties stipped-down funk either - I'm talking about Parliament style funk, with a few extra testicles thrown into the mix.

There was nothing we could do until the track ended so the engineer switched the broacast into our monitors and we bopped along until the song ended. The jazz lady saw us, and ended up going back on air giggling.

Damian said...

My favourite radio disaster was when the enormously popular Doug Mulray was doing Breakfast at TripleM in Sydney, during its heyday in the 1980s.

I tuned in one morning to a very mirthful broadcast by all his offsiders - his cool, whimsical voice was not to be heard, until they said, "And now we'll cut to Dougie, who has probably got to Wakehurst Parkway by now."

Uncle Doug, as he was known, was forced to admit that, yes, for the first time in three years, he had slept through is alarm and was doing his show via his car phone.

Unfortunately he had decided his open topped Ferrari would be the fastest way to get to work. A red Ferrari with UNCLE on the number plate - so every time they cut to Dougie, sitting in the traffic, people would toot and wave and shout greetings through their windows.

He finally arrived at work, an hour into his three hour show.

Sally Lomax said...

Oh thank you Ignorminious! That is very kind.

And thank you Asha, and Happy Anniversary!

Love the Voice over story Damian! The only time i've ever been drummed out of a studio so to speak was once in Belfast, when (again doing a voice over)the builders next door mangaed to interrupt every take, jsut as we restarted each time. Not as good as the funky granny story. That's hilarious! Liked the Uncle Doug story too.


Beccy said...