Latest TV/Video Jobs

Here is my selection of the best vacancies across TV in production and journalism, plus video opportunities too.

Let me know if you would like to apply as I can help improve your CV and application. Check the mentoring section above for some amazing feedback from clients:

Foreign Affairs Producer for Channel 4 News (ITN): http://bit.ly/2uXkNdh

General Reporter with ITN: http://bit.ly/2mCc10b

Casting Researchers – The Jeremy Kyle Show http://bit.ly/2noF7Ra

Producer with CNN: http://bit.ly/2l4zvdI

A number of roles re-advertised for CGTN in London: http://bit.ly/2tDr1hx

Producers wanted by VICE News: http://bit.ly/2vkuF1k

Production Manager for BT Sport (freelance): http://bit.ly/2vq6D4n

Assistant News Editor for Perform in Feltham: http://bit.ly/2LdUrgY

Executive Producer Multi Sport with Perform (DAZN) in Leeds: http://bit.ly/2v8Uior

Production Co-ordinator for ITN Sport: http://bit.ly/2L7GeSG

Jobs at That’s TV across the UK: http://bit.ly/2oZhKN9

Senior Journalist for BBC Breakfast: http://bit.ly/2vm7T8J CD: 12/08

Assistant Producer for BBC Scotland Investigations: http://bit.ly/2vNpKpg CD: 12/08

News Archivist with ITN: http://bit.ly/2vkRy4j CD: 12/08

Journalist for BBC Russian Service: http://bit.ly/2JlbKI8 CD: 12/08

Production Journalist – Digital – for STV: http://bit.ly/2OCrgDo CD: 13/08

Genre Assistant News & Current Affairs at Channel 4: http://bit.ly/2npyuxY CD: 14/08

Assistant Producer for BBC Sport: http://bit.ly/2ARSYZI CD: 15/08

Senior News Editor with CNN: http://bit.ly/2uNKe0M CD: 15/08

Multimedia Producer (Shorts) for ITN: http://bit.ly/2nACtIp CD: 15/08

Multimedia Journalist for STV in Inverness: http://bit.ly/2vzFSKP CD: 17/08

Assistant Producer Premier League Productions (IMG): http://bit.ly/2vMwnIx CD: 17/08

Senior Researcher for BBC Northern Ireland: http://bit.ly/2nqtsBC CD: 19/08

Producer for Chelsea TV: http://bit.ly/2LXyzrF CD: 20/08

Executive Editor – Live Streaming – for BBC Sport: http://bit.ly/2vNAyUc CD: 21/08

Output Producer for ITN: http://bit.ly/2vZ4z3K CD: 22/08

Assistant Producer for BT Sport: http://bit.ly/2Lpw6Wm CD: 22/08

Sessional Lecturers Digital TV Production at Ravensbourne: http://bit.ly/2OrrLQi CD: 24/08

Senior Producer (US) for ITN: http://bit.ly/2npvBNL CD: 26/08

Political Reporter for BBC Scotland News: http://bit.ly/2AtsjCr CD: 29/08

General Correspondent for ITV News: http://bit.ly/2AeQ41a CD: 02/09

Senior Journalist for BBC Wales in Wrexham: http://bit.ly/2AtExLh  CD: 02/09

Broadcast Journalist for the EFL: http://bit.ly/2vWMrHN CD: 07/09

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Latest Radio/Audio Jobs

Here is my selection of the latest vacancies across radio in the UK and abroad.

Let me know if you would like to apply as I can help improve your CV and application. Check the mentoring section here for some amazing feedback from clients.

News Editor with More Radio in Worthing: http://bit.ly/2OH0cD1

Audio Producer for Radio X (PT): http://bit.ly/2vA0mTW

Creative Producer for Global in Nottingham: http://bit.ly/2vzXxlD

Audio Producer for Classic FM and Smooth: http://bit.ly/2lHDxZT

Broadcast Journalist for Global in Brighton: http://bit.ly/2ORp5M2

Regional News Editor for Global (Cambridge/Chelmsford): http://bit.ly/2vJ4alL

Senior Broadcast Journalist with Global in Cambridge: http://bit.ly/2jfFDm2

Broadcast Journalist for Global in Bristol: http://bit.ly/2qwTe8f

Regional News Editor for Global (South Region): http://bit.ly/2FoaLKc

Producers and Senior Producers for Whistledown productions http://bit.ly/2LvOoW3

Multimedia Journalist / Producer with Manx Radio: http://bit.ly/2Af5YID

Presenters for Reverse Fm in Belfast: http://bit.ly/2vjIzQw

Traffic & Travel Reporter with Inrix (London): http://bit.ly/2K49r1q

Audio Description Scripter for Ericsson in Ealing: http://bit.ly/2ItwFIn

Podcast Producer for Message Heard: http://bit.ly/2m6WchU

Senior Journalist (Politics) BBC Radio Leeds in Bradford: http://bit.ly/2Abl6qv CD: 13/08

Production Co-ordinator for The Archers at the BBC: http://bit.ly/2vdFhPO CD: 13/08

Full Time Journalist for Kingdom FM in Kirkcaldy: http://bit.ly/2vC8t2p CD: 13/08

Journalist (Sport) for BBC Radio Northampton: http://bit.ly/2vgwg8x CD: 14/08

Associate Editor for talkRADIO (Website) : http://bit.ly/2zS4pAr CD: 14/08

Freelance Broadcast Journalists Radio Exe in Exeter: http://bit.ly/2zWsbuQ CD: 15/08

Senior Journalist (Communities) BBC Radio Merseyside: http://bit.ly/2vxZmzI CD: 16/08

Producer – Social Media – for BBC Sounds: http://bit.ly/2vyrDpz CD: 16/08

Assistant Producer – Social Media – for BBC Sounds: http://bit.ly/2LPMrUv CD: 16/08

Imaging Producer with Virgin Radio: http://bit.ly/2vUj60v CD: 17/08

Assistant Producer – Online – with Virgin Radio: http://bit.ly/2nqTDYM CD: 17/08

Creative Producer with Bauer in London: http://bit.ly/2vTk7Gh CD: 17/08

Multimedia Journalist at Premier: http://bit.ly/2vaudC4 CD: 17/08

Senior Researcher for BBC Northern Ireland: http://bit.ly/2nqtsBC CD: 19/08

Assistant Producer BBC Radio 1 Music Team: http://bit.ly/2noDini CD: 19/08

Producer Network Radio for BBC Wales: http://bit.ly/2LRJ1AA CD: 19/08

Managing Editor for National Prison Radio: http://bit.ly/2vEK77W CD: 19/08

Lecturer Broadcast Journalism Nottingham Trent University: http://bit.ly/2OP8AjP CD: 19/08

Assistant Producers Social Media for Radio 1 (BBC): http://bit.ly/2nsUxDV CD: 20/08

Newsdesk Editor/Newsreader Radio City (Liverpool): http://bit.ly/2noxtWU CD: 20/08

Newsdesk Editor/Newsreader Hits Radio Manchester: http://bit.ly/2nqaFq0 CD: 20/08

Executive Editor – Live Streaming – for BBC Sport: http://bit.ly/2vNAyUc CD: 21/08

Podcast Producer for Sky News Radio: http://bit.ly/2OQO5TX CD: 22/08

Journalist/Mid Morning Producer BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: http://bit.ly/2vZpYto  CD: 24/08

Senior Journalist (Communities) at BBC Radio Jersey: http://bit.ly/2OZtjBA CD: 26/08

Senior Journalist (Political Reporter) BBC Radio Jersey: http://bit.ly/2vZq1p4 CD: 26/08

Senior Journalist (Communities) BBC Radio Guernsey: http://bit.ly/2vvOQtC CD: 26/08

Producer at the BBC for Radio Religion & Ethics: http://bit.ly/2nwB05I CD: 27/08

Broadcast Journalist for the EFL: http://bit.ly/2vWMrHN CD: 07/09

Breakfast Show Producer for Free Radio in the Midlands: http://bit.ly/2ASaj4S CD: 14/09

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Quality Not Quantity, It’s Not Always Best For Radio

When considering awards for radio programmes, judges are often looking for great content; something dynamic, engaging, different, magical. But also they are looking for how that content was recorded. One of the key things looked at in a news or magazine programme is whether guests have been recorded ‘in quality’. To normal people (the patronising way radio professionals refer to the audience) what does that mean? It means getting someone in a studio or interviewing them face to face. It means ensuring the audio is of the clearest and best sound quality.

This is a fair benchmark for the effort put into the production. Many News Editors I have worked with have also been fixated with these quality interviews. But does the audience notice? Or more importantly, does the audience even care? The truism often used in radio is that once you have worked in the industry you can never be a true listener again. Your judgement becomes based on things that matter to a broadcaster but not always to the listener. The classic example being the old DJ style of speaking up to a song’s vocal. That was something only the DJ themselves ever thought mattered.

In news we pride ourselves on good writing and getting great clips of audio. This does make a difference to the listening experience of course, but whether someone is on the phone or ‘in quality’ really does not. Some research has indicated that listeners would actually trust phone audio more on some occasions, such as when a person is in a far flung part of the world. After all, we all speak to people over the phone and know what it sounds like. If the phone line is clear and the interview is not too long, it is always good enough for me. The fixation of quality is misguided.

New technology brings different issues. Skype is increasingly used for interviews on TV and radio. For television I think this is fine, as you can see the person sat in front of a laptop for example. You have a context for the sound. But on radio Skype can sound awful and without the visual you may have to explain that the person is speaking on Skype. You don’t want the listener thinking why is that audio weird. They then stop listening to the content and the point of the clip or interview is lost.

Getting guests into the studio does obviously have benefits for better content. Such as eye contact with the presenter and better dialogue between different guests. But ensuring you get a variety of opinion and voices on a story is more important to me as a News Editor than whether someone is ‘in quality’. So quality over quantity isn’t always a must.

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Why Journalism Should Reclaim ‘Fake News’ From Donald Trump

This month saw the very origins of fake news; April Fools’ Day. Newspapers, radio and some TV love a good April fool. Making up a story that is so ridiculous some believe it, before a face palm moment after a check of the date. Obviously this is not where fake news started but the meaning of those two words has changed dramatically since it’s become part of the everyday journalism lexicon.

I recently attended an interesting discussion at Sky News about fake news and more pertinently, Donald Trump’s influence on the term. Since he became US President he has used fake news as a way to dismiss reporting he disagrees with. It’s been a clever strategy (or am I being too kind to Trump?). So vehement has he been with the use of the phrase, most people now use it for exactly the same reason.

Other prominent figures have followed. Jeremy Corbyn even used it to dismiss claims of disquiet in his shadow cabinet. That’s not fake news; that’s just political rumour and mischief. Very different to how fake news started in my eyes, with those ludicrous ‘Hillary Clinton is an alien’ type articles that appeared on social media. Mocked up articles made to look real that were initially funny then just another reason to turn off my Facebook feeds. That WAS fake news.

As Donald Trump has settled into the White House he’s manipulated the usage of the term so that people can easily dismiss journalism as fake news and deflect attention and focus. Like so much of the rhetoric from Washington lately, it’s a crude weapon against perfectly fair questioning.

But like many others I do not believe that Trump is or has been bad for journalism and the media. Quite the opposite. Sky News even created a Donald Trump tab on its website to collect all the content. He creates material almost daily and we in the media feed on it. Sometimes he even seems to create his own fake news without realising!

That debate at Sky News asked whether trust in journalism had fallen – with research indicating that it remains constant; constantly low. We are not a profession held in high regard by much of the public and that will probably never change. Journalism rates about the same as politicians, not something to be proud of.

What I’m thinking is that journalism should reclaim fake news and its meaning. Instead of letting people get away with dismissing rumour and accusation as fake news we throw it back and don’t let them use this flippant escape. Source stories properly; challenge politicians and officials and hit back at this lazy ‘fake news’ repost. I’d also really love to hear fake news said a lot less in the media, it has to be one of the most annoying terms since, err, Brexit. Better not get me started on that though.

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Video Killed The Football Star

I have a feeling that football is about to enter one of the most critical points of its history. The game’s lawmakers have approved the international use of Video Assistant Referees – VAR – and the technology will now likely be seen at the forthcoming World Cup in Russia. I have long thought it strange that the world’s most watched sport has not used technology to help officials get the decisions right and the introduction of goal line technology has proved how effective it can be.

However, I have real concerns the game could be about to take a path that causes irreversible damage to its reputation and permanently dent its huge popularity. The death knell for the football bubble has been forecast many times before but VAR could be the pin that pops that bubble. After this week’s FA Cup tie at Wembley, Tottenham’s Danny Rose described the system as shambolic and a disgrace. Half of players in Germany seem to agree with him and don’t want it continued there.

Managers have also expressed a dislike for VAR, as they queue up to suggest it ruins the flow of the game. This is partly true, but when you think the ball is out of play for at least a third of most matches this argument seems weak. There is also a strong case to say the system needs to be tested properly before we make a judgement. Other sports experienced problems early on but now use video widely for reviews. But other sports are other sports; the lessons might not translate to football.

The reason I say this is that technology cuts to the heart of football, or at least the reason why I fell in love with the game. The atmosphere. That moment of absolute joy when your team scores or an opposition penalty is saved. Of course you cast a quick eye to the linesman and check his flag but the celebration is uninhibited and utterly joyous. It’s an escape. I have climbed over people, run down steps, and hugged strangers when Reading have scored critical goals (and yes, before you say it, there have been a few!).

How will those moments be in this dystopian world I foresee though? A goal is scored and instead of a quick check to the referee or assistant, you are wondering whether 15 seconds later it will be ruled out. Right now every goal is checked and that means every time someone scores there will be doubt in my mind. The air is sucked out of the moment; that instant joy is lost. Because it’s the fans that are being ignored with this technology. We don’t even get to hear what’s being reviewed and why. There is no big screen replay and many grounds do not have that facility anyway.

In cricket, umpires now always review a run out it seems. They know the technology is there and therefore play safe. But bad decisions are still made. Human error still occurs. The stats suggest ‘correct’ decisions went up from 93 percent to 98 percent in football with VAR but is it really worth that 5 percent? I might be over reacting and foreseeing doom and gloom when there’s no need but for me fans are the game; we are the ones that make football special. Players score and run to us; they sing songs in winning dressing rooms that the fans have sung at them; TV games with excited crowds and great atmosphere are always much better to watch. Kill that and you kill the game. Video technology may bring fewer errors but it might bring with it greater problems. The fans may be forgotten. Do that and the game dies.

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Knowing your sport – it’s not just a hobby for a newsreader

TMS window at Lord’s

Reading a very insightful blog about radio news recently there was a reference to sport coverage and that the writer would treat this separately. It’s not unusual to have different rules or advice for covering sport and what we deem ‘normal’ news. However, over the years I have noticed a propensity for news journalists to rather easily dismiss the world of sport. I have often been told ‘I don’t really understand sport’ with the inference they won’t have to worry about it. It’s not with pride they say it but nevertheless they are not shy to admit it.

Imagine though if I said the same thing about politics. Would it be acceptable for me to dismiss every story from Westminster just because I don’t understand or care about it? Of course not. What if I said that about crime stories? My role as a journalist – and particularly one that works in radio – is to embrace all news. That includes everything. So not just current affairs but sport as well. Entertainment often gets treated in the same way. Easily dismissed as gossip rather than news. But big showbiz stories need the same respect as ‘hard news’. Likewise big sport stories.

If you are working in a newsroom where sport will be significant, you need to make even more of an effort to embrace it. When I worked at Fox FM in the 1990s, Formula One was of huge importance because Silverstone was in the area, as were a number of the teams’ headquarters. Often a journalist would join the radio station and know nothing about F1. But it was their job to research it, perhaps watch it and try to understand it. I have always been interested in lots of sport and therefore have had to work harder at getting a grip on some other aspects of news. I would expect the same from journalists who feel more comfortable in the world of politics but have to also include sport in their bulletins.

Radio news can feel very transient as we read a few words and move on. But you still have to understand what you are saying and writing. You can be sure sports fans are more likely to notice (and then tell you via social media) if you say a team name or a player name wrong than people will pick up on someone saying Istanbul’s the capital of Turkey. In the 2018 multi platform newsroom environment it is not just different skills that we need to learn but also a broader subject area. One day you can be leading the news with a prime minister resigning but the next day with a football manager being sacked. News is news – and that includes sport.

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Classy radio that is continually underrated

In radio training a key acronym that I was taught and is still as pertinent two decades later is KISS; keep it simple stupid (or similar versions). The premise is obvious but often the best and most magical moments of radio are when things are kept to their simplest.

Back in October I attended the Arias, where the industry recognises some of that great radio from the past twelve months. Often the winners have just done the simple things well. Often though that is easier said than done. But a show that seems to always miss out on this kind of recognition is talkSPORT’s Hawksbee and Jacobs afternoon programme.

Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs have been presenting on talkSPORT for almost 20 years, with a show that is always funny and engaging. But over the years, the quality of this programme has been disgracefully ignored by radio’s awards ceremonies. To keep making you laugh after all this time deserves great credit to Paul and Andy obviously, but also the various teams that have worked with them. Sometimes a little freshen up has been needed but the fundamentals have stayed the same.

And what does that mean? Well radio works best when you connect and to do that you have to be yourself. Paul and Andy have great chemistry. Like many successful duos in entertainment, their personalities dovetail perfectly. Paul is the quick witted one, while Andy plays the curmudgeon brilliantly (we know he’s not playing). The opening ten minutes of each show are always a giggle.

There is also the right amount of piss taking, bringing me to the much loved ‘clips of the week’ they do every Friday. I’ve written before about how commercial radio can often do things the BBC can’t. And this is a perfect example. Clips of the Week is a selection of newsreader gaffs, sport reporter mistakes and largely Alan Brazil or Mike Parry mispronunciations (Fishermen’s Blues is also a regular nominee). It’s always hilarious. Taking yourself too seriously is sadly an art form at the BBC and many presenters and shows would be better off for having the ability to laugh at yourself.

At the BBC can you imagine a programme collecting on air mess ups by the star names? There’d be a BBC policy paper detailing the outrage and unions would demand respect for the ‘talent’. At talkSPORT it’s received as it should; with the ability to laugh at yourself. It’s a favourite feature of my wife who falls well outside the target audience for the station. In fact she enjoys the whole show. As she put it herself, they don’t always talk about football but when they do it doesn’t have that familiar footy banter feel that can exclude people. The guests are often interestingly different and embrace the show’s style and humour.

And this brings me back to that acronym, KISS. Keeping things simple in radio is imperative, but that doesn’t mean taking no risks or being bland. And simple does not mean avoiding being clever or creative. Just remember not to over complicate and understand the audience and your talents’ best skills. Hawksbee and Jacobs have delivered quality radio based on this for two decades and deserve wider recognition for that. The categories at awards like the Arias (the Sonys as was) does not help but had this been a BBC show you can be sure the plaudits would be queuing up and the awards mounting up!

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Why changing local BBC’s audience targeting might be a mistake

 

When Tony Hall spoke to staff at BBC local radio recently outlining how the Corporation will change its focus for the stations, there were some encouraging thoughts. Value seemed to be attributed to the network despite previous indications the BBC felt it was just a drain on resources.

A broadening of the audience was established – making BBC local radio for all. A fine idea and not without merit. The commercial sector has increasingly deserted local programming to save money, leaving a gap for the BBC to exploit or community stations to try and fill. There is an audience there and it makes sense to try and serve it.

But the audience I feel it should focus on is the 40 and over; this is the generation that is attuned to traditional radio and constantly ignored by most commercial brands. Widening the remit to younger listeners is a fine intention but hard to get right and harder to achieve. Trying to be something to everyone inevitably ends up being something to no one.

On top of this changing audience and changing content, local BBC stations need to become more of an exhilarating place to work. Not filled with lifetime jobbers and empire builders but younger, hungrier talent that needs to use the platform to hone their skills before a national progression. It is true this does happen at the better local stations (often those in bigger towns or cities with a real ‘identity’) but in many there are people grazing or worse. Too many shows are done by ‘names’ or people that have been there too long.

Tony Hall’s speech is encouraging and there is now a real hope that staff across the local network may feel more valued. The direction it takes though needs to be chosen carefully. There is a growing older audience which would appreciate being served by a strong local radio brand. I think this is where the BBC should spend our money. It should invest in areas the commercial sector will no longer go. I hope it does.

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Knowing When To Quit Is Never Easy

TMS window at Lord’s

In the last few weeks two ‘legends’ of sport commentary have either retired or announced they’re about to; or as the journalist cliche goes, they are ‘hanging up their microphones’. So farewell it will be to John Motson, who’s leaving us at the end of this football season and there was a goodbye to Henry Blofeld at Lord’s in that final test against the West Indies.  I was touched by the reception Blowers got as he completed his last commentary slot, with the crowd at Lord’s breaking out into applause (to the confusion of the players on the field).

This reception says a lot about Blowers, the affection in which Test Match Special is held and also the nature of cricket fans. Supporters of cricket, and the test format in particular, are a unique brand of sports fans. They treasure everything that makes the long form of the sport great and that includes someone like Blofeld. His fascination with buses and birds was a part of the TMS fabric as much as the cricket itself. I know many listeners to TMS that don’t even like cricket. It is as quintessentially English as afternoon tea or rain on a summer’s day, and his chitter chatter was a special ingredient.

But I have a confession. In recent years, whenever Blofeld would take over the microphone, I would have to switch off. I became frustrated at the slightly bumbling nature of the commentary. Fielders and batsman would be mis-named and important moments would get lost. This brings me to fellow retiree John Motson. He too has been guilty in the latter years of his career of making a few mistakes and not being quite as ‘on it’. What has also happened in both cases is that they have become caricatures of themselves. Motson’s statistics would become what defined him, along with that weird chuckle. Blofeld’s watching of planes, trains and cranes began to dominate his commentary.

I have never been a huge fan of Motson, but he was undoubtedly groundbreaking with his research about teams, in the era before a quick Google would answer most questions. His passion for the game was also evident, as with Blofeld, and I think that’s why both have lasted so long. But when do you decide to quit? Blowers is nearing his 78th birthday, while Motson is 72; ages at which most of us will hope to have been long retired. I am not necessarily being ageist and saying they couldn’t do the job, but almost certainly younger people coming through can now do it better. TMS is littered with classy broadcasters who have moved commentary on from the era of Blowers.

Motson says he knew when to quit and I respect him for that but I felt he lost his mojo some years ago. He has sounded ‘old’ to me for sometime. On the other hand Sky Sports’ Martin Tyler is only a year younger but does not sound 71 years’ old. Soon though he may too decide that it’s time to go before he’s pushed. That’s where broadcasters need to be brave and make changes before the quality is lost. Peter Alliss still appears on the golf coverage on the BBC, in his mid 80s. But he sounds out of date and of a different era. No longer is his voice a soothing piece of nostalgia. He just sounds old.

All these voices have their time and we hold them in a special place, partly because of the moments they are fortunate to commentate on – pieces of history – but there is also a point when they begin to tire. Knowing when to quit is never easy and I respect Blofeld and Motson for their decisions to walk away when others would have carried on. But, my dear old friend, they have both had a good (career) innings.

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S-Town – An emotional rollercoaster; radio at its very best

At the end of the final episode of S-Town, presenter Brian Reed thanks what he calls ‘the best podcast team in the world’. Over statement? Probably not. From the makers of Serial, S-Town is a superb piece of radio storytelling that breaks and warms your heart in equal measure. Laugh out loud funny at times, the story takes dramatic and poignant twists, right until the final few seconds and a wonderfully written reveal. Radio really doesn’t get better than this.

There are technical and journalistic reasons why this is so good. Let’s look at the technical aspect first. S-Town begins very differently to Serial. Firstly, it is Reed presenting and not Sarah Koenig. While the script has all the same hallmarks of This American Life and Serial, the tone is slightly different. Also, the star of this series is undoubtedly John B McLemore and not Reed. In Serial, despite the access to Adnan Syed in prison, Koenig was the star; placing herself at the heart of the narrative and her investigation. Reed plots and shapes the script in a similar way here, but you feel like you’re walking the path with him, not being led up it.

On episode one of S-Town you hear mostly from John B. Although his southern drawl initially grates, you begin to warm to an extraordinary character. You soon form a remarkable attachment to John B. It makes these seven episodes some of the most emotional moments of radio I have ever experienced. At times the storytelling is like the best of literature; transporting you to another place. Sometimes it feels like a different time too, like the previous century. And time plays a crucial role as the story unfolds; from John B’s work as an horologist to his insistence that his home is on a different time zone than the local town.

When Reed first visits John B, he is shown a maze in the grounds of their house, made and designed by John B himself. The imagery and production in these ten minutes is terrific. It is a perfect example of clever scripting and powerful audio production and it magically transports you in a way visual media cannot.

When listening, images from the first series of TV’s True Detective came to mind, with vast open spaces of nothing and people that rarely, if ever, travel beyond their hometown. Like True Detective, music is also key. The backing tracks are cleverly chosen, to match mood and environment and the final closing song from The Zombies has a poignant connection to the story.

Away from the production, there are moral and political questions to explore. The moral concerns are genuine – but I do not want to discuss them here, as this gives away the story. My love of the podcast shows where I stand on that issue anyway.

As for the political issues raised, I lazily fell into the trap of discovering the characters and residents of Shittown Alabama (or Woodstock as it’s officially known) and thought these are the sort of people that made Donald Trump US President. There are those people that are openly racist and even a company with a name that has an unapologetic nod to the Ku Klux Klan. But dig deeper and you find there is a heart to the place. People that really care for each other. Brian Reed avoids judgement – or if he gets close to it – admits he might be wrong.

As Koenig put it herself, Serial was a ‘Shakespearean mash up’ that had the perfect ingredients for a classic murder story. S Town doesn’t have that same mystery and intrigue, but it makes you think and reflect more. This added depth I describe made S-Town far more rewarding to listen to. The story has a real arc. A beginning, a middle and an end, carefully plotted and beautifully told. Where Serial was the Smells Like Teen Spirit of podcasts, lifting the medium into the mainstream, S-Town might just be the Stairway To Heaven. It’s set to become a classic of its genre. 

Radio is all about connection and engaging an audience. When done as well as this, it really is wonderful. You might listen and not connect to it the same way as I did, but you’ll certainly admire the work that must have been put in. Ultimately S-Town is about judging; challenging our perceptions and avoiding leaping to a conclusion about people. But it is also about a relationship. Not like the teenage love story at the heart of Serial, but the special bond forged by Reed and John B. This is quality journalism from a presenter who genuinely cares and it is all the more powerful as a consequence.

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