Tuesday, 24 April 2012

18 interviews and 20 press-ups with Mr Motivator

Last week I spent four very entertaining hours in a small radio studio with 1990's legendary fitness guru Mr Motivator. The occasion was the kick off of the next stage of Noddle's roll-out and we had just released a new story and had 18 interviews to do.

If you have never done radio interviews, it works like this. Your PR company sends out the press release to loads of radio stations around the UK. They are told that there will be a "radio day" and all the stations that want to do interviews are given a short timeslot during that day. You then book a radio studio for the time needed. In our case, because there was such wide interest in what we were doing we booked a half day and each station was given a ten minute slot, starting at about 8.30am.

Most of the interviews are "pre-recs" or pre-recordings that will be aired later that day or even later in the week. A handful will be live on air if the timeslot happens to suit the radio station's schedule. A couple of ours were live and it is odd to think of yourself talking live to about a million listeners, hoping you don't sound too ridiculous!

So, "Mot", wearing a colourful tracksuit and "Tom" (that's me) wearing a boring beige jacket turned up at the small radio studio off Totenham Court Road to prepare for the session. Someone told me they had assumed that guests were actually in the radio station when they were being interviewed, but sadly I had to disillusion her. Sometimes you will get called in to the station itself, but in a lot of cases the guests are sitting in another studio miles away and when you have back to back interviews its impossible to rush from station to station.

Then it starts.The technician twiddles dials and knobs and contacts the next radio station on the list. Mr Motivator and I would be chatting away (he's a very intellctual chap actually, as well as having buns of steel) and suddenly music and presenters voices appear in your headset and you are on air.

Mr Motivator is a seasoned professional at this game. Presenters were excited to be talking to him and he bantered away as if he had known them all his life. I struggled to get a word in edgeways. But I like to think we made a good duo, with me as "the boring one" - like Ant and Dec, Morcombe and Wise, Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello (take your pick depending on your age).

The off-air segments were very funny. Several presenters asked him if he would record something special for them and he was happy to oblige. Could he say something motivational to be played at a hen night? Something to keep a presenter motivated in the last few miles of the London Marathon? I just hope these clips never get broadcast (at least not without an "Over 18s Only" warning!).

After a couple of hours of non-stop, back to back interviews we were told that we had a short break in our schedule. Thank goodness, I thought as I reached for a croissant, when Mr Motivator says "Great. Tom, let's do some press-ups". What?! I laugh nervously assuming he's joking when to my surprise he drops and starts press-upping away. Seconds later dressed in my smart casual, boring beige jacket I find myself on the floor of the radio studio doing a press-up too (yes, in my case it was just the one press-up, I'm afraid).

Mr Motivator may be 60 now but he is as fit and motivational as ever!

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