Jon Kay - Q&A

Name?
Jon Kay

Age?
36

Where are you from?
I was born in Hull, but spent most of my childhood in Cheshire.

How did you get started in broadcasting?
I always wanted to be a newspaper journalist, but at Exeter Uni got involved with the campus radio station, and was bitten by the broadcasting bug. It involved running round with a tape-recorder, learning how to edit etc, even if no-one at all was ever listening! From there, I joined the BBC as a trainee Local Radio reporter. Sadly that scheme no longer exists.

When was that?
I started at Uni in 1989, and joined the BBC when I graduated in 1992.

Why News broadcasting?
I love the immediacy of it — and technology means things are becoming even more immediate. I’ve just been given a fancy 3G phone, which I could use to do a live, in-vision report from the scene of a breaking story — before the satellite truck has even arrived. Journalism allows you to meet some incredible people, and tell some extraordinary stories. There’s never a dull day. And I suppose I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I’m also a bit of a show-off.

Where else would have viewers seen or heard you before?
At the moment I’m a News Correspondent, covering the South West of England for National BBC TV and Radio. Before that, I worked as a BBC Reporter in London for a couple of years, and as a regional reporter for Points West. Oh — and I know this sounds unlikely — I also worked as a DJ for a Californian indie radio station for a few months.

What is your Best on-air moment?
Reporting live from the scene of a developing story is always a buzz. I’ve managed to broadcast from some pretty amazing locations — from a hot-air balloon high in the sky, from a ship in the middle of the ocean with Ellen MacArthur, and from a cave deep below the Mendip Hills.

What is your Worst on-air moment?
Early in my career I remember reading the news on Radio Bristol one Sunday morning, and being so hung-over that I thought I was going to throw-up half-way through. A colleague had to finish the bulletin — and I don’t think anybody ever knew. Until now.

What would you like to do before your career ends?
Maybe work abroad for a while.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Well, this weekend was pretty typical: teaching my daughter to ride a bike; taking my son swimming; meeting up with friends; — and enjoying the fantastic South West.

What advice would you give to anyone that would like to get into the broadcasting world?
Be serious about it — but don’t take yourself too seriously. Keep a sense of humour. Oh — and don’t drink too much if you’re doing an early news-reading shift the next morning!

A big thanks to Jon for taking part.

Updated: Thursday 21 May 2009

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