Mark has been crucial for my career and the person who's guided me through this strange, complicated and often difficult world of media, radio and showbiz.
Back in 1998, I met Gary Davis, the former Radio 1 DJ, in a pub in Val d'Isère and drunkenly told him I wanted to be on the radio. He said I needed to talk to Mark, who was presenting the Top 40 on Radio 1 and had been for many years. I went to see him to pitch my plan for a career in radio, with relatively no experience. He decided to take me under his wing.
I began six months of extensive training, and he taught me everything I know. I would go into his show and practise on the desk at his Wise Buddha studios. I've always been quite technically able and that's largely down to Mark's insistence that I practise, practise, practise. I would get up at half past five to make demos, he'd listen to them and we'd have feedback sessions. All his really great advice has stuck with me.
He was taking a big risk. It reflected on his own reputation to punt me to one of the biggest radio stations in the world and he invested an enormous amount of time in me. It was a very steep learning curve and Mark was managing me at the time. If I hadn't been with someone as experienced as him it might have been a different story. I still worry about letting him down.
Mark's got a reputation for surrounding himself with really great people. Everyone I have met via him has been talented and nice, and I'm now married to someone he employed. He's got the ability to spot people he thinks will do good things. He loves all the shenanigans of the business but is so unimpressed by showbiz. It's testament to him and his advice that we don't speak that much any more. The nature of a mentor is that you speak to them when you need advice, but I'm in such a great place at Heart that I don't need to at the moment. I've just signed a new two-year contract, and he emailed me to say well done and that it was a good decision, so I know he's monitoring my career.
Emma B presents Heart 106.2's drivetime show at 4-7pm Monday to Thursday, and a new Sunday afternoon show