Femi Oke: My Life In Media

'When viewers see a picture of a puppy stranded in a flood in Romania, you've stolen the show'

The international weather anchor for CNN, Femi Oke, 40, is also a regular host of the current-affairs programme Inside Africa. She began her broadcasting career at the age of 14 as a junior reporter for LBC Radio, joining the BBC after university. Memorable moments from her career include wrestling a crocodile in Jamaica and reporting from Antarctica at minus 37C. She was born and brought up in south-west London to Nigerian parents, and now lives in Atlanta, where CNN has its HQ, with her husband. She is reporting live from Johannesburg this week for CNN's week-long Eye on Africa series.

So, what inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

I was a radio geek from the age of 10. In fact, Tommy Boyd, now on BBC Southern Counties Radio, describes me as his first stalker! I'd call up his LBC show every weekend, and enjoyed it so much, I decided that I would work for radio, too.

When you were 15, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

I remember reading the campaigning journalism of John Pilger in the Daily Mirror. I would also buy The Stage and Television Today.

And your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I'd listen to LBC all day for talk, Capital Radio for the hits, and Radio 1 for the star jocks. On TV, I grew up with Blue Peter, Newsround, Doctor Who, Going Live and Top of the Pops.

Describe your job

When I joined CNN, I knew that there was a lot more I wanted to do than presenting the weather. Seven years later, I have a unique hybrid job. I'm still part of the world weather team, but I also present Inside Africa live, and travel to Africa quite regularly to report.

What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?

I catch up with international news first on the net - CNN and the BBC. Once I'm online, the television goes on in the background and I surf around the international satellite news channels.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

There are five mini-TVs in my studio. I watch CNN all day, of course, and Reuters TV. When I'm looking for interesting weather stories I look to the net - the BBC, Yahoo News and AP News. One of the best resources are news-agency stills. When viewers see a picture of a puppy stranded in a flood in Romania, say, you've stolen the show.

What is the best thing about your job?

I'm free to decide what to put in my weather broadcasts every day - CNN just lets me get on with it. At first, this freaked me out. It certainly gives you a strong sense of responsibility to check your sources and ensure that the information is correct. So far, I've had no mishaps and lots of appreciative feedback.

And the worst?

On Inside Africa, our challenge is always how to tell a story if we're unable physically to get to a county. You have to be quite creative and resourceful.

How do you feel you influence the media?

I hope my passion for covering stories from Africa will encourage others to look for the positive news that comes from this continent.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

I was awarded a media fellowship to report from Monrovia on Liberia's elections. The atmosphere was so charged with hope, it was my best assignment yet.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

I used to present weather forecasts for LWT. During my first week, I signed off with, "Red sky at night, shepherd's delight. Red sky in the morning shepherd's house on fire". It was a silly throwaway line, and when the forecast went out, the lead news story was about a house fire! The phones, excuse the pun, lit up. Fortunately, I wasn't fired, and some viewers called in to say I'd made them chuckle.

At home, what do you tune in to?

British radio is the best in the world, and I miss it in America, but thanks to the net I can get BBC Radio 4, Radio 5 and World Service, so I don't get homesick.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for local news. And I join the longest queue in the supermarket so that I can read The National Enquirer before I get to the check-out.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Moira Stewart is very professional and beautiful. How does she manage to look the same as she did when I was still at school?

Femi Oke is co-hosting the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards. Highlights will be shown on 'Inside Africa' on CNN International, 22 July, 5.30pm

The cv

1982

Joins LBC Radio aged 14 as a junior reporter

1988

Gets a job at the BBC after doing a degree in English, works at World Service, Radio 1, 4 and Five Live

1992

Moves to Central TV as a producer

1994

Presents the weather for LWT while presenting and producing other shows, including Five's The Mag, which is nominated for a Bafta in 1998

1999

Joins CNN as international weather anchor, and joins Inside Africa as a reporter in 2000

2002

Reports from the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City

2005

Becomes Inside Africa's presenter and reports live from the Liberian elections

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week