My Life In Media: James Whale

James Whale, 57, is a radio host and television presenter who hit the headlines earlier this month after being sacked from Talksport Radio, where he'd worked for 13 years, for breaching Ofcom broadcasting rules by endorsing the Conservative London mayoral candidate Boris Johnson. The outspoken Whale made his reputation as a late-night shock jock at Newcastle's Metro Radio. Since leaving Talksport he has launched a website (
www.jameswhaleradio.com) and joined the shopping channel Bid TV as a presenter. His autobiography, Almost a Celebrity, is out in paperback in October. He lives in London, where he enjoys gardening and archery. Whale and his wife Melinda have been married for 40 years and have two sons, James, 39, and Peter, 37.



What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

I love radio. Like everybody else I'd always wanted to work on Radio 1, but my real inspiration came when I visited Topshop on Regent's Street and got a job with their in-house radio station.



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

I think, if my memory serves me correctly, I was 15 in 1964 and I mainly read the Daily Sketch, the Mirror and The Daily Telegraph. My dad was a publican so we always had pretty much every paper out on the bar.



And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

Obviously I was and still am a massive radio fan. I think I started by listening to Tony Blackburn on pirate radio, and today I listen to a lot of Chris Moyles and Steve Wright. Interestingly, Chris did work experience with me many years ago. On TV at the moment I can't get enough of NCIS and I'm a big fan of The Bill. I'd love to appear in it.



Describe your job

I'd have to describe it as having spent a lifetime chatting over the garden fence. From my first job at Harrods as a buyer to my new job as a presenter with Bid TV, and all the radio and television jobs in between, I've been a communicator. What's more, my job has always been extremely varied. For instance, at one point in the Seventies I'd be doing work as an actor in Doctor Who or Z-Cars, recording commercial voiceovers and working for Metro Radio all in the same week.



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

I do the newspaper reviews with Eamonn Holmes on Sunrise every week so I always make sure to turn on Sky News every morning to keep informed.

Do you consult any media sources during the day?

If I'm out and about I'll listen to [London station] LBC Radio for their rolling news and regular traffic updates.



What is the best thing about your job?

Without a doubt it is the connection I have with my listeners. I'm lucky enough to be able to connect with people easily and I find it very rewarding.

And the worst?

The amount of driving I have to do between jobs.



How do you feel you influence the media?

I hope that I am respected for speaking my mind.



What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

I'm proud that I've talked about important issues on my show like testicular cancer, and that I launched the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer. I'm also honoured that many of my listeners feel they have a bond with me.



And what's your most embarrassing moment?

There is nothing in my entire career that I can look back on and wish hadn't happened. Leaving Talksport the way I did wasn't an embarrassment or a low point but a changing point. But I do think that people took what I said about Boris in the wrong way. I have always said fairly outrageous things so I don't really understand why this has been such a catalyst. What I will say is that I'm still waiting for Boris to offer me a job. Ken Livingstone had something like 70 media advisors, whereas Boris only needs me. I'm ideal. For the last 30 years I've known what the ordinary man or woman in the street thinks.



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

I try to get them all. While I might have an extreme view that is shared by one newspaper to the left or the right, I like to balance them out.



Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire

To be a regular panellist on Question Time.



What would you do if you didn't work in the media?

I think I'd have quite liked to have been a politician. Nigel Farage of UKIP asked me last week if I'd like to be considered as a prospective parliamentary candidate for them. I said I wasn't interested at the moment but perhaps in the future.



Who in the media do you most admire and why?

I really admire Sir David Frost and his interviewing technique, especially when he did That Was The Week That Was. Nowadays I think political interviewers, like [Jeremy] Paxman, have all become too friendly with politicians. Political interviews on television are like American wrestling shows: they pretend to be all argumentative but actually it is all rehearsed beforehand as politicians are too scared to answer tough questions.

The CV

1970 Joins Topshop Radio.

1974 Heads to Newcastle to work for Metro Radio and host one of the first late-night phone-in shows.



1980 Hosts the BBC Radio Derby breakfast show.



1989 Moves over to TV with The James Whale Radio Show on ITV.



1995 Is hired in the late-night slot at Talksport.



2006 After suffering from cancer he set up the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer.



2007 Publishes his autobiography, Almost a Celebrity: a Lifetime of Night-Time.



2008 Fired from Talksport for breaching Ofcom regulations, but returns to television as a presenter for Bid TV.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

Software Developer / Software Engineer

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: Combining a passion for Softwa...

Lead Software Developer / Senior Software Developer / Technical Architect

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: Lead Software Developer / Seni...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on