My Life In Media: Manish Bhasin

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The Independent Online

Manish Bhasin is the presenter of BBC One's 'Football Focus', a programme he originally joined as a reporter in early 2004. Prior to this Manish worked on ITV's Central News programme. His career in broadcasting began when he spent five years at BBC Radio Leicester, the highlight of which was reporting from Leicester Tigers' last minute victory in the 2001 Rugby European Cup final against Stade Francais in Paris.

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

I think I really first decided when I was shown around the newsroom and studios of BBC Radio Leicester as a 15-year-old. It seemed a more exciting place than anywhere else I could think of working. In fact, there wasn't anywhere else I could think of working.

What figure in the media did you most admire when you were growing up?

Whoever it was that was reading the shipping forecast on Radio 4. I always had great admiration for that man. How did he ever stay awake reading that? Absolute professionalism.

What publication did you first become a proper fan of?

As sad as it is, the Leicester City match-day programme was the closest I got to being a real fan of a magazine, especially when I was younger.

Can you remember watching or listening to a programme or reading a magazine that changed the way you think about things?

Without wanting to sound too serious, I clearly remember watching a short film at school on the dangers of nuclear weapons and feeling pretty traumatised for ages afterwards.

What were your favourite TV programmes growing up?

Well, I was a football child, so it was little else but Match of the Day and Saint & Greavsie. Oh, and Tiswas. All three, every Saturday.

And your favourite radio programmes?

Sports Report on Radio 2. I'd listen to it as often as I could.

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

I always go straight to BBC Radio 5 Live, mainly for the sports news and the day's sporting agenda.

Which media sources do you consult during the working day?

I buy a newspaper or two on my way into work, normally a tabloid and a broadsheet. In the office I use the internet throughout the day, with a certain 24-hour rolling sports news service in the background.

What is the best thing about your job?

Well, like any young lad I always wanted to be a professional footballer. That didn't happen, so by far the best thing about my job is being able to use football as an excuse to earn a living.

And the worst?

Using football as an excuse to watch Leicester lose.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

The best moment so far has to be when I was asked to present Football Focus.

And your most embarrassing moment?

Using an interesting adjective on my first live commentary game on local radio, which was dangerously close to an expletive - and then having to persuade everyone that I didn't swear on air even though I actually hadn't! I won't repeat what it sounded like here.

Do you have a favourite newspaper and magazine?

I haven't got a favourite newspaper as such, but The Observer Sport Monthly is my favourite magazine.

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

Working on the FA Cup final when Leicester City finally win it.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

I'd probably still be job hunting.

Who in the media today do you most admire and why?

I'd say those thousands of people who work behind the camera for little or no credit every day of every week.


1998: Begins working as a sports reporter for BBC Radio Leicester, a place he first visited as a schoolboy.

2002: Employed as a sports reporter and presenter for ITV's Central News programme.

2003: Nominated for Regional Sports Presenter or Commentator of the Year at the Royal Television Society Sport Awards

2002: Co-presents ITVs league football show, Soccer Sunday.

2004: Moves to the BBC to become a reporter for Saturday afternoon's Football Focus.

Aug 2004: Becomes the main host of BBC Sport's Football Focus.