My Mentor: Phil Riley on Paul Brown

'He used some of his old army techniques, but bellowing at me in the car park was a bit harsh'
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The Independent Online

In 1980 as a graduate trainee at BRMB I was under the tutelage of Paul Brown, who looked then, as he does today, a distinguished man of military bearing. He had spent much of his time in the Army working for BFBS, and he brought to my training regime many of the disciplines he had himself been exposed to - although I always felt taking me out to the car park and bellowing at me was a bit harsh.

In 1980 as a graduate trainee at BRMB I was under the tutelage of Paul Brown, who looked then, as he does today, a distinguished man of military bearing. He had spent much of his time in the Army working for BFBS, and he brought to my training regime many of the disciplines he had himself been exposed to - although I always felt taking me out to the car park and bellowing at me was a bit harsh.

Under his direction I did all of the classic grunt work expected of new starters in radio: the 4am shifts writing the traffic and travel news for breakfast; reclaiming old tape by taking the leaders out (younger readers will have no idea what I'm talking about!), and, of course, the classic bulk cart erasing duties, which were performed close to a very large magnet. I was unsure for many years afterwards whether or not I'd be able to have children.

Chores apart, I really did get the classic radio programmes education: how to interview, edit and write for radio, use your judgement to compile news bulletins and, most importantly, how to introduce music and speak properly into a microphone.

Paul himself used to do the BRMB chart show, and the sight of him in the studio spinning the latest Chic release, pipe firmly clenched between his teeth, has been an inspiration to me ever since. We once went away to a training studio to run our own station for the week, and Paul had the brilliant idea of bringing Tim Blackmore along to help the training process. Tim had just left Capital where he'd been programme controller to such legends as Kenny Everett and Roger Scott.

It was a fantastic education in how to run effective programmes, communicate with people and keep your nerve, even when managers are grilling you over your clearly incompetent editorial decisions.

Phil Riley is chief executive of Chrysalis Radio

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