Nick Ferrari: My Life In Media

'I'd like to see more of the "Fox effect" here - a 24-hour news channel with a political bias'
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The Independent Online

Nick Ferrari, who does not wish to state his age, is the breakfast presenter of LBC 97.3FM. In 2005 he broke the mould with a series of sell-out stage shows, re-enacting his LBC radio show for a live audience. The shows were so popular they will be restaged later this year to coincide with the April launch of his debut book, 'The World According to Nick Ferrari'. In addition to this, he has just been re-signed to LBC on a three-year contract. He lives in Blackheath with his wife and two children.

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

My dad was Lino "Dan" Ferrari, who set up Ferrari's news agency before joining the Daily Mirror. It was never "you've got to do it this way", but I watched All the President's Men and thought it looked purposeful. In reality you end up covering a cake sale.

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

My dad was the night editor and used to deliver all of them to the foot of my bed, so from the age of 11 I was forming views on how I didn't think much of the Express splash.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

If I'm honest they were I Love Lucy and The Epilogue. (I was a bit mixed up as a child.) Plus anything that made me laugh: Fawlty Towers, Monty Python and Starsky and Hutch.

Describe your job

A good breakfast show host will explore the day's issues, tell you which roads are closed and if you'll be caught in pestilence or flood, then send you to work with a smile on your face.

What media do you turn to first thing in the morning?

LBC to hear what Steve Allen's saying about me, Sky News, then GMTV. I read the papers in the back of the Mercedes on the way to work.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

No, that's what producers are for! Seriously, though: Sky News. A lot of what the BBC does is commendable but is also, sometimes, desperately bloody ponderous and boring. I want to how much petrol prices have risen and instead I'm treated to a one-day special from a mud hut in Afghanistan.

What is the best thing about your job?

No heavy lifting.

And the worst?

Our canteen breakfast food is absolutely bloody awful.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

Being paid by LBC to talk about whatever I want to. In my murky past: introducing topless darts in the UK and getting a rottweiler to co-present the news when I was in New York. There had been a spate of savage dog attacks, so we got Satan from Brooklyn to bark along with the main news anchor one day.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

During a radio show celebrating some anniversary for Mrs Thatcher, I had a competition for listeners to do a Thatcher impression . Michael Portillo, who was in the studio reviewing the papers, suddenly broke into an impression which I did not pick up on. I offered him some water and asked him if he was all right.

At home, what do you tune in to?

Again, Sky News. I'd like to see more of the "Fox effect" here - a 24-hour news channel with a political bias. Telly shouldn't be any different to newspapers: if you don't like The Guardian, buy The Telegraph.

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

News of the World and The Mail on Sunday are essential - there's a vague chance you'll find someone you know with their trousers round their ankles. And always The Observer. It's completely different to my political views but on Sundays you want to have to fight with a broadsheet, mentally and physically.

Name one career ambition you want to realise before you retire

I want to do an after-dinner speech on a cruise ship where I'm rude about Prescott, Blunkett and Brown, and get officially censured by the bosses, picking up £12k for the trouble.

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

At school I wanted to be a vet because of my love of animals. (I grew up in a smallholding in Kent with chickens, ponies, dogs and sheep.) But I couldn't spell biology.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

My dad. And then Murdoch - a phenomenal guy to work for. Decisions are made instantly. When you get something wrong it is instantly forgotten, and the enthusiasm when you get something right is great.

The CV

1977: Starts at the Kentish Independent as reporter

1981: Joins the Sunday Mirror as news reporter

1982: Moves to The Sun as a showbiz reporter. Takes over the Bizarre pop column in 1985 and soon after becomes deputy news editor. In 1988 he is appointed editor of the Sunday magazine at the News of the World

1989: Becomes the first editor of Sky News, prior to the station's launch. The following year he becomes vice-president of news and programming at WNYW, Fox TV in New York

1993: Returns to newspapers as assistant editor of the Daily Mirror

1995: Director of programmes for the launch of L!ve TV

1999: Joins Talk Radio (now talkSPORT) as a presenter

2001: Moves to LBC

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