Sarah Sands: The camera does lie, but not the radio

If you really want to know what's what, tune in

Related Topics

Tomorrow evening, the stars of radio will gather at a fancy London hotel for the industry Sony awards. This is not exactly Anna Wintour's Met Ball. The press photographers would find it hard to differentiate between the ungroomed and bespectacled, and no newspaper wants photographs of celebrities where you need captions for identification. Radio's invisibility is its greatest asset.

I listened to a new Radio 4 programme last week called Devil's Advocate, which featured the sexually disgraced former Blue Peter television presenter John Leslie. He was ruined by fame. It never would have happened to him if he had chosen radio.

Have you noticed how children behave when a camera is pointed at them? All the spontaneity and charm vanishes in a second. Try getting the attention of an attractive young woman or man when they pass a mirror or their shop-window reflection. It is equally corrupting to put a seasoned journalist on television.

A television crew member once told me that presenters leave the studio as sexually frisky as footballers. The camera acts as an aphrodisiac. Doesn't that sound faintly unhinged? Imagine all those TV narcissists jiggling about like atoms in the green room.

What sort of orgy followed the marathon television election night coverage?

It is impossible to imagine whipping off your clothes at the end of the World at One. Everything about radio is so sane and intelligent and orderly. All the preening and fuss of television is absent. This means you can get so much more done.

I was on a schools career panel not long ago with a recognisable television journalist and a young researcher from the BBC World Service. The questions were mostly directed at the television man, but he modestly deflected them. He said that once he had settled into a television studio, he had stopped being a journalist and entered a form of entertainment. If you want to find out about the world, for God's sake go into radio. You can travel light and people respond to a radio microphone in a far more intimate and easy manner than to a television camera.

The radio is far less intrusive than television. It allows you to continue your daily tasks, rather than stopping you in your tracks. It is companionable and life-enhancing rather than confrontational. I eat supper to Front Row and wake up to Farming Today.

Television is like too much chocolate tart, and you can tire of it. I have never ever felt sated by Eddie Mair or Martha Kearney or Paddy O'Connell. Because it is a less diva-ish medium than television, it is quicker witted, better mannered and less bureaucratic. New programmes are unleashed without fear or focus groups. Favourites are quickly established. I am a recent convert to Radio 3's Night Waves, presented by, among others, Anne McElvoy.

I know that I have a partial view of radio, which is limited to Radios 3 and 4 and the World Service. But my teenage daughter has developed the same deep loyalty to Radio 1's Chris Moyles. I realised she had been perpetrating voter fraud, making multiple applications for tickets, only when I received an unexpected email: "To Sarah Sands: We are very sorry to say that unfortunately you have not been allocated tickets for BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend this year."

I believe that character is more likely to be found in the voice than in the face and that it is much harder to deceive on radio. If we had all listened to the political debates on radio, rather than been dazzled by, for the most part, watching them on television, we might have been more clear-minded about who we really wanted to run the country.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Clean energy should be our mission to the moon

Martin Rees
Angela Merkel and David Cameron say goodbye in the Bundeskanzleramt after their meeting in Berlin, Germany, 29 May 2015  

The complacency of Europhiles could lose them the referendum

Steve Richards
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral