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Presenting a national radio breakfast show is a big deal. We caught up with Gaydio’s Jessie Brooke for the inside track.

Rob Harkavy: Welcome Jessie! Can you tell our readers what you do?

Jessie Brooke: I co-host the breakfast show with Matt Crabb. It’s six months since I started and it’s going really well. I speak to all sorts of different artists, and get to travel the world!

RH: How did you get the job?

JB: I’ve been in radio for about 12 years, mainly presenting. I lived in Spain for a long time, working in radio, and one day thought to myself, why don’t I start by own station? So I did. It was called Fresh Radio. After ten years, I thought it was time to head back to the UK to see if I could make a go of things over here.

Then, one day, a job application for Gaydio popped up on my screen, so I sent off my CV and a demo. It was a really long process – several months – then one day I got the phone call to say I’d got the job.

RH: Is each show as spontaneous and off-the-cuff as it sounds, or is there a lot of preparation?

JB: Over the weekend and at the top of the week we gather all sorts of information. Then, we arrive at Gaydio HQ for 6am, frantically put our heads together and then go live at 7am. But then nine times out of ten something happens, perhaps a breaking LGBT news story, that we have to cover, so things often veer off at a tangent.

RH: So, tell us about some ghastly on-air blunders.

JB: I’m not sure about blunders. We’re very professional. That said, we do get messages from our listeners, and Gaydio listeners can be very cheeky. One day a message came in which I didn’t pre-read, and it was about Emma Goswell who hosts the 4 o’clock show. So, I read it out live without checking first.

Jessie Brooke. Angelic.

RH: What did it say?

JB: It said ‘Jessie Brooke and Emma Goswell should have a lez off’.

RH: And did you?

JB: Did I what?

RH: Have a lez off.

JB: NO! But Matt, my co-host, was actually choking, and had to press play on the next track. Neither of us could speak.

RH: Aside from print, radio is the oldest form of mass communication that we have. But even in this age of blogging, social media and multi-channel TV, it’s never been more popular. Why do you think that is?

JB: I think radio has a personal touch which other media don’t, and the format allows us to be really creative when it comes to engaging with our audience. It’s much easier to build that audience relationship on radio than anywhere else, and it’s difficult for other media, including TV, to replicate that.

RH: You have a wonderful job. What advice would you give to young people looking for a career in radio?

JB: Well, I started singing, dancing and acting when I was two, and had my first West End show when I was six, playing the part of Molly in the musical Annie. It’s a tough industry, and you need to be prepared to work hard and never give up. You’re told NO time and again, so it’s important to learn how to take rejection and not let it get you down. It took me until the age of 35 to get my dream job hosting the breakfast show on Gaydio, so I’m living proof that perseverance works.


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Rob Harkavy

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