FGM Special on LBC

I almost thought this would never be finished. I started researching what FGM was in early 2015. For those who don’t know FGM stands for Female Genital Mutilation. It’s a horrific practice where girls, sometimes even babies, have their outer genitalia cut off and sewn up under the guise of a ‘cultural practice’.

There’s no way I want to pretend I’ve played a big role in getting this subject out of the shadows and talked about more so it can be stopped, but during my 19 months of work so many people hadn’t heard of it so it’s definitely something we need to talk about more.
My final report that went to air on LBC was three minutes long and led into interviews with politicians about what’s being done to get the UK’s first conviction.

But to pretend there was only enough material for a three minute package would be a lie. I’ve made a ten minute documentary which still only scratches the surface on such an important human rights and equality issue.

So here it is.

Here’s how it sounded at 7:50am during Nick Ferrari’s LBC breakfast show on Thursday 15th September.

This is how it was broadcast during Shelagh Fogarty’s show at 2:30pm later that day.

I couldn’t say I’m finished, because girls are still being cut and still no one’s been brought to justice for mutilating girls in the UK, but I am glad I’ve finally been able to share the work I’ve been rattling on about.

Thank you to:

Hibo Wardere – FGM Campaigner. Hoda Ali – FGM Campaigner. Layla Ismail – Forward UK. Lisa Zimmerman, Muna Hassan and everyone at Integrate Bristol. DCI Leanne Pook – Avon and Somerset Police. Baroness Northover – Spokesperson for International Development. MP Jane Ellison – FGM Campaigner. Dr Lynne Brydon – University of Birmingham.. Dr Dina Bisson – North Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Katrina Darke – The Rose Clinic. Professor Deborough Salmon – UWE. Sadya Ali – Forward UK. Mohammed El Sharif – Bristol Public Health. Claire Banks, and the school girls from St Werburghs Primary School. NSPCC. Dr Sohier Elneil and Dr Lata Gamble – UCL. Felicity Gerry QC. Zimran Samuel QC. Dr Rosa Freedman – Birmingham Law School.

So you want to be a radio reporter?


Chances are you’ve found this blog because you’re somebody who wants to go into journalism or radio or something in between.

So in that case hopefully this video will be useful for you. On the other hand you’re someone who knows me and wants to have a nosy you might think jeez what an ego trip sharing this interview.

Caroline Scott at Journalism.co.uk approached me to do an interview about what it takes to be a radio reporter. I wouldn’t take every word I say as gospel but hopefully you’ll get an insight into my every day workings.

Full video:


British observations of Berlin

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So this American chap did this and it was rather popular.

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So feeling inspired by Scott Waters observations on life in England, I wrote this notes on my phone during my last day in Berlin.

Now to wait and see if this goes viral in Germany… maybe not.

  • Currywurst tastes different across the city –  I think I prefer skinless because it makes it a bit crunchier.
  • I don’t like beers but I can drink a fair amount of beer when I am on a beer and currywurst tour.
  • The Original Berlin Food Tour was the best thing I did all week.
  • I do not like grog.
  • Shopping centres are so globalised. I was sitting in Starbucks, swiping free wi-fi, listening to Wolf Alice, drinking tea, and looking out at all the brands I could buy from in the UK.
  • I was shown a brilliant pub – called The PUB – completely obsessed with pugs. I even got a postcard to bring back.
  • I like that street art’s a big deal here too.
  • Little Lucy is my new favourite street art character. Basically Itchy and Scratchy cartoon violence in the form of a girl who likes to kill her cat in various ways.
  • I did not plan for how cold it was – the scarf I bought is basically a picnic blanket.
  • Wear good trainers, you’ll be walking in them a lot.
  • I could live here and probably never have to speak a word of German… Though I would hate to be that person.
  • I prefer the U Bahn and S Bahn to the tube. There’s no ticket barriers, I think travel is cheaper, and I’m told some people even choose not to pay at all and risk the fine every 2 weeks or whenever they’re caught out.
  • The inspectors dress like everyday scruffy people so you don’t see them coming till they’re asking to see your ticket.
  • It feels cleaner than the tube and it’s overground more often so I didn’t get dirty nostrils.
  • (Enough about trains)
  • Bristol has Shaun the Sheep and Gromits… Berlin had Buddy Bears everywhere.
  • I wish I like desserts more… People here can eat so much cake.
  • Brunch is a big deal.
  • Traditional Breakfasts here are much healthier than British fry ups. But I think I prefer fry ups – who wants a salad for breakfast?
  • Spotted their Scientology Church… kept on walking.
  • You can smoke in pubs still… If it’s small and not serving food.
  • You can walk around the city after dark doesn’t feel dangerous.

Videos For Radio

“Would you mind if I also film a couple bits with you?”

“Oh… I thought you did interviews for radio…?”

A typical response from people who find it odd that the reporter from Heart says she not only wants to interview you but also get you to say a few words for people on Twitter to watch and click on.

Video’s now being expected in all radio newsrooms and just taking a couple pics for the website or news twitter account isn’t enough. Luckily for me I’ve had a good training in how to use a camera and edit a decent package, so going out to film as well as do all the usual radio bits isn’t too much of shock to the system.

But, something new I’m having to get used to is filming almost everything from a device that I can fit in my backpacker instead of lugging around a hefty camera and tripod.  

Shaun the Sheep Bristol Trail Challenge

What’s Giving Blood Like?

Twitter Video 

Also couple of examples of more instant video stuff that goes straight to Twitter.

London reporting for LBC and Global Radio national brands.

View from Global Radio HQ

View from Global Radio HQ

Last week I took on the scary role of afternoon reporter for London’s newsroom.

All I could think of while packing for the three days in the big smoke was how I likely was it that I could mess up reporting for our national brands, or live on LBC while trying to make a good impression with the big bosses

I’d pestered a few journos around the group to try prepare what was waiting for me at Leicester Square – which was just as useful for practical advice like getting in the building as other newsy tips. Here in Bristol’s newsroom, and I expect the other regionals, you’re obviously reporting on things as they happen but because Wiltshire for instance doesn’t always have an exciting story every single day I’m forward planning as much as I am reacting to what’s going on in the South West. And that was the big difference between the two newsrooms. My hours for the three days all started at ten but on both Tuesday and Wednesday it took until 2pm before anything interesting started happening – and up until then I felt a bit useless. I’m not used to just sitting still at a desk for that long so it was a relief when things did start to kick it up a gear. I may have regretted thinking that when Wednesday – my last day – didn’t have me leaving London until 11pm because of this fire in Holborn.

I’ve pulled out two clips from the work I did to basically show what were my two main reporting roles.

Lives into programmes…

And ‘almost’ lives into bulletins…

Hopefully I’ll be invited back to do it again at some point but for now… finishing shifts nearer to dinner time suits me pretty nicely.

My first (published) LBC report

This isn’t the first time I reported for LBC. No, the first time I reported there was some technical difficulties which led to Nick Ferrari making a comment about a flag pole falling on my head.

I’ve been waiting to find something I would want people to associate with my work so why not the time I was invited inside one of Britian’s most secretive spy agencies –  GCHQ.

Sadly it’s not a story about phone tapping but one about a giant poppy inside the Cheltenham donut building.

Here’s the package
[mixcloud http://www.mixcloud.com/charlottegay/gchq-poppy-appeal-report-on-lbc/ width=660 height=208 hide_cover=1 hide_tracklist=1]

And here’s what it looked like:

Three Months At Heart

Bristol Balloon Fiesta

So a quarter of the year has passed since I started working at Heart. Phew those three months didn’t feel that long.

I realised this bank holiday weekend I’d spent far too much time flicking through different mixclouds, soundclouds and blogs to not prompt myself to do a bit of a recap on how things were going.

On Friday I presented and produced my first Nightly News programme for Heart Cornwall which was exciting but stressful. I accidently missed lunch during my shift because I wanted to make sure the programme all came together ok while doing bulletins every half hour.

I reckon it’s pretty decent for a first attempt. Admittedly I had some help with pre-planned packages and there are some things I would have liked to have tidied up in editing had it not been for me cutting it so fine.

As part of my roundup I’ve stitched together my best reporting bits from June to August, so these are the more substantial stories that have been made into packages rather than just cut twice for the bulletins.


New job. A ‘real’ one.

Global_heart header

Wow. I am about to start an actual real* job.

As of the beginning of June I will be a broadcast journalist for Heart’s Bristol newsroom hub! This means I’ll be mostly driving around Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall –  only now I’ll be in a company car which means pulling into a fuel station would not teeter me into a spiral of depression with the price of fuel.

I’m fortunate enough to have a few friends knocking about in Bristol, and now with my home and family included in the patch, it should be a much more steady place to bed down and actually get to properly get to know the area I am reporting on properly.

It’s looking like I will be mainly be doing the reporter role, getting me out and about a lot, but also room for shift switching doing some bulletin reading, plus something I am particularly excited about… Heart Cornwall’s new evening news programme. I will hopefully explain more of this in due course.

This all said I am going to miss living in Bournemouth, the friends who will still be here, and some of the places I have worked. The last four years have been spent living on the gorgeous south coast but I’m not down for settling just yet so this time was always going to come.

For now I am doing my last freelance shifts, and saying my goodbyes – but don’t worry I’m going to be back for BU’s  Summer Ball!


*Full time. I say real because the amount of times people would look at me like I was living on the dole when I told them I was a freelancer was getting tiring.

Treading Lightly into the Voice-Over World

voice over gravy for the brain mango pie media

I’m someone who likes to use their voice. This might be an obvious statement  with the radio work that I do, but voice-over work has only ever been on the edge of things I’ve been involved with.

So when I saw Gravy for the Brain were offering a discount on Groupon for their Beginners Voice-Over Course, it seemed silly not to take the opportunity to get started especially as it tickled my frugal nature.

The course itself was a good foothold on getting the basics down yet I am glad I didn’t pay the full amount as my radio work meant I already had a lot of groundwork covered.

For me, the best bits of this course were the warming up breathing techniques, the PAAD character development rule, and sadly the hydration advice – which means I should drink much less milky tea!

I’ve officially finished the course – with a shiny certificate to prove it!

gravy for the brain certificate


The resources with the course should prove useful, especially the sample contracts as today I went to Mango Pie Media to record my first voice-over showreel.

When I got into the recording booth, I suddenly started to worry that I would slip back into my newsy mode. I knew I could do it but if you’re used to presenting radio shows with only bulletin points, when I read from scripts it’s nearly always for a news bulletin. It’s a habit I needed to work out.

Fortunately, when working with Tristan at Mango-Pie Media, he made it very easy for me to get better with each new take, finding ways to make me turn from newsreader to commercial radio/tv voice-over lady.

It’s ad-hoc work, so no guarantee I’ll be shouting about my first radio advert in the next couple weeks but fingers crossed I’ll be treading lightly into the world of voice-over.


Freelancing: feast versus famine.

freelance blog post

It’s coming up to roughly a year since I started freelancing as a radio person* and I have truly discovered what people mean when they describe it as feast or famine. Fortunately when I started I was still studying so money wasn’t so much an issue, but soon after moving into a new flat and for once being truly self-sustaining I did have a panic that I wasn’t going to earn enough and started working some part-time jobs in waiting and bar work just to top up the rent money. Summer suddenly became quite manic, it slowed down a lot again around Christmas, but throughout February I have been working double shifts.

I wanted to write a quick post about how I both love and hate freelancing at the same time. On the one hand it’s great, I get to work with a variety of stations, and do so many different things each day and I can never complain of getting bored or finding myself typecast to one role when I am still working out what I am best at. However, I would love to be able to feel a lot more secure in what work I am doing, when I am next getting paid and when my car decides to breakdown at 5am on a dual carriageway on my way to work I know that I’m not going to look unreliable.

What really spurred this blog post though is the fact that today I got my first pass to Radio Solent, and I am starting to work on a lot more of their programmes – so I feel like I am making progress. Unfortunately now I just have to be able to control my habit of saying yes to everything to make sure, like my car, I don’t conk out at 5am on the roadside.

*Mainly as a broadcast journalist, but now as a voice coach, broadcast assistant, and social media manager.

Freelance roster

Who I am working with LEFT TO RIGHT: Bournemouth University, voice coach; Wessex FM, broadcast journalist; Jack FM, broadcast journalist; Hot Radio, presenter and broadcast journalist; Approved Family Friendly, social media manager, BBC Radio Solent, broadcast assistant; Fire Radio, broadcast journalist; Spire FM, broadcast journalist; and The Breeze, broadcast journalist.