Wednesday, 24 December 2014

BLOG ALERT Here Comes #Santa

or how to create truly great radio at Christmas.  Some years ago we decided to do the -  'A chance for your child to speak to Santa.'  I know that a lot of radio stations have done this and continue to do it.  But we wanted the LBC version to be something special.

One of our Editorial Directors at the time was Big Keith Belcher, a perfect choice he was/is a genuine kind man with a warm voice and big heart.  So he was our choice for Santa.  Now the sneaky bit we got the parents to call in advance and tell us things about their children - like what they wanted for Christmas, what they had been doing in the year, the names of their fellow siblings etc.

On the day we decided that Santa should be sitting in his own studio so that the presenter - Simon Bates could not physically see him.  We also put together an elaborate fake satellite link to the north pole, that did not work first time - we had a bit of 1k tone and one of those automated voices that said 'permanent music wire to north pole.'

Simon played it beautifully he hammed up the lost link to north pole, Keith as Santa was saying things like 'I can't hear you.' and you could hear him talk to his elves in the background to fix the problem.

Then came the moment when the children called in, Keith was totally awesome and was quite a strict moral Santa, and of course knew all about the child calling.  So when he said - "Peter now why did you make your sister Chloe cry last week." the child was totally in awe of the fact he knew about their lives.

It was one of the best bits of radio that I have ever been involved with, it took a lot of work putting it together.  All the background info for the children had to be collated and scripted  (Victoria Braverman well done) but it was worth it for some truly brilliant radio. The recording, as far as I know, does not exist and yes I have checked the digital archive - it's not there either :(



Iain Dale said...

Oh, I'd have so loved to have done this on Drive. Next year Chris???

Jonnie said...

I remember that well! Whatever happened to all the creative and inventive minds? - A little on the lines of a certain presenter broadcasting from the tube - ultimately involving the police and the IBA - as I recall ;-)