29 February 2012
From the Heart (FM)
On Sunday mornings you can find him leading worship at his local church, but on week nights you’ll find him broadcasting to millions as the host of the UK’s number one late-night music show – The Late Show on Heart. Here, he tells us about his career and his faith…
Simon Beale has worked in the radio industry for more than 20 years. The Late Show on Heart is broadcast Sunday to Thursday nights (10pm – 1am) and The LBC Travel Show, which he presents with travel expert Simon Calder, goes out on Sunday evenings (7pm – 9pm) on London’s LBC 97.3. He is also a regular voiceover artist for Sky1, the Discovery Channel, the BBC, Argos, Universal and Ministry of Sound.
idea: How did you get into the world of DJ-ing?
Like many presenters, I started in hospital radio on a voluntary basis while still at school. On Friday evenings, I’d go round the wards of my local hospital in Dartford, collecting song requests and helping out at the studio, hoping one day they would give me my own show. They eventually did.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I’ve always been interested in the media. I either wanted to be a radio presenter or a TV cameraman. I used to turn my bedroom into a pretend studio, record jingles off the radio and present programmes to an audience of one – me. I stupidly gave myself the Breakfast Show which meant getting up at 6am.
What are your top three favourite songs of all time?
I’ve always found this an impossible question to answer as I’ve got a wide taste in music. But artists I enjoy listening to include U2, Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, Brand New Heavies, Sting, Deacon Blue, Jamie Cullum and James Morrison.
Tell us about your Christian faith.
I became a Christian when I was seven after a week-long children’s event during the holidays. Although I was still very young, I had an absolute certainty that I didn’t want to live my life without God – a decision I’ve never regretted. I can’t imagine life without Him. I’m so grateful that we’re not left to battle through day to day by ourselves, but His promise is that He’ll never leave us or forsake us. His love and grace amaze me.
Tell us a bit about your family.
I’m married to Esther – this year we’ll be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. We have three children – Tom, 11, Naomi, 9, and Isaac, 6. All of them have made commitments to God which, as a parent, is one of the most exciting things to experience. We’re all members of our local Newfrontiers church, where I regularly lead worship and we both lead a mid-week Life Group together.
Does your faith impact your work?
The world of radio and media can be an insecure, cut-throat business as your success is dependent on listening figures and in a marketplace like London, it’s incredibly competitive. Also, because it’s essentially your personality that’s under scrutiny, you have to be able to handle criticism well and not take it too personally. Having a thick skin at times is essential! Knowing I have God watching over me, who has plans and
purposes for my life makes a huge difference. Yes, it doesn’t mean everything goes my way, but I do know God will provide my every need and my security is in Him.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Working on stations like Heart and LBC 97.3 is a huge privilege. Heart isn’t just one of the biggest stations in London, but it’s part of a large UK network of stations and my Late Show goes out on all of them. LBC was the very first commercial station in this country and a station I’ve listened to for years – so to be part of their presenting team is very exciting. Both stations are broadcast from Global Radio’s impressive Leicester Square HQ, a building I’d always wanted to work in. Lots of good things!
… and the worst?
Getting to bed at 3am!