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15 February 2010

Mark Waddington - Media

Mark Waddington - Media

Mark Waddington has had a varied career in the media spanning radio, TV and the internet. He's presented programmes and produced them, promoted them and blogged about them.  He began at BBC Local Radio in Leeds, was a continuity announcer on BBC ONE, directed Songs of Praise and has made award winning TV trailers. 

After a couple of years managing ITV Local Yorkshire he is now running his own media training business.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

In my teens I wanted to be a BBC announcer. I was fascinated by voices and was an avid listener of radio. A friend gave me an old BBC microphone so I built an amplifier and set up a radio station. Every day I'd "broadcast" to some farm buildings at the back of our house in Yorkshire. I had a huge audience of cows and chickens.

How did you get involved in the media?

I was still at school and helping out at BBC Radio Leeds in the 1970s. I turned up for an early shift during the Christmas holidays. The snow was so bad that I was the only person to make it to the studios.  I broadcast for an hour before the team arrived. They were so thrilled that I'd rescued the situation that they gave me a job once I left school.

What programme are you most proud of?

At BBC Broadcast I was responsible for delivering on-air promotional films for BBC NEWS. I'm most proud of that work because actually it wasn't me that made them - it was my team. As the team producer I was able to recruit, train and manage the people I worked with, and in the years I did the job we must have won dozens of awards.  My greatest joy is helping people unlock their ideas and talents.

Who has been the biggest influence in your work?

That's an interesting question.  The person who brought me to the Christian faith was the Reverend John Peat. He made a connection between my talent and my faith and encouraged me to be a broadcaster. He instilled in me the importance of putting people above technology. "Put people first" he would always tell me. He encouraged me to look for stories of hope.

What do you do to relax?

I'm potty about photography. I've bought myself a Canon 5D Mark 2 camera which may not mean much to you but to me it's wonderful. Taking photographs stops you being concerned with the past or the future and roots you in the present moment. It helps you to observe the things around you.

Which scripture influences you in your work?

I've always loved the story of the prodigal son. For me it's a story of hope that whatever mistakes we make there's always a way back and love to be found.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the media?

Be very alert to the opportunities in your present situation and make the most of them.  It's very easy to be thinking about the next step and to miss the here and now.  Start a blog and keep a daily journal.

Tell us a joke...

This is a funny story told in Ken Robinson's wonderful book The Element which I can highly recommend.

A primary school teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew.
She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork.  As she came to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, "I'm drawing God." The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like." Without hesitating, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied: "They will in a minute."