Iain Lee & Katherine Boyle present – How To Do Radio

By 15th December 2014How To Do Radio, News
2 Idiots Telling Important People How To Do Their Jobs

2 Idiots Telling Important People How To Do Their Jobs

I know, I know. It sounds a little arrogant. It’s the title that my producer Katherine and I came up with when we were chosen to give a talk at the Radio Academy in Salford. Seemed like a funny idea at the time. Yeah, let’s call it ‘How To Do Radio’, ha ha, aren’t ¬†we clever?

And then we arrived in Salford. And saw the calibre of people who were there. Heads of local radio, national radio, commercial and BBC, advertisers, students, boffins, geeks, men and women. Suddenly our little ‘joke’ didn’t seem quite so funny.

We battled on and give our little talk, played a few clips and luckily, most people there seemed to get that our tongues were slightly in our cheek.


I’ve been working in and out of radio since about 1998. I think. Maybe 1997. Whenever Robbie Williams and ‘Angels’ was a big hit. I remember, because we played it all the bloody time at Horizon FM103.3. I was pushing for us to play alternative music like (huge number 1 smash) ‘Brimful Of Asha’ by Cornershop, and I was told basically to sod off. Who would want to hear that crap?

Anyway, I finally got into radio proper when my TV work dried up, in I guess 2004. It wasn’t my first choice. I wanted to do telly. For starters it paid WAY more money. And it was telly. Radio was, well, you know, crap. It meant your career was flagging.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

I am so grateful that I was given a job at LBC when it was going through a wonderful bonkers transition phase. With radio legend David Lloyd at the helm, and Scott Solder working with him, LBC 97.3 was, at the time, a fertile playground with no-one quite sure what direction it was supposed to go. I was given pretty much free play in the studio and on the airwaves. And I am so glad. TV now is secondary to me. I can take it or leave it. Radio is my passion and it’s bought me a house and fed my kids. So thanks.

This blog comes from an idea Kath and I had to write a book about our experiences in radio, what we love, what we despise and how we think an industry that is pretty moribund right now needs to grow a pair and start daring again. Well, the book may happen one day, but it is a little niche, to say the least. So, we thought we’d start with a blog. Just to test the water. And also because we do want to share this stuff with you. If even the tiniest nugget of our nonsense changes the way someone presents his show, or inspires a programme controller to take a bit of a risk the next time she hires a turn, or maybe even inspires someone to have a go at doing radio, then that’s great. Hey, even if this doesn’t but you enjoy reading it, then we’ll be happy.

Do please share and post comments. We will read all of them and try and reply where we can.

We are dead excited about this project. I hope you will be too.


Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • Great idea for a blog series, looking forward to reading some tales from both sides of the glass.

    I’ve always loved radio, it’s the most creative medium. I hope there will be some super geeky posts.

    Good luck, I hope this takes off.

  • Jo Russell says:

    Woop! Indeed – growing a pair is needed! Look forward to the blog and the learning. Xx

  • john hurst says:

    I’ve been listening to you Mr Lee since the lbc days even though you have never been available in my area, and I still listen every morning on iPlayer radio and also the WM show at the weekend. I love how different it is to any other show the banter and callers have always been what keeps me listening. I have to say you are a bit nicer than you used to be too…I missed the banter you used to have with Eloise Carr and I didn’t expect the 3counties shows to be so good but Katherine and Kelly perfectly compliment your radio style and I can’t get enough. I realise I’m blowing your trumpet here (even though you don’t have one) but I’m basically saying blog or a book I’d give it a go!!

  • Heather says:

    I am WELL excited by this blog having listened to Iain from LBC days and enjoying what you do now very much indeed.

    Like you I love Danny Baker but my real radio love started with Carol McGiffin and Nick Abbott they were brilliantly bonkers on LBC for a while. But who is new and doing the good mad?

  • Ed Newsome says:

    You are producing the most engaging and funniest radio today so I’m really excited about getting some insight into your craft

  • Ian says:

    Thanks for this blog. I love your BBC 3 Counties show which I listen to through the podcast as I can’t get you on my radio on my commute. I had never thought to listen until recently as local radio always seemed so safe and uninspired. At least for those shows I had come across before. Your show makes me happy like Chris Morris or Danny Baker used to on R1 in the nineties when I had no idea what was coming next.

    I am in a professional training post where one of the expectations will be to work with the media to get important messages out to the public or to answer public concerns. That gives me serious butterflies. My colleague was recently interviewed on a BBC local station where it felt like the presenter wasn’t listening and was concentrating on what he was going to say next. I do get the impression though that you give those you interview a fair go and you are keen on a conversation not just crowbarring in a pre-prepared sparring point. I have been amazed at how unable some of the councillors have been to react to the conversation that you try to have with them when they have just a single line that they are able to revert to like a leaky life raft.

    Thanks again for the wonderful show and hopefully one day I might be swallowing my nerves and readying myself to be interviewed to see if I can talk sensibly to you

    • Iain says:

      Stay tuned…we will have tips for you! There are so many obvious mistakes made by councillors and people in public positions when they speak to the media. First tip – never start by saying ‘Well, first of all, may I just start by saying thanks for allowing me the opportunity to come on your show and address this issue…’ it smacks of media training and disinterest!
      More tips to follow…

  • Rebecca says:

    I’ve followed you since LBC. Love love love your radio presenting style, your personality, your humour. I download the 3CR podcast (please make it longer!) and really LOVE the WM show which I listen to on iPlayer. Those folks up in the WM who call you are rather awesome, aren’t they?
    Anyway. I’d give anything you did a try. And Katherine is a smart chick, isn’t she? She makes me smile.
    You deserve gigantic amounts of success Iain, for plugging solidly away, for never giving up, for loving your children so well.
    I really am a huge fan. Wishing you all good fortune with the blog/book. xx

    • Iain says:


      Thanks for this. I’m really pleased you like the shows. I’m so lucky I get to work with such talented people as Katherine, she is 50% of the show and the 3CR show wouldn’t be anything like it is without her.

  • Philip says:

    The book is a great idea and the blog will certainly do for starters. Thanks for keeping me thoroughly entertained for the past almost 8 years, most of which have spent outside the UK. I caught a few of the LBC shows when living in London but it was through moving to Singapore and the advent of the podcast that I discovered Shindiggery in 2007. From then I have followed the ups & downs from Virgin/Absolute and now BBC3CR. I love the medium of radio and how creative it can be. I know it’s an act but I still fall for it sometimes – Kath and the PSH scandal being a great example. I now live in New York and the weekly 3CR podcast makes my Monday morning bus ride amongst neurotic native New Yorkers that more tolerable.

  • Paul says:

    I went to the Three Counties area once. Milton Keynes Bowl, 1990 to see a concert.
    Haven’t been anywhere near in the 24 years since. The place means absolutely nothing to me. I live over 100 miles away.
    Yet I have tuned into the local breakfast show for the area every morning for the past 2 years.
    Keep on pwning the radio. x

  • Kyle says:


    This is an interesting and informative blog, gutted I missed your gigs in Camden earlier in the month, and also heartbroken that I noticed that Cadburys snowman looked like a winkle back in November and didn’t think to send you a pic! Doh! Merry Christmas and all that!


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