Today I woke up with a nervous smile on my face. I was going to BBC Radio Solent’s Southampton studio. It was a last minute decision. I had called my mother the night before to offer to look after the family dog while she was with BBC the next morning. I ended the call having agreed to meet her at 6:30am the following morning to support and write about her campaign to remove interest rates off student loans. As a first year London student, already knee deep in debt, this was an easy decision.
Sipping on a well-needed instant coffee, and munching gratefully on a maternally provided Danish pastry, I did not regret this decision, as I sat in BBC Radio Solent’s foyer at 6:39am. Looking around, it was an impressive building with an array of smart looking wall décor which featured different BBC presenters. The excitement began to kick in as Kane Reeves walked in and introduced himself. As he left, in came a man called Martyn Kennaugh who is doing an Ironman to raise money for charity. The ownership of an interesting story was what brought everyone together in this fruitful and optimistic environment.
Ten minutes later, my mother and I were sat outside the radio studio, having been led through the secure doors by a super friendly woman. We were sat on a chic leather sofa for what felt like no longer than thirty seconds, before the green signal came and we walked into the studio. My mother was well prepared with notes – she had done this before. I was given a second to glance round at the complex looking computer equipment and headphones surrounded by an air of simplicity, before the red light flashed, asserting our status was ON AIR. Julian Clegg introduced the topic of student loans and Suzanne Bamborough provided facts from BBC’s Reality Check. The show had begun. It was exciting. I thought about all of the hard work and thorough research my mother had put into her campaign to get to this very position and proudly sat by as she reiterated the facts I was now overly familiar with. Compound interest. Maintenance loans. Important topics she is passionate about changing.
As soon as the experience had begun, it was finished. I was both relieved to have not coughed or spluttered my way through it, and exhilarated by the whole thing. But it was not over yet. My mother and I were escorted back to the main foyer to wait for her next slot. The lift clicked continuously. Important looking people rushed in and out of the studio. They all looked tired but happy. After a ten minute read, we were back on. I followed my mother into another studio. Did I want to be on this second show too? Well of course, if it helps spread the word. Feeling more relaxed this time, maybe because we were not face to face with the presenter, my mother began once again to explain why student loans are currently illegal according to Equity Laws. Then, once again, as soon as the discussion had begun, it seemed to be over. It was amazing.
As we went back to the car, my mother and I both with a sense of achievement. Listen to the interview on BBC Radio Solent here (36:00-45:30) and on BBC Radio Solent Breakfast in Dorset here (1:37:36-1:45:45).