The Life of Riley blog

I’m going to start blogging regularly on this site about health/fitness/lifestyle/life-expectancy stories that appear in the news each week.

I thought I’d start the blog though by just commenting on the whirlwind first few days of the publicity tour for the book.

This started with Radio 2s Jeremy Vine, on Monday lunchtime (you can hear all of the interviews again by going to the publicity page on the site, or by listening here).

Jeremy is undoubtedly one of the UKs top radio talents, and effortlessly combines the twin arts of being an upbeat engaging music radio personality with the inquisitorial capabilities of the best BBC journalists. He’s also a lovely bloke and an old friend from our being able to spot each other over everyone else’s heads at industry drinks parties! I’d sent him an early draft of the book in January, just to ask him if he’d give me a quote for the front cover, as it was a book inspired by the passing of radio folk, and he’s one of the most famous of our tribe operating today. He did more than just give me a quote however, expressing keen interest, and said he’d try to persuade his producers it was a story worth covering. As good as his word, I turned up at Western House, home of R2, on Monday. as a quick name drop both Whispering Bob Harris and Steve Wright were around, and Jo Brand popped in to the green room whilst I was waiting to go on.

I was on just after the 1pm news, and given I am a broadcaster myself, of over 30 years, the next 20 minutes went in an absolute whirl. I’ve never experienced the sensation of being on the other end of the interview microphone before on a live broadcast and it felt as though it was over before it had begun. The callers were great – very supportive – and Jeremy himself couldn’t have been kinder to me, or better informed himself.

What a start.

Then it was off to Share radio, a new, innovative station serving those interested in finance and business. This was a great counter-point to R2 – more relaxed, and slightly deeper as an interview with Simon Rose, where I discussed my business background alongside the book, and reflected on the business lessons I had incorporated into the structure of “The Life of Riley”.

Back into the West End to see the doyen of evening radio hosts, Clive Bull, at LBC. The new Global studios in Leicester Square are fantastic – a testament to the investment Ashley, Stephen, Richard and the rest of the team there are making to our industry. Clive was great. This was a pre-record which he thought would go out later in the week. As it happens it went out on Monday night at 8.45, whilst I was out at dinner, so my big chance to hear myself “live” on 97.3 FM in London came and went with me blissfully unaware! Clive has promised to follow my five secret habits – I’ve said I’ll keep a check on his progress.

Tuesday morning and I was off to TalkRADIO, TalkSPORTs sister station, again a new DAB only service. Paul Ross was the host, and gave up a generous amount of his time between 7 and 8 to discuss stories in the papers. There were at least 3 which directly tied into the things I discuss in the book – which is typical, as every day new health, fitness and lifestyle stories appear. Everyone is interested in health and lifestyle – it’s just a pity so many people don’t know how to simply improve their own.

Wednesday saw me in Oxford with an old mate, Nick Piercey, who hosts the afternoon show on BBC Radio Oxford. Nick and I discussed radio, football, my love of Bruce Springsteen, and of course health and lifestyle. Although it was at times more about me than the book, I hope the combination of my tall stories and Nick’s natural on-air charm came over well to his listeners.

I did a great little phone chat with Mike Parr at BBC Tees this morning. I suspect the book is getting some radio traction because a lot of the presenters and producers are like Mike – in the perfect target market for me – in their 40s and 50s and drinking a bit too much and carrying too much around the middle. Mike has promised to follow the plan – so I’ll be checking up on him as well as Clive.

Finally to Phil Upton at CWR in Coventry, who did a great in-depth piece with me which will form a one-hour special between 3pm-4pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

I have some more radio to do on Monday in Nottingham, and on Tuesday I’m hoping to be standing in front of a giant electronic poster in Birmingham plugging the book. Pictures to follow I hope, on what will I’m sure become a regular blog.