We are two women, BBC radio presenters, who have just won the Bronze award in the Best Entertainment category at the UK Radio Academy Awards. We were the only women duo in the Radio Academy Awards, and the only female nominees in our category. We present, produce, write and edit the show, and get all our own guests.
We have been in the industry for only five years, having had careers elsewhere first, and, as women of a certain age, we are entering the industry at a time when a lot of women our age in the UK are leaving. The show has been in its current format for two years.
One of the purposes of our show is for women to feel included... not put in Room 101 by society as we put it... and to feel less isolated and more powerful. Of course men are welcome too; as what we want to do is to make people feel happier, by doing a happy show.
Our backgrounds help us a lot with the show -- psychotherapy, IT and music. With the understanding of psychotherapy we realized that you could only get to a certain amount of people in a consulting room.... and as the whole purpose of therapy in our opinion is to end up feeling understood, heard and happier.....we realised that with the opportunity of the radio show, and the freedom that was allowed us to write, design, produce and present our own show, it gave us the chance to create a world where we hope listeners are all invited to be part of something that represents who they are.....to join our gang.
So the invitation is for the audience to join in with us.... to be moved by someone's story.....to laugh at the outrageous cheek of the things Livvy says to Chrissie and vice versa....to learn how to cook like a Michelin chef.....to dance to some great music (in their chairs if they can't get up)....to hear from women just like them.
Recently Camilla Batmanghelijdh, founder of Kids Company and one of Woman's Hours top 100 powerful women, came on and shared her story of how she copes with very difficult children by telling them that if they can continue to love their parental abusers, then she can love them through the chair throwing. Very moving...but then it moves on to much laughter as we hear how Camilla makes her outrageous fantastically coloured clothes from curtains and the kids think she is a Genie from Aladdin. We are woman of a certain age which has made us unafraid to be with the very painful but then also to find the positive in any story. We think in all supposed adversity there is something we can learn from and become stronger as people
Music is big on the show ....upbeat, warm music that makes us feel good, because we have this idea if we find it funny, uplifting and inspiring, then hopefully our listeners will too.
We want to give people a bit of a rest from the stresses and strains of life; people need a break and a laugh so they can get through difficult times. We want the show to make people feel a bit better about things.
We try to create a place where people can feel they are not alone - or invisible if they are women of a certain age. Isolation and loneliness is a new epidemic....we hope we can reach out to our our audience and allow them to feel included and stronger.........as moving out of loneliness and connecting with others is a brave move, on the way to feeling strong and confidant....let alone sexy and sassy.
Talking of sassy and sexy, we always promote the idea that you're never too old to change career, have fun, go for a dream or just be a bit less invisible in some way. There is so much untapped wisdom, humour, sexiness and general outrageousness in women of a certain age, and we want to harness it and let it out into the world!
Prior to going on air we always check each other out....we stop for 5 minutes and ask each other "how's your energy?"......"are you happy?"......" if not what's up?". As we are going to do a happy show we need to feel happy. Working so closely together we pick up very fast if the other is not on a good track so clearing the air is vital, and we always end up having a laugh before going on air.....we are just honest with each other. The chemistry between us is an important part of the show and so we have to make sure we are in synch.
We choose to work collaboratively and not in competition with each other. We've learnt that feeling competitive with the other is a positive signal....to understand something......it could be appreciating the others skill and recognising your own limitations it could be the need to be braver and learn a skill that from the other. Being confidant is about accepting your weaknesses and competition is a useful feeling to move us on to the next step.....whatever it is.
We are pretty often terrified. We are new to the media world and often out of our depth about the industry, but we breathe a lot and trust that we can just ask 'how' and 'why' to people on the way - and so far they have helped us. It's amazing how the right person will arrive just when we need them. The important thing is to know when you need help....and miraculously it will come.
So here are some things we have learned:
1. Work collaboratively, use competition as a signal
2. Be confident and promote yourself and don't be frightened to say what you can do well (men are much better at this than women in general we think)
3. Take what you agree with from criticism and use it to get better. Then disregard the rest.
4. Be creative. Anger is actually a great creative energy so when we are up against any ageism or sexism use it to come up with a fresh idea
5. Be brave, and work through your terror barrier.
6. Play some happy music every day
7. Don't give up......if you are passionate about something........ Go for it!