In these Radiowaves-exclusive articles, legendary presenter Pat Courtenay shares his views, ideas, experience, and tips with our visitors…

This time around Pat has had a brainwave…


Having always had an over-supply of useable thoughts and never enough scraps of paper to save them on, I used to feel a bit guilty about using Prep/Creative Services; is it a laziness that slowly calcifies your own creative limbs? After all, when I’ve found myself without a Service I’ve managed to come up with the kind of free-range stuff that people end up recording for posterity. [Posterity: noun – A time in which one will be unable to play one’s archived recordings because one can’t get the machines anymore.]

Sometimes though, we go through times when for no apparent reason we can’t come up with a single useful thought; it’s a wasteland in there, and that’s when a Creative Service saves the day…doesn’t it? But uh, oh; I’m looking at all these wacky News items from Finland and Today in History from 1769 and Hollywood Gossip the women’s mags already covered and I can’t make anything funny out of it all and I can’t localise it or personalise it…aaaargh! At that point we often decide that the next Show’ll take care of itself and don’t even bother looking at the Prep Service for the day at all.

Now, admittedly I’m seeing this from the viewpoint of Breakfast but, at that stage, I would take a local paper, a pen and a mate or two for a pint. No mates free at that time of the day? There should be someone you know in your local. Don’t want a drink? Take the same paper and pen and meet a friend for lunch or coffee. Do the same with whoever you live with.

The point here is, involve other people! Nowhere is it written (except in the Sealed Section of our own ego) that we have to come up with everything on our own. If your friends or people you meet know you’re going to talk about something they talked about, they’ll enjoy being part of the process. If we’re going to talk to people for a living, it stands to reason we should have a fair idea of what they want to talk about and how they view things. If someone else comes up with your one-liner, there’s your story for the next Show: “We were havin’ a pint in The Sheds, talking about Daisy Duke and Dec’s girlfriend said…” It lets the Listener into your world, hopefully there’s a laugh involved and maybe a conversation-starter for the phone. It also gets you back into note-taking mode and before you know it, you’re doing your “own stuff” again and when it feels like your own idea you feel better about using lines from a Service – after all, they’re just a back-up, right?

Speaking of Services, I’ll shortly be launching one of my own, with huge help from John Fleming, I’m proud to say.

Check out the link he’s putting up. I’d love to talk with you!

Next: Is It Safe?

© Pirate Radio Limited & Radiowaves. First published February 5th 2006