EP64 – Julia McKenzie – What are BBC Radio 4 looking for?

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EP64 – Julia McKenzie – What are BBC Radio 4 looking for?


Total run time: 43 mins 43 secs.

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About Julia McKenzie…

Julia Mckenzie (@juliaamckenzie) is the Executive Editor of BBC Radio Comedy (part of BBC Studios). She makes comedy shows for Radio 4 and 2. Julia has produced many radio comedies, including The Jason Byrne Show, Ian D Montfort Is: Unbelievable and French & Saunders for Radio 2 and Party, Mark Steel’s in Town, Alex Horne Presents The Horne Section and The Penny Dreadfuls Presents, for Radio 4.

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Here’s a list of questions we covered…

Executive Editor at BBC Radio Comedy…

  • In Feb 2016 you changed your job title within the BBC, what was the reason for the change? And what did your job go from / to? [0 mins 0 secs]
  • How does pitching / commissioning ideas work? [0 mins 0 secs]
  • Does BBC radio have any quotas? [2 mins 10 secs]
  • Does the cliched joke of what a Radio 4 audience “is” stack up in their stats of who is listening? [4 mins 06 secs]
  • How is Radio 4 pushing boundaries and how would that compare to TV? [6 mins 33 secs]
  • What’s BBC Radio’s relationship with BBC studios? [8 mins 40 secs]
  • What opportunities are there for new writers? [12 mins 11 secs]
  • What are the lead times for shows? [14 mins]
  • What are the biggest mistakes people make when pitching shows or trying to get your attention? [17 mins]
  • How hard is it for you to put aside your personal tastes to keep in the style of the channel? [21 mins 10 secs]
  • What would you say to a writer or performer who thinks you need an agent to be seen by someone in the BBC? [22 mins 47 secs]
  • What should you send it if the BBC are interested? [23 mins 34 secs]
  • Do you listen to podcasts outside of the BBC and if so which? [25 mins]
  • Where do you see the future of radio going? [26 mins 30 secs]
  • What do you do if someone sends an idea in which you think is good but you can’t commission it? [28 mins]
  • How do you scout for new shows?
    • Do you listen to podcasts?

BBC Radio New Comedy Award…

  • What are the criteria for who you pick? [30 mins]
  • Do you research the entry beyond the audio clip? [32 mins]
  • Do you think competitions are the best way of finding new talent?

The future of radio…

  • What investments are the BBC making to keep up with the technological advancements? [33 mins]
  • Are you seeing a change in listener habits due to on demand players? How is that impacting your job? [33 mins]

Other questions…

  • What do you think is the biggest problem in the comedy industry and how would you go about solving it? [40 mins]
  • Best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? [40 mins]
  • Best bit of advice you would give a comedian who wants to make a career in comedy? [40 mins]










Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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