Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. In our latest feature, Billy Mulley sits down with Football Editor for TalkSPORT, Jason Bourne to talk about his career so far.
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
I’m Jason Bourne and I am the football editor at TalkSPORT and TalkSPORT 2 and I have been in this role for nearly a year. Prior to that, I was the interim football editor at the station for a couple of months. The majority of my working life has been spent at BBC Radio Leicester, where I was a sports presenter and producer.
Three years ago now, I made the decision to start freelancing. I struggled to find work for a while and it also meant relocating to London. From there, I started to work with TalkSPORT and TalkSPORT 2 and was then lucky enough to be offered a weekly show, which eventually turned into a weekend breakfast show. The decision to start freelancing was a tough choice to make at the time, but one that I like to think worked out.
What do you do in your current role?
My main responsibilities lie amongst the commentary teams and assigning pundits, presenters, and to some extent the reporters too. The reporters are pretty much all freelancers, so I act as the connecting link between them and the company.
I also attend editorial meetings within the company, where all aspects of the station are covered. I also help to arrange interviews, whilst sometimes conducting my own. Another fundamental part of my role is to be that main point of contact between football clubs/governing bodies and TalkSPORT itself.
What does a normal week look like for you?
Monday is the big day for the company. Generally speaking, we look ahead to the week and we usually have a big management meeting. At this meeting, all the departments come together and set the agenda for the week both on and off air. We also have our editorial meetings on the Monday, which involves going through the day-time shows and discussing what is coming up and the involvement of special guests. Game-day meetings are also on a Monday, where ideas are discussed and interviews are planned.
Wednesday and Thursday’s are very much orientated around preparing for games and for me, it is a matter of checking up with people. Friday is then the big preparation day and there will be another meeting regarding game-day.
For a Saturday game, I will travel up to wherever it is on the Friday. When we could, we would enjoy the evening and then produce the game on the Saturday.
How has Covid-19 impacted your line of work?
If anything, the communication within the company has improved since Pre-Covid times. There have been additional meetings and I am someone that does not feel any less communicative just because I am not there in the flesh.
I have not been in the office since March, and I have since moved back up to Leicestershire. At the start of the first Lockdown was particularly tough. However, as soon as football returned, so did we and our live coverage is now better than ever.
What inspired you to go into a broadcasting career?
I have always loved sport and the radio, so marrying the two together and making a career out of it has been wonderful. I studied a business degree at bachelor’s level, but I knew that it was not something I would ever want to do full-time.
I also had links with TalkSPORT back in my university days and I created a fan website that covered everything to do with the station, whether it be breaking news or interviewing the presenters. After my undergraduate degree, I moved to London and studied Broadcast Journalism at post-graduate level. I thoroughly enjoyed that year in London, and I met some great people through the experience. People that I still keep in contact with now.
What inspired the decision to start freelancing?
I backed myself and my ability, but I was certainly anxious about the whole process. I guess when things were quieter near the start, I had a lot of time to think, maybe too much time. But, I made contact with TalkSPORT and the talks were positive.
It is important when you are debating whether to start freelancing, that you know what you want to sell yourself as. It took me a while to figure out, but my production and organisation skills are what I excel in. Subsequently, I knew that was how I needed to portray myself.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Do anything and annoy people. Everyone says it but you need to get your foot in the door somehow. Be willing and be enthusiastic, you need to take those lesser jobs and build your way up.
This all helps to build contacts, which is essentially what it is all about. You can have all the sporting knowledge in the world, but if you do not know anybody, you will never come across anything.
For me, being in and around press boxes is great experience. Not only do you learn a lot from those around you, but you meet people.
You can follow Jason Bourne on Twitter here.