When did you become a manager?
I was deputy editor of the BBC's World at One in the Birt years – managing teams, getting them to be cohesive and produce the programmes. There was no training at the BBC then; you were just told 'take these people and get a programme out of them' – no coaching, assessment or goal-setting. It was management from the front, a case of 'I'm doing this, follow me'.
What does management mean to you?
It means building on other people's ideas. It's not my job to say: 'This is the programme.' There are 50 people here, 49 of them aren't me, and they're cleverer than I am. Our listeners are very engaged and expect us to carry out things on their behalf. As licence-fee payers, they have a stake in, say, John Humphrys plc, as do the controller of Radio 4, head of corporate affairs and head of news. My job is to resolve these conflicting demands.
What do you love/hate about your job?
I hate the sleep deprivation. You're either working or on call seven days a week, and your sleep time is squeezed. I also hate the BBC's approach to time management. Most BBC people are great at being there, without actually doing anything. I can't stand waiting around, just because someone thinks you should be there. But it's a fun job and intellectually challenging. I love making a good product and it's fascinating getting inside the minds of the listeners.