A day in the life: James Bentley, Island FM

James Bentley is the breakfast presenter and programme manager for Island FM, our Tindle Radio station in Guernsey.

As well as presenting the morning show on the station, he is responsible for all the programme content on Island FM.

Having first joined the station in 2003, James talks about his appreciation for island life and the connection with radio audiences which he gets from working for Tindle.

What are the main responsibilities in your role?
In my role with Island FM I make sure there is good quality broadcasting going out which engages with listeners and gets our listening figures as high as possible. As programme manager I oversee “what comes out of the speakers”. I help the presenters make sure the quality is right and they have the support to engage listeners. I provide the link between them and other departments so they know what is going on. We want them to do their jobs to the best of their abilities and enjoy their work.

What was the appeal of joining the company?

When I first came over, I did not know what to expect. My boss at the time asked me to consider moving here. When I walked into the building, I knew it was where I wanted to be because the people were so down to earth. Before I knew it, I was part of the team. I arrived in 2003 having worked on stations in the north west of England for two years. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Earlier in my career I had worked as a salesman for bubble wrap before embarking on a radio career. When I came here, I was initially a daytime presenter and started in breakfast 16 years ago before becoming programme manager in 2011.

What does a typical day in your role involve?
I am up around 5am and get on my way to work, with a very short commute so I can soon get myself prepared for the breakfast show. We run competitions which I prepare and then I go on air at 6am, with my show running until 10am. When I come off air I catch up on emails and work with the sales team on promotions and sponsorships. We organise competition giveaways and show sponsorships for advertisers. I catch up with my fellow presenters through the day. 

How does your work fit into the wider business?

People may think that as breakfast presenter my working day ends at 10am. On the sales side, I am available outside of my broadcast time to help them sell the on-air appearances. I work with the wider team to ensure we produce the kind of radio that people want to appear on. There is much more of a commercial side to the role than the listener might expect.

What do you enjoy about working for Tindle?
As the breakfast presenter I must make sure the Island FM show is hosted by an energetic person who gets your day started, which I enjoy. The aim is to get everybody in a good mood and then inform people as they prepare for the day ahead. I know nobody wants to miss out on anything important and everybody wants the information they need first thing in the morning. I have got to know people who are listening because it is a small island. You get to know people personally, then you get to know their relatives and their children, so we are growing older together with strong personal relationships.

What would you say to someone considering a career with Tindle Radio?
You need to build up the experience before embarking upon this as a career. Whether it is hospital radio or community radio, get involved so you build up the experience and practice what is involved. Experience is hard to get but it will allow you to handle the job and you can see how people working in radio do their roles.

How do you use digital in your role?
We have a digital working environment. Our station no longer uses CDs or vinyl, with all the music and jingles played through a digital system. All the listener emails and text messages come in via digital systems and we monitor social media for feedback. We produce videos which are shared on social media including Facebook and TikTok to engage with wider audiences.

What are your interests outside of work?
I play a lot of golf and I enjoy travelling with my partner Kim.

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