Richard Lister – Q&A

Richard Lister


Where are you from?
I was born in Cambridge and grew up near Bristol.

How did you get started in broadcasting?
I presented a radio comedy show in the US for a year before getting a place on the BBC local radio trainee reporter scheme.

When was that?
Trainee reporter scheme: 1988

Why News broadcasting?
Because its different every day, and takes you to new places and interesting people.

Where else would have viewers seen or heard you before?
From Washington and around the world as the State Department Correspondent; I also did some reporting stints in Iraq; presented Radio 4’s Broadcasting House a couple of times and have presented on BBC World and News 24.

What is your Best on-air moment?
There are lots that I am proud of: doing the BBC’s first live tv broadcast from North Korea, reporting from an Ethiopian village as drought began to take hold; filming on a B-52 during a bombing mission over Serbia; experiencing weightlesness on NASA’s astronaut training plane and reporting from the Arctic.

What is your Worst on-air moment?
There are lots that I’m not so proud of too! The most embarrassing was doing an interview for News 24 from the middle of a crowd of several thousand American soldiers at a base in Tennessee. The presenter threw to me just as the US National Anthem began on the tannoy. I turned to interview my guest to discover that he had turned his back on me and was saluting the flag – while the rest of the troops looked daggers at me for speaking during the anthem and let me know their displeasure after it!

What would you like to do before your career ends?
Cover a space shuttle launch.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spend time with our little boy, Tom. I’m also a car nut and drive a variety of classic cars from a club I belong to with my wife Philippa. I also have an elderly TVR that I have been restoring for what seems to be decades…

What advice would you give to anyone that would like to get into the broadcasting world?
Think carefully about exactly what in broadcasting you would like to do (reporting? producing? filming? news? documentaries?) and be single minded about doing it – work for free if you have to, until someone realises you are invaluable.

A big thanks to Richard for taking part.

Posted on Thursday 21st May 2009 by Johnnie Larkin