Sally Challoner – Q&A

Sally Challoner

Where are you from?
Born Cheltenham, brought up in Bristol (Hartcliffe – my family and I witnessed the Hartcliffe riots from our sitting room…)

How did you get started in broadcasting?
I trained as a journalist on the Weston Mercury, a weekly paper in Weston super Mare (took over from Jill Dando when she left); moved into an evening paper, then BBC local radio In Gloucestershire, then regional TV in Bristol

When was that?
Started in journalism back in 1986.

Why News broadcasting?
I love news, and being able to report it immediately. Radio is great as you can get it on air literally in seconds, but I love working with pictures on TV

Where else would have viewers seen or heard you before?
I’ve done a few live and recorded reports on News 24 in its early days, and reports on various BBC news bulletins. Our reports here in the West are regularly taken by Plymouth, Oxford and Southampton. I am the voice of the jingles on BBC Radio Bristol!

What is your Best on-air moment?
During the foot and mouth epidemic, I was sent to film some sheep stranded by rising flood waters. The farmer couldn;t save them as he couldn’t move them due to foot and mouth restrictions. As we were about to go live on air, I ended up helping him set up a makeshift sheep race to get them to safety – it was exciting and brought home to me the whole nightmare of the disease for farmers.

What is your Worst on-air moment?
Forgetting my lines in a live link into a major Fred West piece. My mind just went blank – since then I always follow the ‘5p rule – proper preparation prevents poor performance’

What would you like to do before your career ends?
Go back to Africa and film an ape rescue centre I filmed 6 years ago. I raised thousands of pounds for it by climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, and would love to film the results – but hey – BBC budgets…

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Be with my children and my dog; cycling, walking, running, swimming, reading, chatting with friends.. usual stuff really!

What advice would you give to anyone that would like to get into the broadcasting world?
Believe in yourself, and don’t give up!

Other Information?
Recently took a six month career break, and went with my two children to New Zealand – it’s a fantastic place, and I would love to go back one day – though their TV news really is miles behind ours!

A big thanks to Sally for taking part.

Posted by Johnnie Larkin on Thursday 21 May 2009
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