Grand Jury Confidential: Patrick Campbell

New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Grand Jury Confidential profiles the 2016 award-winning Grand Jury members. Each interview provides a sneak peek into the brilliant careers of prominent radio executives from around the globe who are recruited from all facets of the radio industry to select the World’s Best Radio Programs℠.

Patrick Campbell Director/Co-Founder of Campbell Davison Media, UK

This week, NYF takes a few moments to connect with 2016 Grand Jury member, Patrick Campbell, Director/Co-Founder of Campbell Davison Media, United Kingdom.

Patrick’s career spans 35 years, working on local radio stations and BBC national networks. His wireless travels have taken him around the world. Since co-founding Campbell Davison Media in 1990, the company has won over 35 major broadcasting awards and radio projects have graced the airwaves of BBC Radio’s 1, 2, 4 and 5 live, and talkSPORT Radio in the UK.

NYF caught up with Patrick and asked him to share his insights on the wonderful world of radio. Keep reading to find out more about Patrick, including his first job in the radio industry, his early career influences, his favorite radio program that he created and much more!

NYF: Who or what were your early influences in your career?

Patrick Campbell: After attending the National Broadcasting School in London during the early 1980s, I was lucky enough to be awarded an attachment at County Sound – a small, local radio station in southern England. You had to learn fast there and be prepared to turn your hand to whatever needed to be done; reporting, presenting, writing, producing and hitting deadlines. My first ever documentary – Happy Birthday Jack (The story of the Titanic’s senior wireless operator) – was broadcast on County Sound. Happy days.

NYF: What’s the most important thing you learned from your first job?

Patrick Campbell: The best advice I was given was ‘if you don’t know the answer to a question, ask someone who does.’ This saves time and gets your story / idea / production further down the road, faster. It’s also a great way of networking, increasing contacts and building relationships.

NYF: What were some early leadership lessons for you?

Patrick Campbell: It took me a while to realize that you can’t do everything yourself. Delegation is the key to progressing projects from conception to completion, allowing co-workers to have the confidence to develop their own skills and thought processes. Mentoring, where needed, is also incredibly important in creating the talent of the future.

NYF: What qualities are the most important to have?

Patrick Campbell: Apart from the obligatory production skills required, I believe to survive and thrive in this business you need to have ideas, know how to present them and be versatile enough to overcome hurdles and get your ideas to air. Also a good sense of humour is mandatory.

NYF: Tell us a bit about your evolution in the radio industry?

Patrick Campbell: My first ever radio gig was for patients at Kings College Hospital in London. It was a rock ‘n’ roll music show called The Bedpan Barbara Ann Show. I thought it was funny at the time! After local radio I worked as a radio journalist for COI Overseas Radio – sending reports to news networks in the USA, Canada and around the world, and the BBC. Next stop was Sport Aid ’88, where I commissioned and produced monthly radio programs about the plight of children around the world; a global radio show in 4 languages. In 1990, I co-founded Campbell Davison Media, a company that, to date, has produced over a thousand radio productions.

NYF: What was a defining moment in your career?

Patrick Campbell: I always wanted to be a radio deejay but when I eventually got my chance, I found the job too banal and repetitive. Playing the same records week in, so I headed for production. From there I traveled around the world – eventually making it to the North Pole – learning my ‘trade’ along the way.

NYF: Will you share how the culture of your company encourages creativity?

Patrick Campbell: For us – all ideas are welcome. Many fall at the first hurdle but every now and then a nugget of radio gold comes along. Our motto is: Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while. I tell everyone that we operate in a wonderful, creative world. It’s hard work but if you’re not having fun then maybe we’re not for you. A bit of tough love there.

NYF: What’s your favorite radio program that you created?

Patrick Campbell: I have been privileged to work with some of the best-known broadcasters in UK radio, so picking a favorite is bloody hard. If I had to pick one, it would be one of my company’s current productions – The Danny Baker Show on BBC 5 live. Danny’s wit and creativity has made him a national treasure that continues to please our audience.

NYF: What are the hallmarks of award-winning radio programs?

Patrick Campbell: For me, no matter what the genre, radio programs need to have something special about them to win a New York Festivals Award. Did I learn something new? Am I excited by it? Does it make me laugh? Does it move me? Is it the craziest thing I’ve heard in ages? Is it creative, insightful, informative, different? Run of the mill doesn’t work for me I’m afraid but pushing the edge of the envelope does.

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