The wonders of modern technology... broadcasting from buses... and National Trust membership...

PUBLISHED: 14:04 03 July 2014 | UPDATED: 14:04 03 July 2014

It's a bus but not as we know it (Illustrstion: bruno1998 / iStock)

It's a bus but not as we know it (Illustrstion: bruno1998 / iStock)


This month, BBC Surrey breakfast show host James Cannon on the wonders of modern technology, broadcasting from buses and how he’s getting his money’s worth from his National Trust membership...

This month’s column is a first for me; I’m writing it on a train. When I’m finished, I’ll simply e-mail it over to the boss at Surrey Life Towers and it’ll be job done. It’s a world away from my first years in publishing where I used to bash away on a manual typewriter with two pieces of paper separated by a sheet of carbon. You would then go through a process of sub-editing, typesetting and sometimes completely rewriting. The developments in technology in just the past couple of years have, for many, changed their lives.

Brave new world

The radio industry has not escaped the onslaught of new technology. Back in the day, you would see radio presenters hauling around large boxes of vinyl records, along with stacks of jingles. Today, it’s all on computer and played at the touch of a button; in fact, it’s very rare to physically hold or see a CD or record in a studio. Just a few weeks ago, we did something that even two years ago would have been nearly impossible; we broadcast the whole show from a moving bus! The route No.10 to Gatwick Airport to be precise. The operators sent a press release boasting about their new fleet of buses, which have free 4G Wi-Fi. I had the idea that we could broadcast using the 4G signal and the immediate glint in our engineer’s eye was an indication that it could be done. So there we were, on the No.10, with passengers getting on and off (with some incredulous looks!) broadcasting in crystal clear quality.

The show went well, including meeting actors from the Reduced Shakespeare Company who we dropped off at Gatwick to catch a flight to Verona on which they were hoping to perform ‘Shakes on a Plane’, presenting the works of the Bard to the unsuspecting passengers.

The only negative was me discovering that four hours on a moving bus can make you feel a touch giddy! New technology won’t ever be able to do anything about that I suspect!

Back to basics

In other news, we always like to mention our local farmers’ markets on my BBC Surrey Breakfast Show, and I stumbled across one in Godalming high street the other day. It was all very attractive, with bakers, jam and relish makers, Thai street food and such like. However, I realised that after walking the length of the high street, I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t actually bought anything. I’d sampled quite a bit, but not actually purchased any of the enticing range of wares. Promise to next time though!

From Godalming, we went for a walk around Winkworth Arboretum. I’d never been before and we caught it just as the bluebells blossomed. It’s a beautiful place with a couple of mean slopes to contend with! It can now be ticked off my list of National Trust properties to visit.

I’m determined to get full value for money after renewing our family membership – though my 12-year-old told me that he has been ‘Hatchlands Out!’ Maybe I’ll take him there just the once this year...


Catch James Cannon on the BBC Surrey Breakfast Show every weekday from 6am to 9am on 104-104.6 FM or on DAB digital radio

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