What makes the news

What makes the news

by Ian Rufus

News Editor

“Robin Etherington, Radio Hallam News”. Behind those five words that you hear every hour on your radio each morning is a wealth of professional and technical know-how that we believe provides you, the listener, with the finest world, national and local news service in South Yorkshire and the North Midlands.

It’s a news service based on the expertise of seven highly experienced radio journalists whose sole job is to gather and interpret the news — be it from around the world or around the corner — in a way that you can understand and enjoy.

Radio Hallam’s news service was conceived many months before the station went on the air in long meetings at which we decided style, standards and technique. Our aim was to provide our listeners with a fast and comprehensible news service which they would regard as second to none.

It was on October 1st, 1974 at 06.55 in the morning when the first Radio Hallam news bulletin was broadcast. From then it has continued every hour to bring you the news fast and very often even as the news is breaking.

The Radio Hallam reporting team work closely with their colleagues at Independent Radio News in London to gather the major news stories from all over Great Britain and the world. The newsroom at Hartshead is linked by Teleprinter to the IRN newsroom and to Britain’s national news agency — the Press Association. Up those teleprinter lines, the news is transmitted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is processed by journalists at Radio Hallam into the hourly bulletins and, during the breakfast show — the news headlines on the half-hour.

Locally, news is relayed into the Hallam newsroom by a network of freelance journalists working in offices all over our broadcasting area. It is also gathered by the resources of our own news staff, who maintain constant contact with the local police, fire and ambulance, councillors, MP’s etc. Often a telephone call can send them speeding to the scene of a fire, pit disaster or road accident — armed with portable tape recorder and radio telephone to bring you the news faster than you’ll hear it — or read it — anywhere else.

The Radio Hallam news service had a baptism of fire. Ten days after the station went on the air we were faced with a General Election. The huge task of gathering and broadcasting local and national results was a mammoth job which, to the credit of the entire newsteam, was achieved smoothly and professionally.

Since then, listeners have heard on our bulletins a succession of major news stories which have been exclusive to Radio Hallam. Among the more notable ones — the claim by Sheffield Ratepayers’ Association that Town Hall staff were leaking confidential budget information; the trial of a man who killed his wife after a night-long exorcism ceremony at a Barnsley Church; the inquest on the Rotherham girl who died after she was given the wrong drug by hospital nurses; and the interview with a Doncaster prisoner as he was holding his young son hostage in the loft of their home. (Hallam listeners also heard the end of the seige broadcast live in Newscene as the man finally gave himself up to the police).

When five miners were killed in an underground explosion at Houghton Main Colliery, the Hallam newsteam was on the spot during the entire night-long rescue operation to bring listeners up to the minute information on progress down the colliery in newsflashes and extended news bulletins.

But Radio Hallam news isn’t all grim. We’re always on the look-out for the story that shows the more unusual and human side of life. Like the Stannington woman who gave birth to the baby she didn’t know she was expecting; the Sheffield shopkeeper who presented the VAT men with a 48 square foot cheque; and the six feet, eight inch tall Thurcroft man who advertised for a girlfriend of the same height.

Parliamentary Broadcasting was another feather in the Hallam cap. We took the bold step of transmitting Prime Minister’s Question Time live on the day the Commons radio experiment began, and during the four weeks of the experiment, we broadcast numerous speeches by local MP’s and ministers.

On Spring Bank Holiday Monday, we broadcast live on traffic conditions from the Automobile Association’s spotter plane as it flew over South Yorkshire and the Peak District.

But all that is in the past. What of the future. Before long, we shall have satellite studios in Rotherham, Barnsley and Chesterfield to cover the news from your area in even greater depth. We will have a radio car to transmit on-the-spot news even more frequently than we do at present. And perhaps, the most exciting development of all, for us in the Hallam newsteam — a self-contained studio in the newsroom itself which will enable us to record interviews via the telephone, put reporters in the radio car and on the radio telephone directly on the air and broadcast news flashes — all at the touch of a button.

But above all, the future will give us the opportunity to continue to bring you — our listeners’ — the best news service in the area.

Radio Hallam News — fast and factual.

Ian Rufus

The news team

Ian Rufus

News Editor

Ian was born in London 26 years ago but was brought up and educated in Rotherham. He began his career in journalism as a reporter on the Rotherham Advertiser and three and a half years later left to work on the Birmingham Post, where he spent some time in charge of the night news desk. After a short spell with the morning paper in Newcastle-upon-Tyne he left newspapers to go into broadcasting. He spent two and a half years as a news producer with BBC Radio Birmingham but left there to help launch Britain’s first independent radio station — the London Broadcasting Company which went on the air in October 1973. He was appointed news editor of Radio Hallam in May 1974. Ian is married and lives at Loxley in Sheffield.

Robin Etherington

Morning Editor

Robin is the newest member of the Hallam newsteam. He’s 25 years old and was born in Sunderland. He entered journalism on the Leicester Mercury when he left school. He then moved north to Sheffield to work on the Morning Telegraph. After eight months he decided to broaden his experience with overseas work, and spent a year on the Uganda Argus in Kampala. When he returned to this country he went to work for the Daily Mail in Manchester and after two years moved to BBC Radio Sheffield as a news producer. He joined Radio Hallam in August.

Jim Greensmith

News Reporter

Jim Greensmith joined Radio Hallam from Sheffield Cablevision, the community television station, where he was Assistant Station Manager He was born in Sheffield and entered journalism with The Star newspaper He worked there for eight years on news reporting and features before joining Cablevision There he directed, produced and presented programmes ranging from news to chat shows. 

Jim is 27 and lives with his wife and three year old son at Halfway. He joined Hallam in July 1974.

Roger Brooks

News Reporter

Roger’s 29 and came to Radio Hallam from the Rotherham Advertiser where he’d been chief sub-editor for three years Before that his talents were employed as features editor and chief reporter. Before making his radio debut he was probably best known in the Rotherham area for his articles on pop music and leisure activities in The Advertiser. His wife Eileen is a journalist herself and when Roger’s not busy reporting the news he’s kept busy helping to look after their young son Daniel who was born earlier this year.

Jon Silverman

News Reporter

Jon was born in London and lived in the capital until moving to Sheffield. Went to university in the south of England, then joined a newspaper in Luton as a reporter and feature writer. Apart from news reporting with Hallam, he also does theatre reviews and soccer coverage. He was also one half of the “Two Johns” team which produced the highly dubious ‘I Hope It Doesn’t Show’ for Radio Hallam. He’s 26 and married.

Libby Smith

News Reporter

Libby has the distinction of being the only woman in the Hallam News Team. She joined the station from a London Newspaper, as a member of the original team. Before that she worked for several years on the Eastern Daily Press in Norwich. She’s a native of East Anglia, and she’s married.

Jon Craymer

News Reporter

News Reporter Jonathan Craymer came to Radio Hallam from BBC Radio London where he reported on the capital’s news. He came to Sheffield when Radio Hallam went on the air. Among other things he’s written a senes of family-finance features for the Guardian, done news reporting for the London Evening Standard and edited a car magazine.

He’s 25 years old and married.