A day in the life: James Bentley, Island FM

James Bentley is the breakfast presenter and program manager for Island FM, our Tindle Radio station in Guernsey.

In addition to presenting the morning show on the station, he is responsible for all program content on Island FM.

After first joining the station in 2003, James talks about his appreciation for island life and the connection with radio audiences he gains from working for Tindle.

What are the main responsibilities in your role?
In my role at Island FM I ensure that good quality broadcasts are broadcast that appeal to listeners and that our listening figures are as high as possible. As a program manager, I monitor “what comes out of the speakers”. I help the presenters ensure that the quality is good and that they have the support to participate listeners. I provide the link between them and other departments, so that they know what is going on. We want them to do their work as well as possible and to enjoy their work.

What was the attraction to joining the company?

When I first visited, I didn’t know what to expect. My then boss asked me to consider moving here. When I walked into the building, I knew I wanted to be there because the people were so down to earth. Before I knew it, I was part of the team. I arrived in 2003 after working on stations in the North West of England for two years. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Earlier in my career, I had worked as a bubble wrap salesman before embarking on a radio career. When I came here I was initially a daytime presenter and started in breakfast 16 years ago before becoming program manager in 2011.

What does a typical day in your role entail?
I get up around 5am and head to work, with a very short travel distance so I can quickly prepare for the breakfast show. We organize competitions that I prepare for and then I go on air at 6am, while my show runs until 10am. When I come off the air, I catch up on emails and work with the sales team on promotions and sponsorships. We organize competitions and show sponsorship for advertisers. I speak with my fellow presenters throughout the day.

How does your work fit into the wider business?

People might think that as a breakfast presenter my working day ends at 10am. On the sales side, I am available outside of my airtime to help them sell the broadcasts. I work with the wider team to ensure we produce the kind of radio people want to appear on. There is much more of a commercial side to the role than the listener would expect.

What do you like about working for Tindle?
As a breakfast presenter I have to ensure that the Island FM show is presented by an energetic person who starts your day off right, which I enjoy. The goal is to get everyone in a good mood and then educate people as they prepare for the day ahead. I know that no one wants to miss something important and that everyone wants to get the information they need first thing in the morning. I’ve met people who listen because it’s a small island. You get to know people personally, then you get to know their family members and their children, so that we grow older together with strong personal relationships.

What would you say to someone considering a career at Tindle Radio?
You need to build the experience before you start this as a career. Whether it’s hospital radio or community radio, get involved so you gain experience and practice what’s involved. Experience is difficult to gain, but it will enable you to do the job and see how people who work in radio fulfill their roles.

How do you use digital in your role?
We have a digital working environment. Our station no longer uses CDs or vinyl and all music and jingles are played via a digital system. All emails and text messages from listeners are received through digital systems and we monitor social media for feedback. We produce videos that are shared on social media, including Facebook and TikTok, to reach a wider audience.

What are your interests outside of work?
I play a lot of golf and enjoy traveling with my partner Kim.