What’s it like to report at the #SunAirShow?

Last weekend I was reporting at the Sunderland International Air Show. What I mean by that is that I was with Spark FM covering the 3 day event. It was very busy and tiring weekend, but all the same it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my journalism career to date. But what was it like? Here’s a weekend in the life of a reporter and news reader at the air show.


The airport was my first destination for Friday. It was pretty warm and there were a lot of flys, but despite that, I was gathering interviews and watching one of my colleagues fly in a OV-10 Bronco.

I got to wear a high-vis jacket too – yellow is definitely my colour!


© Photo copyright of Sophie Dishman.

It was a great experience but I had to race back to university as I was news reading ahead of the launch.

I wasn’t at the launch event of the air show, as I was back in the studio reading Drivetime bulletins. I’m normally a news reader in the morning or in the early afternoon, but I read the news bulletins at 3, 4, 5 and 6 on Friday. It was definitely a great experience as I learnt how to do a live link through Skype to one of my colleagues who was at the air show. That was just one of the many things I learnt over the course of the weekend!

I headed home after the 6pm bulletin as it was an early start!


Saturday was my first full day at the air show as a reporter – and news reader. Unfortunately one of my colleagues was unwell so I was drafted in to news read. I didn’t mind of course because I am a news reader, but it’s fair to say that it was stressful. We were delivering news bulletins every half an hour and we had to pre-record them outside. There were a lot of people around and it was quite nerve-wracking. I also had to learn to use Multitrack in a short space of time – but I did it! There were some tense moments, but I really enjoyed the experience.


© Photo copyright of Sophie Dishman.

After my news-reading shift, I had a quick break and went out to report. I love reporting as much as I do news reading so it was great that I got to do both on Saturday. It was great to develop my improvisation skills and to enhance my interview skills too because I got to go out and interview a lot of people – from community groups like the RNLI…


Me & the RNLI guy. © Photo copyright of Valentina Egorova. Permission for author (Sophie Dishman) to use.

To the pilots who were flying in the skies throughout the air show and the engineers who fix the planes! I definitely learnt a lot more about aviation on Saturday so my knowledge increased too as well as my skills.


Me interviewing a member of the RAF. © Photo copyright of Valentina Egorova. Permission for author (Sophie Dishman) to use.

Saturday saw me walk over 15km – which for my legs was a lot! But I wasn’t complaining because it was all worth it! I headed home at 7pm after a long day – but on Sunday I was up early doing it all again!

I wasn’t too tired but that’s because the “air show tiredness” hadn’t set in yet.


Sunday was the last full day of the air show. I was news reading from 10am till 12pm and this time it was a lot less stressful – I was calmer this time. After my bulletins it was time for me to go out and report – again! But this time I got to go to the media cabin and hang with the big guys – the pilots and the commentators of course!


© Copyright of Sophie Dishman.

It had started to rain at this point, but I didn’t let it dampen my spirits. It was cold and wet but I didn’t mind as I got to watch some of the plane displays.

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I also got to go down onto the beach and watch the beach assault – which was a loud and proud experience. I had a lot of respect and admiration for our armed forces before this experience, but after hearing what they have to hear, it made me respect and admire them a lot more!


© Copyright of Sophie Dishman.

After a lot more running around getting interviews, I headed back to Spark’s base and edited a few interviews and spoke about my experience of covering the air show – albeit not on this very cosy couch!


© Copyright of Sophie Dishman.

The tiredness had started to set in before 6pm on Sunday, but I battled through it.

All in all it was a brilliant experience over the three days – from start to finish. I actually felt a little bit fitter too as I walked over 25km across the Saturday and Sunday. Way to go Sophie!

Last year I was just a spectator and saw Spark running around – did I wish that was me, I didn’t think it would be. This year, I was one of the members of Spark running around – and I loved it!


© Copyright of Sophie Dishman.


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