BBC Radio Gloucestershire announces guest takeover

A deaf man will present a radio show through an interpreter as part of a guest takeover at BBC Radio Gloucestershire this month.

A total of 30 people are being featured on the 9-10pm slot of Jon Smith’s evening show on the station throughout June – including a drag queen, transgender actor, Polish martial arts expert, spoken word poet, hip-hop artist, cafe owner and a duo who record podcasts in their shed.

Reg Cobb, who’s deaf and a trainer with the Gloucestershire Deaf Association, will take to the air on 13th June in what could be a radio first as he uses an interpreter to help him with the show.

Reg says: “I’m excited to be part of the show and already buzzing with a few ideas on how to make it work. It is probably the first time a deaf person has run a radio show for an hour and we hope listeners will enjoy the hour of fun, laughter and listen with interest, hearing something different.

“GDA has always been leading the way with innovativeness and proactiveness and this is an example of how proactive we are for our deaf community and hard of hearing people.”

Jon’s evening show aims to get unheard voices on air and he says he hopes The Residency slot will showcase the best of Gloucestershire – and may even help discover some new radio talent.

He told RadioToday: “All the guest presenters are amazing people who have been involved in the show and we’ve thought ‘we need to come back to them’. Some have an interest in presenting shows, others have never thought about it in their lives – it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Each guest presenter will be able to fill their hour with the interviews, chat and music they want.

Tewkesbury actor Harrison Knights, guest presenting on 10th June, plans to interview his secondary school drama teacher, who supported him through his gender transition and even signed the deed poll legally confirming his name change. He said: “I’m really very excited about the opportunity to present on my local BBC radio station. During my residency I’ll be looking at trans representation in the media. I’ll also be sharing my love of the arts generally, from the point of view of someone who’s come to terms with who they really are later in life.”

Steph Rollinson, who runs Gloucester’s multicultural World Café with Rita Rimkiene, added: “I’m quite nervous but excited as it’s a great opportunity. Although, I think I have imposter syndrome, as I’ve met some amazing people with amazing stories who are also taking part. I’m in awe, really.”