BFBS Radio: Three Decades At The Sharp End

12 December 2012 12:15

From the Falklands Conflict to the current campaign in Afghanistan, Andrew Wright takes a look at the role of radio reporters on the front line.

This unique one-hour programme for the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) explores how broadcasters do  everyday jobs in extraordinary locations.

Wright draws on his work as a former BFBS Broadcaster and the expertise of colleagues from BFBS, the BBC and UK stations, to describe how the sounds and human stories of war are brought to listeners.

"The programme came from my wanting to tell my own story, starting with my first experience of front line  broadcasting when I came under fire in Sarajevo 20 years ago. Once I started talking to others who still work in those hostile environments, I realised that my experiences were nothing compared to the incredible job done by the  journalists and presenters who are there today."

With anecdotes and in-depth interviews, the documentary includes tales from four different conflicts and asks what it takes to be a credible and effective Forces Broadcaster. 

This programme considers the challenges of dispatching civilian journalists to work and live in high-risk environments, as well as the technical restraints of reporting from remote islands and war-torn deserts to a world expecting instant news.

"Radio broadcast from the sharp end is often at its best when it focuses on the everyday men and women who work there," added Wright. "Parachute a broadcaster into that world and the results can be powerful, compelling, emotional and even very, very funny"

The mission to connect troops in theatre with family and friends has always been at the core of BFBS. This vital link with home, through radio messages and dedications, is discussed in an interview with the late BFBS Presenter, Glen Mansell, to whom the documentary is dedicated.

'At The Sharp End' will be broadcast on Sunday 30th December on BFBS Radio at 2pm UK time, online and on BFBS Radio 2 at 8am, or if you miss it you can 'Listen Again' at