Public Affairs

Meet the Media: Vinny Hurrell

Vinny Hurrell presents The Vinny Hurrell Show on Monday nights, BBC Radio Ulster and is a producer with the Stephen Nolan Show.

How did you get into journalism?

I always had a fascination with radio. My dad loved BBC Radio Ulster and it was always on in the background. Some of my earliest memories involve listing to Radio Ulster – hearing the pips, news reports and David Dunseith. It had a magic around it and I knew from a young age that it was where I wanted to be. I took up a degree in Journalism and Media Studies when I was 19 and never looked back.

Describe your typical working day?

It can depend on the day. My working day usually starts just before 7:30am. At that point we’re making the final preparations for the Nolan Show at 9am.

Once we’re on air it’s a blur of callers, pundits, politicians and Stephen. Then as soon as the show is over we start getting ready for the next day. Each day is filled with setting up discussions, researching interviews, editing and briefs. As with my show on a Monday night, the adrenaline of being on air either producing or presenting – really carries you through. If I’m also producing Nolan LIVE when it’s on air on TV – that is a whole other bundle of fun.

Who would you identify as your role models in the industry and why?

As much as it pains me to say, Stephen (Nolan) is a man that I owe a great debt to. We have a lot of banter on and off air and there’s a certain amount of joking around. But, I’ve learnt more from him than any other. In some ways it is as if I’ve had my own apprenticeship under his wing. Don’t get me wrong, on many levels we are like chalk and cheese and I don’t think we have the same presenting style, but he knows how to create engaging radio. And that is the real trick.

Nolan aside I would also add Jeremy Vine, Eamonn Holmes and Simon Mayo. Excellent broadcasters.

What is it about journalism that you enjoy?

No two days are the same. In my job I get to be as creative as I like. Crafting montages, interviewing people, breaking stories. I am incredibly lucky to do something I love for a living. I am reminded of that every day I walk through the front doors of the BBC. Plus, I get to meet some amazing people.

What would you describe as your most notable story or project?

In 2013 I produced the Nolan story around abortion and fatal foetal abnormality.

Sarah Ewart travelled to England for a termination after doctors said her unborn child had no chance of survival outside the womb. This story was challenging on so many levels.

How is journalism embracing the digital revolution?

Every day. From news apps, podcasts and social media. The way we search for, research and broadcast news has and is continuing to change every day.

What advice would you give anyone starting out in the profession?

Make your own mark. Do not wait for it to be handed to you on a plate. I started off making podcasts and broadcasting on community radio. This gave me the chance to create programmes and do interviews without the reliance on a big brand or corporation behind me. I was giving myself my own experience and practice in the field, with my own audience. It was fun and helped me get into the industry.

What are your main interests outside of work?

I like to go to the gym and love to travel when I get the time and money. I’ve two dogs that I’m obsessed with and have spent the last eight months renovating my house. After that all I have time for is sleep!

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