It's January and we are all crawling back to the office. To coax us out of our post-Christmas slumps we caught up with one of PLATF9RM's cheeriest members. Introducing Jason Baker - Advertising Director, Marketing Consultant, Radio Presenter and general chatterbox.
Happy new year Jason! So you work in advertising and apparently made your first advert when you were at school. What is the main aspect of advertising that gets you going?
Honestly I don’t have to think about this too much because the answer is a happy client… Actually there are two parts to it. The first one’s a happy client - so delivering what the client wanted and over-delivering. Exceeding their expectations is really good.
But the second part is when you get those light bulb moments. I used to work for the Sunday Times Newspaper and we were thinking of a way to market their online car search engine. And I was in the loo and and I went ‘BING’. I ran to the head of department and I went ‘oh my god, guess what!’ and that’s when I know I’m in the right place. When I’m that excited. The opposite to that is when you’re churning things out.
Then on the flip side when things don’t work it’s really really not good. The client has expectations but you can only do your best and you can’t take it personally.
You also work for a hospital radio station. What was the motivation behind becoming a radio presenter?
Well it says on the website that I got inspiration when I was in hospital but that’s not true. It was more one of those things where the planets were lined up. I mean I had spent time in hospital last year and I was off work and I was looking for a way of giving back.
But then by chance I bumped into a lady in a Tesco’s car park and she had a really cool Camper-van. It was Janet Lawrence, who’s a co-presenter, and we got chatting. It’s a long story but I ended up painting her kitchen and while doing so she told me she was a journalist in Washington and a radio presenter in America and over here.
So I did that thing that you do when you’re seven years old and driving past a toy shop and you say ‘Daddy I reaaaaalllllyyy like that’ trying to get him to buy it for you. I said ‘I would LOVE to do radio’ and she said to come down and have a go.
So I did and the week after I went to be a co-presenter on the Wednesday morning ‘Hits and headlines’ show with Chris Chase, Rosemary Alex and David Pring. So I joined the gang - it’s quite a busy show with lots of questions and quizzes and jokes - ‘Hits and Headlines’ Wednesday morning at 11 o’clock. I did that for about three months and then they told me to do my own recording. Then I started my first show. So it happened really fast.
I’ve had loads of buskers - people that I think will go on to do some great things. You just need a bit of luck and the wind behind you.
One time I had Safehaven, a domestic violence charity and I had two burly builders on the show who do work for Footprints. We were talking about Domestic Violence and those kinds of issues. My view is that if one person actually listens and goes ‘wow, that could help me’ then that's what's important. You can so easily get wrapped up with how many people are listening and it’s got nothing to do with that, nothing at all.
What job would you be terrible at?
Working in a library. Because I’m so loud. Or… In what job do you have to whisper?
Grace - Babysitter? When working with sleeping kids?
Jason - No I’d be good at babysitting - kids love me cause I’m a bit stupid. I used to be a children’s entertainer and I played an ugly sister in ‘Cinderfella’. I used to have dreadlocks which I wore on my head like a pineapple, they called me Pineapple.
What’s your favourite hobby and if time and money were not a thing what hobby would you adopt?
Well last year I was in hospital (anyone who knows me says ‘did he mention hospital?’) but it was a life-changing experience. So when I was lying in my hospital bed - I was bed-bound for quite some time - I basically said next year ‘I’m gunna, I’m gunna’. So this year I joined the Brighton Beachcombers softball club and kayaking at the Brighton Explorer's Club.
In terms of what hobby would I adopt - I would spend everyday on a beach doing water-sports if time and money weren’t a thing.
I would like to be wearing a wet-suit and flip flops or barefoot walking around instructing people doing water-sports.
This wouldn’t be in Brighton because no one would be there and barefoot would really hurt. But I’d be in my elements with not a care in the world
Also I nearly went back to university this year to do English literature - I got accepted but I didn’t take it. I would LOVE to go and do a full time degree in Drama.
I did do a bit of Drama. I played Ketch in Our Country’s Good and Captain Phillips. But I auditioned for a part in Lewes last year and I was horrendous. I hadn't read up about the play. I didn’t know what it was about. They stopped me half-way through actually.
So your radio station is all about bringing positive vibes to listeners, are there any other small day to day things that keep you positive?
Gratitude. I try to show gratitude and I try to keep my life in the present. So I try to live through today and not tackle everything at once. I also try to stay out of other people’s problems - I have enough of my own. You can’t fix everyone and everything. Writing a little list of things you’re grateful for either at morning or night.
Also avoiding saying ‘Well there are people worse off than me’ because that’s also not helpful. Pain is relative and it passes.
Your music taste may be eclectic but would you say you had a favourite genre of film or book?
I love SCI-FI. I absolutely love SCI-FI.
It sounds terrible but I don’t read that many books. It’s so bad but I haven’t got the time. I used to love autobiographies and biographies. And I also love factual books. I don’t like novels.
But saying that I used to love short stories and I have four stories that I want to write. I used to like the ones that had different endings. They were great.
What’s your key to being productive?
What I should be doing is writing a to-do list in the morning.
Another key thing is taking a break. Don’t force it.
My productivity comes from the fact that where I lack capability I have enthusiasm. Because I was in the army for 9 years so basically I have drive, just drive. But sometimes that doesn’t work.
Is that a key? Or lots of keys. Also having a good space, space is really important. I don’t mind noise but I can’t stand things not working. You need electricity, broadband, a computer, a mouse and it all has to work.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done that actually turned out pretty well?
I was going to say have children! No... Maybe I just haven’t done it yet.
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