Media: Double Standards - Making a living out of baring all on the airwaves

These talk radio hosts don't know how to 'do embarrassment'. They reveal why being honest about themselves gives their listeners the confidence to be open about their own emotions.

TRISHA GODDARD - talk show host, City Talk (Sunday, 8pm to 10pm)

- How do you set your show apart from the competition?

I guess by being myself! My combined backgrounds in broadcast journalism, mental-health issues and conflict resolution are obviously going to affect the way I look at things and the way I interview guests with a more psychological slant.

- Are there characteristics you need to be good at talk radio?

Eeek! I'd better not answer that until I've done the job a bit longer! I did talk radio in Australia and I guess two necessary qualities are making the listener feel you're talking to them; having an opinion but being happy to learn from guests; plus keeping your energy up.

- What's the most rewarding thing about what you do?

That it's only part of what I do! Being a mother, wife, cross-country runner, passionate dog owner, print journalist and my involvement in my local Mind mental health charity and the Home-Start parenting charity - all those things (plus my personal experience) help my broadcasting career; helping keep it real. It's a real buzz when everything I've learned in areas other than the media come together to help someone help themselves out of a tight spot.

- How do you get people to 'confide' live on air, and what's the most surprising thing somebody has revealed?

Dunno really - just be myself. I don't judge. I try to listen not just to the words but the feeling behind them. I guess people also know I've waded through a fair bit of s*** myself and often struggled to come out the other end! Most surprising thing revealed? Probably the things that other celebrities have confided to me because of my background and because they know those confidences will never be broken - so I'm not going to tell you!

- Which subjects tend to get the listeners most excited/angry?

Parenting, being cheated on, betrayal, violence - the things that get us all hot under the collar; injustice.

- Your show is based around a specific city and its regions. How important is this?

I'm lucky the show is based around Liverpool because of Liverpudlians' well-earned reputation in telling it like it is. That's an enormous asset when your subject matter is as close to the bone as mine is likely to be!

- How much of what we hear on air is the 'real' you?

I don't know any other way of broadcasting than being the real me. Obviously it's only part of the real me - the other part tends to swear a bit too much for broadcasting standards.

- What's your most embarrassing moment in broadcasting?

Oh my gosh! I've been in the game for about 22 years now (both in Australia and the UK). I've done two pregnancies on air and dealt with everything from leaking nipples to the residue from nappy changing unintentionally under the nails. I've done a TV current affairs intro while seated on a rubber ring two hours after giving birth. None of that embarrassed me, cos it's real life. I've had the occasional autocue stuff-up that's had me in giggles, but to be honest I don't really do embarrassment.

NICK FERRARI - talk show host, LBC (Monday to Friday, 7am to 10am)

- How do you set your show apart from the competition?

By allowing much of it to be done on the hoof and up to the last minute. It's not uncommon for us to throw away half of the planning for the show because better stories emerge. We respond to what the listeners are actually showing an interest in.

- Are there characteristics you need to be good at talk radio?

You need the lowdown guile and cunning of an errant politician, the discipline of Fabio Capello, the looks of Jude Law, the charms of Barack Obama and the abuse habits of Amy Winehouse.

- What's the most rewarding thing about what you do?

The cash.

- How do you get people to 'confide' live on air, and what's the most surprising thing somebody has revealed?

You have to be open about yourself and your own emotions. I share quite a lot about my love and concerns for my two sons, and my listeners have effectively heard them grow up through me. They also listened as I battled my way through a hideous divorce that seemed to take as long as the Hundred Years' War. If you open up like that, your listeners will, too. The most powerful and moving story, which I remember to this day, was when an Auschwitz survivor told me what life was like as a 14-year-old girl in the concentration camp - something she'd not even shared with her own grandchildren.

- Which subjects tend to get the listeners most excited/angry?

The top three are: 1. Anything that hits them in the purse or wallet. 2. Safety for them and their kids. 3. Peter Mandelson's hair.

- Your show is based around a specific city and its regions. How important is this?

Marginally. If a bomb goes off on the London Tube, it's a story for the whole of Great Britain, if not the world. I don't get too excited about planning disputes for kebab shops in Finchley.

- How much of what we hear on air is the 'real' you?

One hundred per cent. If it was any less than that, then I'd feel I'd be letting everyone down and it was time to go and do something else. I never fake.

- What's your most embarrassing moment in broadcasting?

Losing Call Me A Cabbie to Lady Isabella Hervey live on ITV1. However, it was subsequently overturned on appeal and when the radio work dries up, you'll find me on the rank at Waterloo.