Peter Woods, producer with RTE Radio 1. He has also written two books.
Where did you go to school?
I went to the national school in Lisdoonan. We had come home from England and it was the local school. It was just the original school building a lot smaller than it is now, fewer pupils. We had a great football team, we won the Jack Finnegan cup twice. I’ve been in contact with Brendan McEnaney, the head master, occasionally since. After Lisdoonan I went to the Patrician High School in Carrickmacross. I didn’t have a particular focus at that time but History and English were always my favourite subjects. While I was at school in the Patricians I got an article published in the Irish Press – it was a short story in New Irish Writing.
What did you do after you left school?
After school I went to London, originally for the summer, but I stayed on. I worked in a variety of jobs, from bar management to social work to the building sites. From London I travelled abroad working in Germany for a while, then travelling across Europe into North Africa and on to Israel. I stayed in Israel for a year or so, I’ve kept a keen interest in Israel since.
How did you become a producer with RTE?
I moved back to Ireland in 1995, I was doing some writing and I heard that RTE had a call for producers, it was a course to become a radio producer and I applied. It’s not usual that producers are taken from outside the RTE, but I got a position and went on a three months producer’s course. After that I was assigned as producers to different radio shows on Radio 1. Since I started as a producer would have worked on shows like the Today with Pat Kenny, Marian Finucane, Vincent Browne and until recently I was the Series Producer for 5-7 Live (Radio 1s evening news show) I was four years with the show.
What does a radio producer do?
For example on 5-7 Live my day would have started around 9.30-10am, I’d meet with the shows team, which would involve reporters, editors, presenters. We would work out the schedule and the stories for the show that evening. When the show went live I’d co-ordinate the running of the show, reporters feeding in, ad breaks, story durations, breaking stories etc. It could be a very pressurised job, as everything was going out live and it was important everything ran as scheduled.
What has been the most memorial news story in your four years of producing 5-7 Live?
Undoubtedly, September 11. I was off work that day and when I heard, I went into work. Everyone from the team went to work, we produced the show for 24 hours, made contact with firemen in New York, held interviews with a range of people, brought in the news updates. It was an amazing team effort but we got it out and it was important that we did.
You have written two books, worked as a producer and created radio documentaries, how do you get the time?
When I was writing the books, I’d get up at 5.00am and write, I’d drop the kids off at school and I would go into work.
You have left 5-7 Live what are you currently doing?
I worked on 5-7 Live for 4 years and I felt it was time for a change. I’m now producing documentaries; the current one is a 15 series/show documentary on museums – More than Museums. I’m also the Series Producer of the Documentary On One and am working on a series of five programmes with the mountaineer, Dermot Somers.
What advice would you give to anyone who would be interested in pursuing a career in the media?
What’s your opinion on Carrick now?
It’s a good town, progressive, there is always something going on in it.
Thank you for your time Peter and continued succes!
Web Master, Carrickmacross.ie