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My Influences: Steve Houghton, Head of Audio, BBC Sport

Steve Houghton BBC Sport

Steve Houghton is BBC Sport’s head of audio. He oversees a range of live sport programmes on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds – including 5 Live Sport, Monday Night Club and The Path to Paris – and is currently planning for a huge summer of sport in 2024. 

BBC Radio 5 Live, which celebrates its 30th birthday today, will broadcast live coverage and commentary from the Men’s Euros, the Olympic Games, Wimbledon, the Open golf and the Solheim Cup in 2024.

BBC Audio Sport also produces a number of successful sport podcasts on Sounds – titles such as Football Daily, Women’s Football Weekly, Rugby Union Weekly and Fantasy 606.

Here, Houghton shares his top three influences that have shaped his life and career.

The person that has inspired my working career the most, and why

You’ve got to go back 30 years to a Politics A-Level class at Colchester Sixth Form College. My teacher, Neil Kelly, had a weekend job as a part-time reporter and commentator with BBC Essex, covering Colchester United (also my team). I had an idea that I would like to go into sports journalism and Neil encouraged me, taking time to listen back to practice reports I’d recorded while watching matches on TV at home. He got me to write to BBC Essex to ask to help out on their Saturday sports programme and after a year or so I was out reporting on non-league matches in the county. I was on my way. There are countless others Neil has helped to begin journeys into broadcasting, including one Dermot O’Leary who was also a non-league reporter at BBC Essex at that time. And Neil is still commentating on Colchester United for the station!

The place that has inspired my working career the most, and why

Working at the old BBC Television Centre was a huge thrill. You could sense the history of broadcasting as you walked its corridors and on the fifth floor was the Radio Sport office. There I learnt about the craft of putting together live radio programmes and luckily some of them also featured huge sporting moments. That office could be an intimidating place but it was also an inspiring one.  

The thing that has inspired my working career the most, and why

Those of us who work in sports journalism and broadcasting often we say we feel lucky to do so. We are doing something that is a passion and I’m pleased to say that has remained the case for me throughout my career. So the answer is sport – it inspires me and I love that we help feed other people’s passion for it every week.

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