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Caroline Raphael: Finding the Focus to Make Great Radio

Caroline Raphael: Finding the focus to make good radio

At Freedom we love our users – not just because they use our product, but because they’re cool – cool people working on cool stuff. Academy Award-nominated screenwriters, best-selling authors, editors, designers, star TV actors & writers, academic researchers, explorers, and entrepreneurs – the Freedom community is packed with curious, creative, and efficient go-getters. We love to share their stories and advice, because how better to learn about productivity than from the productive?

Meet Caroline Raphael.

Caroline worked for BBC Radio in London for many years as a producer, an editor of youth programmes, the Head of Radio Drama, and latterly as Commissioning Editor Comedy for BBC Radio 4, where she commissioned shows that started on radio but went onto be TV hits such as Little Britain, The Mighty Boosh, The League of Gentleman and radio hits such as Cabin Pressure and Dead Ringers.  She now runs a small audio production company, Dora Productions, producing drama, comedy, and documentaries for BBC Radios 3 and 4.


First of all, how did you break into your industry – how did it all start for you?

It was completely by accident.  I was a theatre director by profession when I bumped into an old colleague who told me BBC Radio was looking for script readers.  As a radio lover and anxious about work (UK theatre going through tough times in the early 1980s) I wrote to the BBC and got a job.  10-week contract turned into 34 years!  And now I’m working as an independent radio producer selling programmes back to my old employee.

What does an average day look like for you?  

No such thing other than a tedious breakfast routine of museli and decaff coffee.  So sad.  The best days are meeting writers and performers to discuss work in progress and new ideas.

As someone who has worn many hats, how do you focus on what’s most important?  

With enormous difficulty.  I LOVE  things-to-do lists (on paper) and my diary (paper) and work from one deadline to another trying to pencil in thinking time.


When are you most/least productive, and how does this shape your daily working routine?  

Mornings – ghastly.  Think I’m better late at night but that might just be wishful thinking!


What are some of your biggest distractors that prevent you from doing some of your most important work and how do you conquer them?   

Biscuits.  Cake.  Chocolate.  Twitter.  BBC news sites.  Property porn.  Which is where Freedom comes in.  My son recommended it to me and thank heavens.  The moment I click that ‘Start a session’ I stop wanting to go online.  Can you invent something to stop the craving for chocolate?


What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?  

Helping drama and comedy performers do their best work, push themselves a little bit further, and getting them on air.


What resources or tools do you use on a daily basis that you have found useful to your process?

Freedom, as above.  Notebooks and my special pens and pencils.


What do you do outside of your work routine that helps you stay productive?

If only…. I find art exhibitions particularly fruitful.  Probably something about using another part of my brain although I’ve always believed the best radio/audio is visual.


What project are you currently most excited about?

My most recent radio play has just gone out on BBC Radio 4 and I’m really proud of it.  You can hear it here for the next month:  And have documentary series about the dot going out later this month.


Where are you currently based?



To learn more about Caroline or her work, visit her website at Dora Productions.