Meet John Stratford

31 March 2010, 11:18

John is Heart Oxfordshire's news editor.

What's the best Story you’ve worked on?

I'm really proud of the first story I uncovered when I moved to Oxford.  I'd heard a rumour a lot of power cuts were happening around Chesterton and Middleton Stoney near Bicester, so we did a bit of investigating and it turned out they'd been caused by cows rubbing themselves up against a pylon!  It became the lead story for the first news bulletin I ever read on the station now known as Heart Oxfordshire!

Who's the most famous person you’ve interviewed?

I got to interview snooker player Steve Davis quite early on in my career and contrary to his ‘Mr Boring’ image, he was actually a real laugh – I remember he shook my hand when I said I’d grown up playing with a children’s miniature Steve Davis snooker table with his signature on the box! 

What's you favourite place in Oxfordshire to visit

The grounds of Blenheim Palace are great to walk around, but I also really enjoy just walking round the historic streets of Oxford city centre.  Because the radio station's studios are out on an industrial estate, outside the Ring Road, it's easy to forget the hundreds of years of heritage just on our doorstep.

What's your favourite pub in Oxfordshire

I love The Trout at Wolvercote, and I have a really clear memory of sitting outside next to the river in spring last year.  The sun was out, I had a cold beer in my hand and all was good in the world!  The Head of the River pub in Oxford is also fantastic!

What do you love most about your job?

No two days are the same, and there's always a new challenge to deal with!

What do you dislike about your job?

Getting up in the middle of the night to do the news at breakfast is not particularly pleasant.  Some people might think it strange, but I regard getting up at 7am as something of a lie-in!  I'm also not a fan of elections because balancing our coverage is just so much more difficult!

What's your favourite thing about Oxfordshire?

I love the history of the ancient streets of Oxford City Centre, and I love being able to look at the city’s dreaming spires by standing somewhere like The Ridgeway or Boars Hill, where you can get a really good view!

If you weren’t a journalist what would you be?

Probably wishing I was a journalist.  If my mum had her way, I'd probably be a teacher!

What's the best thing about working for Heart?

It's great working for a radio station I used to listen to as a teenager.  I also remember really enjoying Club Classics when I was at university.  The music is great, and there's a really positive buzz about the station.

Who would you most like to interview?

Because of the fact she never gives them, I would love to interview The Queen.  That would be some scoop, and I’m sure her responses would be mind-blowing!

What do you do when you're not reading the news?

A lot of the time you will find me catching up on missed sleep, but I also go running and swimming, to the cinema and sometimes to the pub!

What's the last album you bought?

This will sound very retro, but it was Kim Wilde's Greatest Hits.  She headlined the Saturday at the 80s Rewind Festival in Henley last summer and while we were all thinking she wouldn't be that great, she actually blew us all away and reminded us that she had so many other hits than just 'Kids in America' and 'You Keep Me Hangin' On'.  I'm really looking forward to Rewind this year!

The first record you ever bought?

I'm not quite sure of the actual first record I ever bought, but one of them was certainly 'Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini' by Bombalurina and Oxford United fan Timmy Mallett.  Embarassing I know, but it did get to number one.  I also still have the 7-inch vinyl single at home.

What's your favourite film?

My all-time favourite is 'Apollo 13', which has probably got a lot to do with my interest in space.  The 'Back To The Future' movies come a close second.

What are your favourite TV shows?

This is going to sound quite sad for a journalist, but I'm a big fan of 'Have I Got News For You' (although it's not quite as good as it used to be!).  I'm also a fan of classic Simpsons episodes (again, the latest ones aren't quite as good as they used to be) as well as 'The Apprentice' and 'Ashes to Ashes'.