Profile: Katy Topping, editor, The Source - Retuning entertainment at Source

The war to be the UK’s number one entertainment news provider is being fiercely fought by Independent Radio News, the Press Association and The Source, provided by the independent production company Unique Broadcasting. Two weeks ago, The Source beat IRN to win Capital Radio’s entertainment news contract. It’s a great triumph and a huge pat on the back for The Source’s new editor, Katy Topping.

The war to be the UK’s number one entertainment news provider is

being fiercely fought by Independent Radio News, the Press Association

and The Source, provided by the independent production company Unique

Broadcasting. Two weeks ago, The Source beat IRN to win Capital Radio’s

entertainment news contract. It’s a great triumph and a huge pat on the

back for The Source’s new editor, Katy Topping.



Topping took over the editor’s job at The Source in October last year

after six months as deputy editor. Her service provides four

entertainment news bulletins a day to 44 local commercial stations

across the country.



They also make longer interviews with stars available if stations want

to run them. The bulletins include interviews, news stories, Hollywood

gossip and the latest on long-running news items like the Liam and Patsy

wedding.



’We like to get the entertainment news on air before anyone else, even

the station’s hourly news provider,’ says Topping. ’Just to prove that

we have the best contacts in the business.’



Topping joined The Source in March after a three-month stint in

television as a researcher at the BBC’s Pebble Mill headquarters. ’I

enjoyed it,’ she says, ’but I didn’t enjoy it as much as radio. You just

don’t have the same level of control. If you come up with a good

question for an interview, someone else asks it for you. Someone else

does the actual editing. It’s not as satisfying. Not that I’m a control

freak or anything.’



Despite this professional desire to return to radio, leaving Pebble Mill

must have been a bit of a disappointment for Topping. After all, it was

those very same studios that first lured her into a career in

broadcasting.



At the age of 13, her school choir performed their winning entry to a

BBC Song For Wildlife competition at Pebble Mill and, looking around her

at the busy studio, Topping thought she’d never seen such a fantastic

place in her life. It was then that she decided to work in broadcasting

and doomed herself to six years of weekends as an unpaid helper on Radio

Lancashire.



Now those lost weekends have paid off. Topping has been signing up new

stations to her feed like it was going out of fashion. Kiss and Galaxy

joined last year, and their demands for a dance music bias meant Topping

had to start adding new material to the service. She expects to provide

more tailored news services in the future as she signs up more

specialist music stations. She’s also planning to offer a full

entertainment programme to stations at some point in the future as the

service expands.



’We don’t just take EPKs (electronic press kit) and pump them out,’ she

says. ’We’ll want to do our own interviews every time. We aren’t an

advertising medium, we’re a news supplier.



’When we did Elizabeth Taylor’s 65th birthday, for instance, we

interviewed her with our own agenda. That meant we talked about her

operation and her relationship with Michael Jackson and how she was

going to be his baby’s godmother. She said that she and Jacko got on so

well because neither of them had proper childhoods. You only get that

kind of detail if you do things yourself.’



HIGHLIGHTS



1994: Trainee, Red Rose Radio



1994: Journalist, Radio Clyde



1996: Researcher, Pebble Mill



1996: Deputy editor, The Source



1996: Editor, The Source.



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