Square Dog Radio LLP is an independent radio production company formed in 2007 by two experienced Radio 4 freelance reporters and producers who made up one half of the quartet that set up Pennine Productions in 2000 -- now known as Pennine Productions (Archive) LLP. The original aim was to make programmes that weren't rooted in south-east England, either in conception or in production. So during the seven-year life of the old company we covered stories from northern England, Canada, Ukraine, Australia, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Austria, the USA, France, Canada, Russia, Namibia, Nepal and Guatemala. Most of those programmes were made for BBC Radio 4, with a few for World Service and Radio 3. In 2003 a legendary book producer joined the old company as a Consultant & Producer and continues to work with us in Square Dog Radio. Read on ...
Mark Whitaker: as an academic historian for many years Mark specialised in seventeenth century England and the history of political ideas. He helped with one of the earliest oral history projects in east London, and also spent several years living and teaching in Tunisia. Before any of this he almost became a professional cricketer, and continued to play the game until very recently. Unsurprisingly many of his productions have involved history or sport or both, and it was the investigative sports series On The Line (BBC2) that took him out of academia into broadcasting. He also reported for The Money Programme and Public Eye. But radio beckoned, and Mark was to spend nine years reporting for the Manchester-based File on 4. He made more than 50 programmes and won both legal and medical journalism awards. Since moving into the independent sector he’s won a Sony Silver for Land of the Oval Ball – a historical documentary about the roots of French rugby in the deep south-west of the country; and he’s also won America’s most prestigious award for environmental radio reporting. Among his particular strengths is the ability to both produce and present his programmes, operating alone in many countries around the world including India, South Africa, Bosnia, France, Australia, Guatemala, Germany and the USA. Click here for Mark's programme credits.
Mike Hally: after a first career that spanned 18 years as a senior aerospace engineer, Mike's second career in broadcasting is now more than 20 years and counting. Made many hundreds of features as a freelance reporter for You & Yours, All in the Mind and Woman's Hour in particular, before moving behind the mic as a producer on numerous editions of Mediumwave, the Message (which he also christened), Sunday and File on Four. An early adopter of each wave of new technology, including DAT recorders, mini-disks and most recently solid-state recorders, Mike has been digital editing since the original Pro Tools, and has trained many other reporters and producers in both new recording technologies and digital editing. Since co-founding Pennine Productions in 2001 and subsequently Square Dog Radio in 2006 has produced 34 of his own programmes for BBC Radio 4, and mixed nearly all of both companies' output. Many of Mike's programme ideas come from a mixture of his varied employment experience, involvement in a variety of voluntary sector activities and a multi-disciplinary honours degree with the Open University that included social science, drama, history, psychology and technology modules. His first book "Electronic Brains" came out of a Radio 4 series and was published in 2005 by Granta. Click here for Mike's programme credits.
Abby Hollick [left] is our latest collaborator, as producer and host of the hit podcast Duvet Days - for BBC Sounds. Abby is a regular freelance producer for Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. Most recently she has has produced and presented ‘Bump, Birth and Beyond’ and ‘Life After...’ for Woman’s Hour and ‘Hooked’ for Front Row. Plus, she co-produced the latest Audible podcast 'Get Happy' for Wisebuddah. Her work focuses on feminism, motherhood, mental health, sex, addiction and the arts. Abby also works as a voiceover artist and narrates the documentary series ‘Body Bizzare’ for Discovery. Listen to her work here: abigailhollick.com Or follow her on twitter: @AbbyHollick.
Margaret McCartney [right] is a part-time GP in Glasgow, a regular contributor to Radio 4's 'Inside Health' magazine programme, a columnist on the British Medical Journal, a member of the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners, author of several medical books and much more. She presents our 2-part documentary on the history of general practice in the UK - "Farewell Dr Finlay" - broadcast in July 2016. This series was Margaret's idea.
Peter Geoghegan is an Irish journalist and writer living in Glasgow, who has just presented Wrestling with the Future, about a journey to learn to wrestle in Mongolia and thus about the country and its people, on Radio 4 (produced in-house by Simon Elmes of the BBC, 1st broadcast Sept 15 2014). Peter did this as winner of the 2014 BBC/Royal Geographical Society "Journey of a Lifetime" award for a dream travel project.
He has written and reported from a range of countries including Albania, Kosovo, Egypt, Namibia, Zambia, Iceland, Ireland and Scotland. In particular he has written extensively on Northern Ireland and the independence debate in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe, and as a freelance for a range of publications including the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, the Scotsman, the Irish Times, the Times Higher Education, the Times Literary Supplement, RTE, the London Review of Books, Al Jazeera, the Dublin Review, the Christian Science Monitor and the Irish Independent. He is editor of a magazine called Political Insight for the Political Studies Association, and part of the team behind the Scottish Inquirer, Scotland’s new, innovative longform and investigative publication.
George Miller has since 2004 been producing in-depth audio interviews with authors, and in 2007 he set up the business 'Podularity' which makes quality podcasts of author for both major and niche publishers. He has produced over 150 interviews for the Blackwell Online podcast, a fortnightly books programme that features authors of quality non-fiction; a monthly podcast for Faber and Faber, featuring authors such as Peter Carey, Paul Auster and Barbara Kingsolver; and he is active as a literary translator from French. In 2010, his translation of Delphine de Vigan's No and Me was a Radio Four Book at Bedtime. George started his publishing career at Oxford University Press where he spent thirteen years, including acting as editor to Asa Briggs for the final volume of his official history of the BBC. He left OUP to become editorial director of Granta Booksin London, where he further widened his author base and range of industry contacts.
Gerry Northam's degree in Physics and Philosophy makes him that rare being, a reporter at home in both the sciences and the arts. Since joining BBC local radio in 1970 as a news reporter he's built up a strong journalistic record in radio, TV and print. Reporting on File on 4 for over 30 years, including a stint as Editor, he also spent time at Brass Tacks and Public Eye and still reports for Panorama. His programmes have covered a wide international range - from food aid policy failures in Bangladesh, through US-supported death squads in Central America, top-level political collaborators with the Sicilian Mafia, to the rebuilding of war-ravaged Bosnia and Kuwait. In Britain, he regularly reports on education and health and has taken a special interest in the criminal justice system, particularly the failures of police complaints investigators, the secret militarisation of riot squads and persistent racism through the ranks. He recorded the first inside account of Chief Constables’ training and presented a landmark series on the future of policing with Lord Scarman. On a lighter note he wrote the bee-keeping column in the Times for many years. In 2009 he presented Inside the Virtual Anthill -- Open Source Means Business for Square Dog Radio.
Dr Hermione Cockburn is a bright and enthusiastic broadcaster who specialises in science and history on radio and television. She is knowledgeable across many areas of science, particularly earth and environmental science and the history of science. She has award-winning communication skills and an academic research record in geomorphology with extensive field experience in southern Africa, Australia and Antarctica. For Square Dog Radio she has presented Thomas Midgley - A Cautionary Tale and Clair Patterson - Scourge of the Lead Industry, both of which won awards, and The Death-Ray in Your Pocket - 50 Years of Lasers. Since breaking into broadcasting in 2002 she's presented dozens of TV programmes and series including Coast, Rough Science, What the Ancients Did For Us and Fossil Detectives, which she turned into her first book; and presented a number of other radio programmes and series in addition to those made for Square Dog Radio. For several years she has been Scientific Director at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.
Gillian Hush who died on 29 June 2012 was our readings consultant and adviser on various features, in particular 15-minuters. In a broadcasting career of more than 30 years with the BBC Gillian produced talks, short stories and readings in a wide variety of genres. She was solely responsible for the Northern contributions to the Morning Story and later the Afternoon Story on Radio 4 for many years, selecting from unsolicited contributions and also commissioning established writers. She produced serials for Woman's Hour, Book at Bedtime and Storytime, and in the non-fiction field she was the producer of (among many other things) the Alan Bennett Diaries, which became one of the Radio Collection's most successful audio cassettes. Gillian lived out her retirement in Manchester remaining extremely busy right up until her sudden and unexpected death, in a variety of consultative, corporate and voluntary roles. She is very much missed by us and all who knew her.
Louise Batchelor is a lifelong news journalist who started in the classic training ground of local newspapers, Louise brings to Square Dog her particular expertise in transport, environment, religion and ethics. Her reporting career took a varied path through nations radio (BBC Scotland), television (Reporting Scotland, Newsroom South-East, World in Action and Newsnight). For 15 years she was the Environment & Transport Correspondent for BBC Scotland, and prior to that she presented Religion & Ethics series on TV (Voyager) and radio (Fringes of Faith). Since leaving the BBC in 2009, she has presented her first programme for Square Dog, The Plight of the Bumblebee, to universal acclaim from newspaper reviewers, and has a growing portfolio of other activities including teaching journalism at St Andrews University, conference facilitator and General Election hustings.
Dave Batchelor: after working as a professional musician for four years, Dave joined the BBC as a producer in the newly created Radio Scotland in 1978. During a 30 year career with the corporation, he worked in Light Entertainment, Current Affairs, Drama and Features, making programmes for Radios 2, 3, 4, 5 and Scotland.
Dave launched Radio Scotland's daily arts programming and won Sony Awards for his programmes on Robert Burns and Hugh Macdiarmid. He directed plays by William Boyd and Evelyn Waugh and produced documentaries on climate change in Fair Isle, and on The Grand Ole Opry. His final project, a recording of the complete works of Burns for the BBC's website was nominated for a Bafta. Since leaving the BBC he has spent more time making music while continuing to work in the media.