Mark spent a few years as a newsreader with Cool FM/Downtown Radio before moving to BBC Northern Ireland as a TV continuity announcer/director in 1997. In 2004, he spent six months working for BBC Broadcast as a network director at Television Centre in London. In 2009, Mark was appointed head of presentation, BBC Northern Ireland.
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Mark in April 2020.
How did you get into broadcasting?
“I first went into Downtown Radio on work experience from school as I don’t live far away from the station. That was in 1988, and from that point on I got to know people there and was in and out of the station at various times answering phones, filling envelopes with recipes – all the low-level stuff no-one else wanted to do! I then presented some radio shows for what was then BCR (Belfast Community Radio) around 1992/3 before starting work as a part-time newsreader at Downtown Radio in early 1994. I was then full-time newsreader from that summer until May 1997. I started work at BBC NI TV Presentation at the beginning of June 1997.”
Tell us about your time with TV Presentation in London
“I was on attachment to network Presentation at TV Centre for six months from September 2003. This was to allow them to release staff to prepare for the move to the Broadcast Centre. I worked on BBC Three, CBBC, CBeebies, Community Channel and BBC Food Europe which were transmitting from the Multi-Stream Area which also looked after Red Button and Interactive Ops. That area was a test ground for what was built in the Broadcast Centre and I already had experience of those systems in one pres suite at Broadcasting House, Belfast.”
When was your first TV announcing shift?
“I can’t remember the exact date of my first shift, but it was the beginning of June 1997. Other than the period on attachment, I was a full-time announcer/director until I became head of presentation (taking over from Stephen Montgomery) in 2009. Kathy Clugston and I started at much the same time in the department, working with Stephen Montgomery, John Ashe, Edgar Martin, David Olver, Ann Osborough and Jackie Godfray. That was just before the move to new digital presentation suites which came online in 1998 and saw a requirement to increase staffing in the department.”
Tell us about your current role
“I’m not on air much these days, but spend more time managing the department. I still pop up occasionally when required as it’s good to retain all the skills! I am more likely to be heard in the summer when there are more people on leave and I’ll usually cover some shifts to do my bit at holiday times.
“In normal circumstances presentation output is staffed and broadcasting live on BBC One NI from 5.30am – 2.30am weekdays and a little less at weekends. On BBC Two NI we normally cover from 10.30am – c. 1am but this varies at night depending on the output requirements. Just at the moment in the emergency period we are not staffing or scheduling programmes on BBC Two NI or BBC Two Wales – though can staff if need be. This is to keep as many people at home and safe as possible.”
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Mark which we found on social media sites or have made available from our own archive. The clips are presented here for additional reference. Inclusion of a video does not constitute an endorsement of the hosting site/channel/user. If you find any broken links below or are aware of an additional clip(s) which you believe may be a useful addition to this profile, please get in touch with us via our Contact page.