Date: Tuesday February 26, 2019 at 1:07pm
My name’s Hal Stewart (real name
and no it’s not short for anything) and I’m a broadcaster for Forces Radio
BFBS. When I was a lad (and by that I mean young and small, now I’m just old
and small) I wanted three things from my chosen profession. Firstly, a rewarding
job, secondly a personalised name branded gilet and finally the opportunity to
work with like-minded beautiful, talented and intelligent colleagues. So, two
out of three ain’t bad.
I’ve worked for Forces Radio BFBS
since 2010 and in that time I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some really
big name celebrities like Bryan Adams, Jackie Chan and Mr Blobby. The real joy
though comes from getting to work alongside our Armed Forces and I’ve done that
in Germany and Afghanistan, these will remain career highlights. Germany
allowed me to experience Hohne in the winter, pretty cold, Paderborn in the
summer, pretty hot and Munster in the spring, pretty…pretty.
In Afghanistan it was two separate
tours that I enjoyed, one in the summer and one around Christmas time. I’ll
start backwards with the final trip to the country on Operation Herrick 17.
There I followed 4th Mechanized Brigade across Helmand Province.
‘The Black Rats’ as they are known, allowed me unprecedented access, I got a
great insight into the inner workings of the Brigade as well as the chance to
see huge swathes of Afghanistan. The work of the men and women I met,
interviewed and, in many cases, became friends with, was rewarded when I was
presented with a Silver trophy at the prestigious New York Festival Radio
Awards in Manhattan, New York for my 5-part documentary series ‘Hal Stewart’s
Black Rat Tour’.
It was also during my time in
Afghanistan that I had the opportunity to work alongside the Radio 1 team and
their then afternoon presenter, Greg James. He was broadcasting live each
weekday from our BFBS studios in Camp Bastion. I spent 5 days working alongside
him, on and off air. It was a wonderful experience and I know Greg got a real
insight into the sterling work we do day in and day out bringing families
closer together through our output.
I mentioned this would be
backwards, my first time in Afghanistan, Operation Herrick 14, I was there at
the same time as my serving Royal Marine cousin, Major Mark Dornan. We are
close but I hadn’t actually seen him since his wedding day in Plymouth 3 years
prior, I then bumped into him in the Camp Bastion cookhouse and, due to my
decision to grow an enormous beard for what I dubbed ‘Op beardy’, he didn’t
recognise me! It took some explaining and quizzical looks from his pals before
the penny dropped and we exchanged the most awkward of family hugs any human
has ever laid eyes on. It takes a war-zone to bring our family together.
In the years following Afghanistan
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Canada and cover the Invictus Games,
I’ve achieved an on-air Guinness World Record for ‘Most Known Movie Quotes’ and
won a second New York Festival Radio Award, a gold this time, for a radio
documentary I created alongside my colleague Richard Hatch about the life of a
At time of writing I’m based in
the HQ of the radio station, Chalfont Grove in leafy Buckinghamshire, presenting
an afternoon show 1-4pm Mon-Fri and the Saturday Sport Show 2-6pm. You can hear
what’s going on via a multitude of options: DAB+ in the UK, Sky channel 0211,
freesat 786, www.forces.net, the BFBS Radio app, FM in UK bases and in selected
overseas locations. It would be good to hear from you whether serving,
ex-serving, friend of, family member or you just like the radio stations mix of
music and chat. I’m on firstname.lastname@example.org I
got a shorter email address than anyone else at the company because there
are no other Hal’s!