Twitter Q&A: Rishi Persad, Sports TV Presenter
Published: 12 Nov 2014
How did get to where you are today?
It definitely involved a lot of luck and being in the right place at the right time. Also, i felt prepared to take opportunities that came my way within a sport I was very comfortable with - horse racing - therefore, I was able to take real advantage of these. My work in horse racing then gave me the confidence and experiences to move into other fields!
Do you get nervous when dealing with sporting superstars?
Yes, absolutely! Because I'm a sports fan at heart, some of these people that I interview are my idols, so that can really get the heart racing!
Rishi, what sport do you personally enjoy working on the most and why?
That's a tough one! I enjoy everything I do, but I think golf events, such as The Masters, top it for me. I don't get to do these as often, which I think makes them a little more special.
How do you cope with the freelance nature of broadcasting & deal with uncertainty of where your next job will be?
I am very lucky to be in the position where both the BBC and Channel 4 are supporting me. For me, it's about managing where and when the work is coming from. If there are clashing events, I have to manage where I can/want to be, and perhaps compromise on other opportunities elsewhere.
What's your favourite venue/event that you've worked at, and why?
Definitely Augusta Nation (The Masters). The respect the 'patrons' show the venue indicates what a special and beautiful place it is.
If you could interview any sportsman or woman, past or present, who would it be?
Muhammad Ali, without question. For one, it'd be easy because he does so much talking! He's one of the greatest athletes ever and he also stood for more than sport, and I'd love to delve into those issues.
How do you deal with a difficult interviewee? Are there any particular experiences that stand out for you in this respect?
The most difficult interviewees are the ones who give you short answers, probably because they're upset with their performance. Short answers usually show their emotion in the situation though, which is positive for us, as this is what we are trying to capture. It's about preparing questions to deal with the potential difficulties you face - you can usually tell when
Rishi, if you could offer one tip to an aspiring tv presenter, what would it be?
Try not to be false! Do not change who you are, otherwise you then become an actor, which makes your job so much harder. This also makes it difficult to perform consistently!
Did you always want to be a sports broadcaster? If you weren't in sports broadcasting where would you be?
I never aimed to be on TV, I kind of just fell into it (very lucky)! My father is a lawyer and I did law at uni, so I'd probably be working in that industry.
How do you break the ice with an intimidating athlete?
It's all about gauging the situation and the mood; if they're up for a gag, or if they just want to get it done. Sometimes you'll get blunt answers when requesting interviews. You need to know how to manage this when approaching again - delicately, I suggest!
What is the most difficult event you have worked at and why?
I think the Cricket World Cups - especially the India/Sri Lanka/Bangladesh one. Logistically it was crazy, so much travel.
I aim to work on golf as a producer in the future, as a presenter what skills do you look for in a good producer?
Good preparation. It's so much easier if a producer knows what he/she wants from the show. It's great if he/she asks the team Questions and their opinions on the event, too.
What steps would you recommend aspiring presenters to take in order to gain a host/presenter position?
Become an expert. You have to know your sport inside-out. Also, make as many contacts as possible and be very nice to them! You must be able to keep your calm and control nerves. Everyone makes mistakes, but NEVER let these crush you... move on!