An Interview with Johna Johnson, who co-hosts Recovery Radio with Dominic Maddocks, which is broadcast on BCB Radio 106.6fm.
“The questions are designed to let people say what they want.”
What is the show about?
Recovery Radio is a show about people who are in any kind of recovery from substance misuse, mental health, alcohol abuse or any other form of addiction. It is also for service providers to promote what they do in that field. The only agenda is to make services work better for everyone. In my head it works like a central hub linking all the services and people who are addicted or in recovery. Our vision is to give everyone a clearer understanding of what it is like from each perspective in the hope of encouraging positive relations between the services and their clients.
What topics do you cover?
We’ve had many people; service providers, inspirational stories from people in recovery. They talk about lots of things, such as what made them start their recovery, what life is like in recovery, and where they see themselves in the future. For service providers we ask about what service they provide, their aims and client base, how people access their service. The questions are designed to let people say what they want.
Why did you start the show?
I met a lot of nice people in recovery and I just wanted to give something back and have a positive effect on society – “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
“I just wanted to give something back.”
And how did you get involved?
I got involved with Recovery Radio by accident really. I was working as a volunteer at UNITY and there was a leaflet sent offering training for BCB Recovery Radio. I went along to organise the session for people showing an interest in getting involved, but when I turned up only four of us were there, so we became Recovery Radio.
How was Recovery Radio established?
Recovery Radio came about in 2014 when Dave Robinson, who was a surf rep, contacted Mary at BCB about running an abstinence based radio show. So then Mary and Dave put in a business plan to obtain money from a fund set up by Russell Brand, and they won a pot of money. The original title was “Clean Scene”. I think the initial idea was to give service users a voice to try and de-stigmatise people in addiction. Dave then went round all the services to promote the show to see who would be involved, and decided to include segments on their work as well as inspirational recovery stories.
How did the name become “Recovery Radio”?
At the time it was set up to deal primarily with addiction but I thought we should include mental health issues as it was a common denominator in most addictions. Instead of concentrating on the addictive side we opened it up to anyone dealing with the wider issues of addiction – mental well-being, benefits, homelessness. We all agreed to change the name and the format to Recovery Radio, which would deal with all aspects of recovery.
“Instead of concentrating on the addictive side we opened it up to anyone dealing with the wider issues of addiction – mental well-being, benefits, homelessness.”
What impact do you think and hope Recovery Radio has?
I think Recovery Radio makes a positive contribution to this field. It’s there for anyone to access whether you are a service user, carer or a service provider. It can be a service that links everyone to the wider community, connecting services and people.
What one thing would you change to help improve things for people in Bradford?
There are quite a few things that would help but the first one that springs to mind is to let people stay in hospital long enough to get full treatment, rather than moving them on as soon as possible.
Do you play music on the show? Do you have a favourite artist?
We don’t play music on the show but we ask our guests if there is a song or a genre of music that helped their recovery. My favourite band is Adam and the Ants, 1977-79, not the “Stand and Deliver” pop version.
The programme is aired every four weeks, and past programmes can be accessed at http://podcasts.canstream.co.uk/bcb/index.php?cat=Community%20Programmes