Saturday, 15 December 2018

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Special Kaye: A Life On Air

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For Kaye Adams, the Grangemouth girl who became one of Scotland’s best known broadcasters, the attraction of her chosen career is clear. “I have the privilege of parachuting into the lives of personalities whom I wouldn’t otherwise have ever met,” she says. 

While those personalities are often famous, she believes the most gratifying thing about her job is the chance to become acquainted with a wide variety of people.

In fact, she is often most impressed by the number of extraordinary people who go about their lives with little public attention and no desire to operate in any spotlight. She says: “Such encounters help me to become aware of an increasingly broader spectrum of life.” 

Kaye gets plenty scope for these encounters in her current day job, hosting a radio show four mornings a week on BBC Radio Scotland during which listeners call in with their ideas, complaints, observations, and questions. 

A member of the long-running Loose Women show, Kaye was with the programme beginning with its 1999 debut. The show involved regular trips to London for the weekly shootings. After seven years, she resigned to spend more time with her two children. Three years ago, when the kids were older, she re-joined the show. She admits that the production takes a lot out of her but is fun and stimulating. 

Life for Kaye is very busy and she has to do some fancy work and home balancing. However, like everyone else in the industry, she never complains about having too much work! One thing that makes life easier is the fact that most of her programmes these days are live. For one thing, an hour-long live broadcast interview or show requires only an hour to record. On the other hand, she’s been involved in a number of pre-recorded productions and has often spent a half-day or longer to tape an hour-long broadcast while directors pursue illusive levels of perfection through a seemingly endless series of multiple takes and reshoots. “The job isn’t very exciting,” she says. 

On the other hand, when cameras begin rolling for a live broadcast, an adrenaline rush comes from the fact that nobody can completely control what will subsequently take place. “We’re working from a rough script,” she says “but anything can happen.” For example, a couple years ago on the set of Loose Women, Kaye used a remote– control spider to make a point about phobias. 

The spider was so realistic that co–host Andrea McLean ran right off the set in a state of uncontrollable panic. There’s no telling how many times the video has been viewed but entering KAYE ADAMS SPIDER in the YouTube search field reveals that it has been posted by itself or in video collections almost 1,000 times. 

Following nearly three decades in front of a microphone and camera she has achieved a comfortable level of public recognition. “I would dislike any rock-star level of fame that would force me to wear wigs, hats, and dark glasses in order to avoid getting mobbed,” she says. “But it is pleasant when people approach me with nice comments about my public persona.” It’s not surprising that Kaye finds such contacts to be pleasant because, after all, an important element of her success is the obvious comfort she takes from being with people and the pleasure she takes from talking to them. 

She acknowledges that social media is the direction in which her industry is going. She has been on Twitter for a long time but a few months ago she and Nadia Sawalha started a YouTube channel and a Facebook page, both called “Nadia and Kaye”, that focuses on the emerging market of 40-plus women who are becoming more comfortable with technology. “Our focus is more personal than topical,” Kaye says. “We’re appealing to attitude, emotion, and style rather than to events, personalities, and news.” 


Kaye Adams had a happy and uneventful childhood in Grangemouth, where her parents owned a haulage business. After graduating from Grangemouth High School, she enrolled in the University of Edinburgh and earned a degree in Economics and Politics. 

Kaye said that the shape of things to come in her life began to appear when she started writing articles for the student newspaper, appropriately called The Student, which was founded two centuries ago by Robert Louis Stevenson. Kaye is part of a legacy of famous media people who began their careers writing for the publication. The newspaper provided Kaye with professional level exposure to all parts of the industry including reporting, photographing, copy-editing, illustrating, graphic design, and marketing. She graduated with honours in the class of 1984. 

Kaye’s university degree plus her experience working on The Student were enough for her to secure a position as a graduate trainee with Birmingham’s Central Television. She will always be grateful for the substantial experience the position offered of being involved in the day-to-day operations of a large company. 

After four years, Kaye moved back to Scotland and got a position with the STV, which was known at that time as Scottish Television. Kaye began doing local news reporting plus moderating discussions and debates on various programmes. During the 90s she added freelance work to her Scottish Television assignments, with BBC, Channel 4, and Channel 5. 

Kaye is in a long-term relationship with Ian Campbell who was a coach at the Glasgow tennis club where she was a member and played several times a week. They were casual friends for quite a while before he asked her to have a pizza with him. “Perhaps there was some magical ingredient in that pizza,” Kaye says. Whatever the explanation, something started that day that is still happening two decades later. 

Kaye and Ian have two daughters: Bonnie is nearly 10; Charly is 14. They play tennis sometimes but Kaye said that she and Ian will never force them into anything. Charly is a member of a gymnastics club. She has no aspirations to be at an elite level or to compete in the 2020 Olympics. She simply enjoys the discipline and likes to keep fit. Her little sister Bonnie is having fun with a broad range of activities. She belongs to a swimming club, plays tennis, and enjoys simply hanging out with pals. 

Kaye said that she’s always been a bit of a planner but is now learning the advantage of flexibility. “After all,” she adds, “even though planning is important, we will be disappointed if we fail to take into account the fact that life often veers into an unplanned detour.” She recalls Rabbie Burns famous observation, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.” 

As time passes Kaye is increasingly more aware of the advantages of leaving options open. “In particular, I don’t want to even think about retirement. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing until it isn’t fun anymore.”


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