From Rio to Riverside: Introducing our new Sports Editor

It’s not your usual gap year adventure, volunteering at an Olympics on the other side of the world without the comfort of a friend’s company. But in 2016 Riverside Radio’s brand new sports editor Alice Neil found herself doing exactly that, stationed primarily at the rugby sevens. It was to be no epiphany though, even if it ignited a passion for live sport that has grown ever since.

“I wish I could say it convinced me to be a sports journalist. I used to speak to people in the media in Rio and think it would be really cool, but I never had any idea that I could one day be doing it myself.”

Riverside Radio is the latest in a line of beneficiaries of Alice’s talents, which includes household names such as BBC London, the Running Channel and LBC.

As a not for profit volunteer led local radio station, Riverside Radio’s coverage of sport is firmly located within our surrounding community. It was this that primarily attracted Alice to the role, since she felt it represented an opportunity to engage more personally with the various communities on Riverside Radio’s patch, with whom she first became familiar during a year at South London Press. It was here she learnt a mantra that has stayed with her - a hack’s summary of local journalism - which was: “ordinary people, extraordinary stories”.

When asked if sporty, the answer is most definitely “yes”, though she admits her weekend is not as good as over if her team loses. At the heart of her appreciation of sport is its ability to bring people together, citing the recent Wales-Ukraine match as an example of this. She makes a similar point about the Riverside Radio sports team, whose individual pursuits are disparate and wide-ranging, yet they come together every week to produce a show that piques all manner of interests. And even when she’s coming off a nightshift with LBC, she comes to Riverside Radio with a smile on her face.

“There’s an amazing sense of camaraderie within the sports team. “Even when I’m tired, I love turning up at Riverside Radio and working with everyone to produce our show.

As Alice finishes her MA in Broadcast Journalism at City University in a couple of weeks, she looks forward to her summer at Riverside Radio, before ITV beckons come the autumn.

Not bad for someone who graduated in 2020 with no idea of what she wanted to do.