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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 June 2007, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Inside Inside Money
Piggybank
BBC Radio 4's Inside Money programme is broadcast every summer while BBC Radio 4's Money Box takes a break.

Each programme gives a BBC Radio 4 listener the chance to explore a financial issue which gets them hot under the collar.

But what do they get from the experience? Read the stories of listeners who have taken part in previous programmes.

ADAM POTTER

Adam Potter joined Inside Money in 2007. He was worried about the threat posed by rising prices, and got the chance to put his concerns directly to Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England.

BBC Radio 4 Listener Adam Potter with Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King

"I decided to take part as I would be able to involve myself in a subject that is wildly different from my day to day job.

I kept an open mind but I wanted to meet some interesting people and listen to what they had to say. It was fascinating meeting the Governor of the Bank of England as well as Professor Congdon and Roger Bootle.

The most surprising aspect was the warmth and openness of the interviewees. The discussions we had after the formal interviews were very interesting.

When I heard the final programme I thought I actually sounded as though I knew what I was talking about!

Of course I would recommend other people to get involved - anyone should jump at the chance."

STEPHEN HUNT

Stephen Hunt joined Inside Money in 2007. He wanted to investigate whether the government's proposals to encourage greater take up of long-term fixed-rate mortgages would benefit the housing market.

BBC Radio 4 Listener Stephen Hunt

"I decided to take part in Inside Money because it was a opportunity to set the agenda of a programme and make use of the power of the BBC to ask the questions that I wanted answers to.

My favourite part of the process was learning how a programme is put together. I now watch or listen to programmes and can see how the process happens.

I very much enjoyed the experience, and was very happy with the final programme. My wife however used the CD to get our baby daughter to sleep. It worked every time!

I would recommend other people to get involved - if the opportunity arose they would be crazy not to. It may have taken a few days, but it is hard to think how better to spend your time."

NIALL CONNOLLY

Uniquely, Niall Connolly has made two Inside Money programmes, joining the team in 1997 and 2006.

BBC Radio 4 Listener Niall Connolly

"In 1997 I made a programme about the problems of the housing market and what could be done to resolve them. It allowed me to meet many of the influential players including the then minister with responsibility Geoff Hoon. In 2006 I was fortunate to make a follow-up programme about Home Information Packs to see where the government's deliberations and consultations had taken us in the last 9 years.

Some 3 days before the programme aired in July 2006, the minister Yvette Cooper announced that the core of the HIP was to be shelved. It is now uncertain as to what part, if any, of the project will survive.

It is hard to assess what part in the decision the Inside Money programme played. Government would say that it played no part at all, and it would be unrealistic to suggest the programme of itself caused the government's u-turn. But I am certain that it made a significant contribution.

As a member of the public the programme offered me levels of access which, normally, I doubt that I could have obtained. It gave me the opportunity to share my reservations about government policy with government itself at ministerial level and it offered me a direct and informative insight into the workings of government.

If a casebook study was needed to show why the UK needs a publicly funded and editorially independent broadcasting service then this experience of the BBC is that study."

EMMA KOUBAYSSI

Emma Koubayssi joined Inside Money in 2006. Like many young workers she was keen to find out how to fulfil her dream of buying her first property.

BBC Radio 4 Listener Emma Koubayssi

"I thought making an Inside Money programme would be something different, an interesting but informative experience. I realised I would have access to people and advisers that as an individual I probably wouldn't have. And I respected the programme so I knew it would be a beneficial and worthwhile project to take part in.

The most surprising aspect of taking part was the advice that I was given. I didn't realise in my financial position I would be able to take advantage of the type of things the mortgage adviser told me about.

I loved hearing the final programme and was really proud of the outcome. It was great hearing it all come together and how it was edited it down.

I would definitely recommend that other people get involved. I really enjoyed every aspect of it."

TONY ABRAMSON

Tony Abramson joined Inside Money in 2002. He wanted to investigate controversial investments known as "split capital investment trusts" which had proved disastrous for tens of thousands of people.

BBC Radio 4 Listener Tony Abramson

"I would encourage anyone fortunate enough to be invited to participate in Inside Money to grasp the opportunity enthusiastically. I got the rare opportunity to redress a gross financial misdeed, see some of the internal machinations of governmental and financial institutions, meet and interview the "movers and shakers" and, to some extent, see how BBC Radio 4 works.

It's also great fun, flattering to be invited and a memorable experience. We were particularly fortunate in having the world famous economist JK Galbraith on the programme. I had admired him for many years and his comparison of the "Splits" scandal with similar activity leading up to the Great Crash of 1929, which he experienced, illustrated the importance of knowing history.

In our case we made a contribution to resolving a financial scam and helped gain, eventually, substantial, if incomplete, compensation for nearly everyone affected.

I was quite apprehensive before the broadcast but should have been more confident as the production team did an excellent job.

JANET GILLIS

Janet Gillis joined Inside Money in 2005. She was wrestling with the dilemma of which Child Trust Fund to choose to save for her son's future.

BBC Radio 4 Listener Janet Gillis

"The opportunity of getting free, expert advice along with the chance to take part in the production of a real radio programme was too good to pass up!

I learned about the set up of the Child Trust Fund and about the various different options for investment. What I didn't get was 'an answer'. I realised that there was no definitive answer for me or for anyone else. But the advice and information I gathered while making the programme helped me to make an informed choice about what was the most appropriate solution for my son.

One of the most surprising things about taking part was the level of people I got to meet and question. These were very high level people whom I would never have met in the usual course of things, let alone been able to question.

I can honestly say that there was not a single thing about taking part that I did not enjoy. The experience of making a radio programme was as fascinating to me as investigating the topic with experienced journalists and informed and informative experts. It was an opportunity to get an inside view into both the world of money and that of broadcasting.

I was impressed with the final programme. It was really interesting to hear how three days of interviews and information had been pared down to make a half hour broadcast. It provided clear and useful information which I am sure helped others to unravel the CTF maze for themselves and come to their own decision about what was right for them and their children.

Anyone who gets the chance to take part in 'Inside Money' should leap at it! Not only will you get top quality information from reliable sources for nothing but you will also have a lot of fun along the way!"

MARY RAY

Mary Ray joined Inside Money in 2004. She wanted to investigate soaring property prices, and what action, if any, the government could take to stabilise the market.

What a privilege to get to challenge a government minister

"I wrote saying I'd love to take part because was so cross about house prices and the fact that the govt was doing nothing to control them.

I hoped to get a chance to challenge the financial services industry and govt ministers and to get a good summary of the strategies they could use to control prices and why it's so important to do it.

I thought the final programme was really well edited - 30 minutes from clear arguments from over 4 hours of interviews. There was only one minor disappointment: I was really pleased with three of the questions I asked Ruth Kelly and didn't feel she answered them. Only one of those questions actually survived the edit. It was a good question!

It was a great experience I'd recommend to anyone. Lesley and the team did everything to make it smooth and easy as well as endlessly interesting. What a privilege to get to challenge a government minister."




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