Communications Officer
British Horseracing Authority

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Owen B

00:00:03 My name’s Owen B and I’m Communications Officer for the British Horseracing Authority. I’ve got quite a varied role, but it deal with essentially most of the communications angles of, business. I’m the deputy spokesman for the organisations, so I deal with press queries, any complaints, any research they need doing. I do our Annual Report every year, and I make sure the website we have is up to date, it’s got the relevant information for quite a varied range of people. We’re kind of promoting the sport, as well as providing a website that’s got some functional information, and some detailed information on the rules of racing, which are – this thick. And I’ve got to get them on a website for people to understand quite simply, rather than having to go through such a document like that.

00:00:48 I suppose since the age of 10 I got into horse racing, and although I wasn’t from a racing family I wanted to work in racing in some way. I was at school with a couple of guys whose parents were race horse trainers, and one of them took us round his yard and I kind of got interested in it through that, like I thought what’s all this about. And followed his Dad’s horses when they were running, that sort of thing. And then I built on that, took myself to the races, and got into it through that.

00:01:14 I mean throughout school and University I wanted to do as well as I could in those – in the subjects I’d chosen to do, rather than gearing all the subjects towards a relevant career. So I never kind of wanted to be a doctor or a – my parents are both doctors, I never wanted to follow their footsteps, so I was quite open in what I wanted to be. And I kind of focused more on getting the best grades I could, rather than on a career. I was lucky in that I was in the right place at the right time. I did a graduate course in Racing that involved two weeks here at the British Racing School after graduation, and then we did a placement down in London, which was two months. And I worked at the headquarters of racing – the Jockey Club, as it was known then. A job came up in their Press Office at the right time – I had – think I had the right qualities that got me the job.

00:02:45 I think I every day is different. You get new races every day, so the complaints and the queries that come in every day are always different, and so just the novelty of each day’s work is good. I’ve had some very good queries actually, such as when it was the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, a parish phoned up wanting to know what her racing colours were, so they could use those colours for the flowers in their Parish Church. It was just a nice little query, very easy to deal with. Complaints I get in about either jockeys hitting their horses too much with the whip, or jockeys barging other horses in a race. Or people who don’t think their jockey’s been trying hard enough in a race. In my first few years there, there was a lady who phoned in, and she wanted to know where she could get a whip from. And I said well what sort of horses are you dealing with, kind of eventing or show jumping or racing? And she said Oh it’s not for horses love. So I told her where she could find the local Ann Summers.

00:03:02 My job’s certainly developed my people skills quite a lot, because I deal with such a variety of people, mixtures of age, quite a lot of angry calls, but also some very nice calls, and I’ve learnt to deal with every call on its merits. That’s a great skill I’ve developed. And through doing the Annual Report every year I’ve loved working with photographers and designers, it’s kind of brought out quite a creative side, to make sure I’m showing off the company in the best light. Ultimately I do a job to live. The job pays what I like to live, but I’m lucky in that my hobby – what started out as a hobby – is now a job, but it’s remained a hobby right throughout my job, so I’m lucky that I – and I’m not sure many people in the country can say this – but I mix a hobby with my job. I suppose we take the sport – sport’s meant to be fun, but we take it seriously.

00:03:50 ENDS


Owen B is Communications Officer for the British Horseracing Authority. He deals with the annual report, the website and enquiries from the public. He has to field both nice and angry calls. “When it was the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, a parish phoned up wanting to know what her racing colours were, so they could use those colours for the flowers in their Parish Church.” People often phone to complain that jockeys hit the horses too hard. He particularly enjoys working with photographers and designers to promote horse racing in its best light.

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The UK average salary is £29,813

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There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

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? Public relations professionals plan, organise and co-ordinate the activities that promote the image and understanding of an organisation and its products or services to consumers, businesses, members of the public and other specified audiences.
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