Ros Atkins

Ros with WHYS listener Jared in Kampala, UgandaHi. I’ve been presenting WHYS since it started, first as a cover presenter and then as a fixture when Steve and then Anu moved on. Before joining WHYS full-time, I was also presenting The World Today and The Ticket on the BBC World Service and Up All Night on BBC Radio Five Live. That was always covering for colleagues though so it was a huge thrill when Mark offered me a regular gig.

I can’t stop checking our blog and am always badgering WHYS colleagues about one thing or another (‘blog rants’ as one kindly put it). So I’ve come on as I paid little attention to computers for quite a while. When friends at college were emailing each other I was hand-writing essays, and I can still remember having to ask a friend what to do once I’d typed in a website address.

That was more recently than I’d care to admit but fortunately the next year I got a job editing carlton.com (a now defunct UK TV company) and managed to get into the swing of things. From there I went on to edit timeout.com and it was only when they made us redundant that I actually got on with trying to get into radio.

My first job was on the Simon Mayo programme on Five Live and a certain Mark (WHYS Editor) was in charge. He got me working on an Internet hour that we used to do. I don’t know how good it was (in fact I do, and it frequently wasn’t), but it got us both thinking about how live radio and the Internet can work together. Fortunately Mark worked it out a few years later.

Ros guards the satphone in GhanaI lived in Port of Spain and Nassau while growing up, and Johannesburg after college, and got heavily into the history and music of southern Africa and the Caribbean. (I used to run a night in Brixton playing tunes from both regions but fatherhood has put pay to that, at least temporarily). And the travelling keeps on coming as we’ve been lucky enough to take WHYS all over the place. Meeting some of you thousands of miles from home and hearing how you listen to the show and what you like and don’t like is always the highlight. I can never quite get my head round it.

I’m well aware I don’t always get it right when hosting WHYS so suggestions on how I moderate our discussions are very welcome. There’s a page about me here that bbcworldservice.com asked me to do, but I’m not sure there’s much there that adds to this.

Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg, Carlton TV, Time Out, BBC Radio Five Live


Newspapers: I often read the Sydney Morning Herald, the LA Times, the Mail and Guardian online, and I buy The Guardian most days (typical BBC you may say, but I think it’s the best on British news-stands.) as I love its G2 and sports sections. But as all the papers are strewm over our desks at work, I see them all.

Websites: MediaGuardian, CamberwellBlog, BBC News, BBC Sport, Drudge Report, YouTube, Google

Radio: BBC World Service, BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Radio 4 compete for my attention in the morning. I’m pretty religious about listening to Five Live Sport on the way home after WHYS. I like 1xtra for the soca and drum and bass, Radio 1, Gaydar and Galaxy for dance music at the weekend, thejazz occasionally though it can be a bit easy listening (and it’s closing), and sometimes BBC7 for comedy.

Have just bought a HUMAX hard-drive which is changing everything. It’s all over for ads. I have no channel allegiance, though definitely turn to the BBC and Sky over ITV for news.

I used to subscribe to Table Tennis Illustrated but those days are gone. I have a bag full of newspapers to read and never really buy mags.

36 Responses to “Ros Atkins”

  1. 1 amosamos
    April 15, 2008 at 15:04

    Where have all these pictures been all these years????

    I have been following BBC for aver 10 (WHYS for about 4 years) and for Heavens’ sake, I have been looking out everywhere to see more of your faces.

    I had to search through BBC web address and through flickr and only succeeded in seeing a few (which were rather ‘straight’ official pictures) Seeing Peter Dan and Ros Atkins those ‘casual’ pictures only makes me a whole lot closer to your team. I tend to have a perfect picture in my head of what the folks that produce my best program on radio actually look like.

    Pls post up more of your pictures for your dear listeners.

    Love you guys…….

  2. April 15, 2008 at 17:05

    Hi Precious Ros. May I ask you some questions : Who’s your favourite singer(or band)?! Do you have any particular favourite song that you’d always love to listen to ?! Please tell us a little bit more about yourself as a human being, not only as a BBC employee. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  3. April 15, 2008 at 18:02

    Ros, I am fan, plain and simple! I cannot believe that I just joined the blog. However, I have been listening to the BBC a whiles now and WHYS, in particular, and have always thought – what a different and interesting kind of programme. I am especially interested in hearing from all these people across the world! To be invited to speak live on the programme last week was a highlight for me! Thanks to you and the WHYS team for that!

    On a side note, I am also interested in broadcast journalism and have been trained and worked in the area, in the past, so I am always listening to you guys to learn new things. Keep up the good job. Perhaps one of these days I will find my way over at the BBC! LOL!

  4. 4 Virginia Davis
    April 15, 2008 at 19:13

    Ros: Nice to know a bit more about you. You are a cheerful presence! Virginia in Oregon

  5. April 15, 2008 at 20:22

    I agree with you totally Virginia. And let me say that there’re so many things that I like alot about Ros, as a presenter and as a good friend. But the thing that I like the most about him is his lively, energetic voice and attitude. Keep on the good work Precious Ros. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  6. April 15, 2008 at 22:06

    I think there is no one of all the listeners who knows Ros better than I do. He has a potent combination of everything. Just that he finds the time to read all my emails to him and answer them in a short time is really something. It’s been more than two years regularly send him emails.

    He has, like the rest of the team, the ability to connect with everyone regardless of geography or nationality. The only thing I worry about is whether he will be one day be fed up with my regular emails to him. A part from this, he is the voice of BBC WHYS. He is easy to connect to as he has the skill to keep conversations without making them sound dull.

  7. 7 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 16, 2008 at 03:08

    🙂 Hi, Ros!

    Thanks indeed for sharing this information with us! It’s lovely to gat to know you more and know the people behind the team. I agree with Lubna: I’d really like to know about your charming family and more things about you and your team. Also, like Amosamos, I was looking for pcs of you and the rest of the WHYS team, but it’s almost impossible! 😛

    Congratulations for your excellent job: You’re a great host and you make people get connected to the show easily. Also, you and the team make an excellent job with the blog. My best wishes for you, Ros! May God bless you!

    Hugs from Colombia! 😉

  8. 8 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 16, 2008 at 04:13

    It’s me again! 😀

    Dear Ros, if you don’t mind I’d like to ask you the same question I asked Peter: What have been the best and worst experiences working in the WHYS team? I suppose you have many experiences to tell, don’t you? 🙂

  9. 9 Ana Milena, Colombia
    April 16, 2008 at 06:32

    Cool! 🙂
    It’s great to know more about you, Ros! You’re a kind person as I can see, as well as a warm host!
    When reading your profile, I found interesting the fact that, whereas computers previously were out of question for you, now you spend most of your day surfing the web. Amazing!

    Never change your way! 🙂

  10. 10 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 16, 2008 at 16:33

    Hey, Colombia! Too many smilies! lol

  11. April 21, 2008 at 13:32

    Ros,having been to so many countries a round the globe I guess you must be able to speak many languages too.I along with many WHYS listners in Nairobi had a wonderful time with you and your company during you’r visit to Africa in May 2007.It was really a very memorable trip.(we can only hope that we will have a repeat of it very soon.)Ros I am not sure wether or not you are able to picture me in your mind but all the time we had together will remain in our hearts atleast for a couple of months to come.
    Ros,Many people in Europe,America or Asia do beleive that us(africans) live in extreme poverty and that our thinking capacity is very law.Ros ,I think you’r the right person to tell the whole world what is not true a bout africa
    because you have been to Ghana,Nigeria,Uganda,Kenya among others…..well-come back Ros..to ,Kenya

  12. 12 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 7, 2008 at 07:13


    We think that you and the rest of the WORLD HAVE YOUR SAY
    team does a excellent service…..

    Madrid, United States of America

  13. July 4, 2008 at 13:21

    Hi Ros,
    it seems my comments for you a bove have produced sweet fruits.I Knew that Once WHYS will be coming To Africa ,Our country Kenya will be one of the destinations!
    I really appreciate WHYS Comings to Kenya for the second year in row.I wish to thank you for well earned token of appreciations.
    well-come back Ros to Kenya!

  14. 15 Abdullah
    October 10, 2008 at 22:46

    Hi Ros , You are absolutely great.

  15. 16 Eugenia
    December 17, 2008 at 11:42

    yeah, said all i gotta say

  16. 17 muhammad jafar, Nigeria.
    January 8, 2009 at 14:28

    Hi Ros,
    I am a frequent listener of whys, and most of the time i sit to listen i find it very interesting and educative. Though i have never participated in any of whys programme, there are some programmes that i would have loved to join but due to some reasons beyound my convinience, i just can’t, but i believe one day i will part of it.
    Most of what i like in you and the rest of the crew of BBC is the fact the use of english is really british and sound interesting to listen.
    You guys shuold keep on the good work.

  17. 18 Peter stanslaus
    January 21, 2009 at 11:51

    hi Ros
    i am glad to know you and wish to meet you some days
    later, because you seemto be a nice guy and a warm

  18. 19 Carol Amuge
    March 19, 2009 at 15:10

    I’m still pretty excited about seeing the faces that belong to the voices I constantly listen to on my favorite radio station. One of those faces is that of Ros Atkins. Amazingly I had managed to curve out a very close image of what you like Ros and when I finally saw your picture today, I realized I had hit a 90%.Probably because I’m glued to the Radio when World have your say goes on air and well, it’s one of those times I want to lay back uninterrupted and catch up with what’s going in the world.

    And to the guys that work together to put the programme right, thank you. You can tell the work that is the result of team work. WHYS is no exception.

  19. March 19, 2009 at 17:34

    Ros, i like the programme and i look forward to your presentations. I admire your rare sense of humour. I also like the maturity with which you guys hanle the programme.

  20. 21 JR Torrico
    April 6, 2009 at 18:11


    You are the MASTER of the “polite cut-off.” When a guest becomes too long-winded, vitriolic or drifts away on a tangent, there is no one better at quickly thanking them for their comments and moving on. I usually keep a running tally when listening and think Ros should give instruction in this required element of hosting public discourse.

    Keep up the good work, great topics and world involvement. My wife and I are consistent listeners.


  21. 22 Bernard Okello
    April 14, 2009 at 14:47

    Like i have said before Ros you are one of the best presenters i have ever listened to en keep on yo game coz yo best at it, Hey do have any plans of visiting Juba in your schedules???? Ben in Juba

  22. April 21, 2009 at 14:53

    James from Kenya

    I love the way you balance the debate fairly how did you learn that or is it inherent ? so I can stop trying and switch to one sided radio ranting. Love your show 100% God Bless

  23. 24 Marie
    April 25, 2009 at 10:43

    Ros…you are a fantastic host.

    Keep it up!!

    Mary Wanjiku

  24. 25 Matthew
    June 12, 2009 at 22:57


    It was so great to meet you in person today! I had a blast watching your show produced in person. I totally understand not being able to DJ after fatherhood! We’ll be back when they grow older!!!

    Thanks for spending a week in Oregon. It was great to have you back. Keep up the great hosting!

    Matthew in Portland

  25. July 15, 2009 at 20:12

    Hi Ros,
    Don’t know if this is the right place to inquire but since you posed the question of whether the Afghan war will make us safer I thought I’d ask if you know why neither of the posts I submitted yesterday appear in the comments section. Last I looked yesterday they were both still “pending…”.

    Recently, for the first time, I ran up against another of your colleague’s editorial and length objections so I condensed that piece and it got posted. Today I don’t see either piece nor any explanation as to why they aren’t there.

    I realize that my pieces are often more wide reaching in scope than most others on certain topics, especial those regarding war and peace. I was told that the piece that I agreed to edit was too much like an essay which surprised me since a large number of responses are written in a similar manner.

    So I’d appreciate it if you’d look into this for me. Thanks a lot. And “keep up the good work”.


    August 7, 2009 at 20:51


    I like your accent,reminds me of my days in london[east london].You are a very talented presenter,you have a strong voice full of control and confidence regerdless of the topic being discussed.
    The most entertaining part for me is how you windup the show,in about 30 seconds you thank say about 4 people,apologise to those who could not get through,remind us when to tune in again,all the nice good byes and all……..
    Keep it up mate.


  27. 28 Paul Njoroge, Kenya
    August 13, 2009 at 19:57

    Hi Ros
    I like the way you defuse a bomb shell especially when you air a debate that tend to critisize one side and the invited quests start confroting each other over the phone.You just intervene,making them to reconcile and then becoming friends again.I believe that if the world has several people like you,there can be no more wars and would turn the military budget to Agricultural developments,making God’s people live in peace.Am also very certain that if you can run for the U.S PRESIDENCY,you can be elected with an overwhelming vote.
    Live looong Ros.

  28. 29 Noel from Oregon
    September 4, 2009 at 21:33


    Thank you for being so even handed, empathetic, honestly curious and approaching issues with an open mind and truly listening to your audience, globally socially concerned, kind, and generally a good example of how people can talk with, listen to, and treat each other. I think it’s esp. important to hear a man with this attitude, as that is generally not the case – in person or on the media.

    Thank you for giving me a radio program I truly look forward to and always learn from. Thank you for for enabling people around the world to discuss controversial and interesting subjects in a safe and supportive environment. I am sure you are providing people all over the world with an example of real dialogue, tolerance, and open minded listening, etc., that they may not otherwise get and that absolutely none of get enough of.

    I hope to hear you on this program for years and years and years to come.


  29. 30 Inuwa Abdullahi
    October 17, 2009 at 10:28

    Hi, Ros ! i would say i really like it, especially taking it every where and beside i often wonder how do you get to be that polite, and also i would like you to improve section(northern Nigeria) receiving frequency, at a times it is very poor but can’t afford to miss it anywhere. a
    and men you are indeed cautious.
    keep it on and on n on, until WHYS see the whole world,including my home town of Kwadon in Gombe state of Niigeria.
    Inwa Abdu Kwadon

  30. 31 Mary G
    November 12, 2009 at 11:50

    I love your show, I’ve never heard (or seen) a host so good at presenting all of the callers’ issues and being so fair and respectful to all involved. You are a wonderful host and I listen daily. You set a high standard for me now. (I listen from North Carolina via satellite.)


  31. 32 Guillermo
    November 30, 2009 at 21:44

    Ros you are the kind of people that is identified with Latin America, Europe and Africa. And I am aware that your role in WHYS is good. It is just like we say in Mexico you have had “baño de pueblo”. With this I mean that you understand many of the topics that you suggest. I follow your comments. One of the dissapointments is Obama. Fidel Castro said that nothing would change with Obama. We are seeing his procedure in Honduras. His support to Uribe in Colombia and to Calderón in Mexico. Really the business of drugs is quite big money in USA. And also Europe! Richness always has the poignant vices of hedonism. Still Central America is a colony of USA, except Nicaragua. The maladies of the financial crisis have not gone. But why they don´t speak of 20l2? I am not influenced by the film, but of serious investigations. Many years ago they spoke about a trip to Mars in 20l2. Is there a link?

  32. December 18, 2009 at 16:53

    Hi Ros! I am an avid fan of World Have Your Say. And I say that you are one of the best anchors ever of such a global talk show. And you handle the different callers and the different views very very well! Kudos to you and to all your team! From here in the Philippines…

    December 22, 2009 at 18:29

    Happy Chrismas and Happy New year ancle. Its your clarion calls that woke me up to listen to this programme. Your voice has been the trade mark.

    Promise not to resign. The little things you do endear me to the programme. God bless you.

  34. March 4, 2010 at 18:04

    Ros, you have a great sense of humour. Its good to finally put faces to the name i have heard for 3 years. You guys are doing a great job and i appreciate your efforts. Ros, i have a ot of admiration for you, especially your sense of humour. I like people like you. You guys have succeded in making me an ardent listener of WHYS. I also love the way you present the programme, keep it up. People like you are not found everywhere, they come in short supply.
    Greetings from the most populous black nation-Nigeria(Naija for short).

  35. 36 Jeanann
    March 22, 2010 at 18:18

    Ros, I have just read all the comments above and agree with them all…you are one of the very best anchor people I have ever heard…you are very fair, respectful and tolerant…but you are also very clever at pushing dominant people off the air waves…well done. We listen every night from Tanzania….would love you to visit the wilderness camp we run here…Karibu Sana, Ros and keep up the good work.

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