In February 2022, Sean Farrington replaced incumbent Dominic O’Connell and took up the mantle of business presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, after spending over a decade at the public broadcasting service in other roles.
In this edition of Journo Intel, we get under the skin of, arguably, the most influential business journalist in Europe.
Sean’s route into the world of broadcasting was less conventional. He attended Wolverhampton Grammar School and considers himself a proud Wulfrunian (that’s alumnus to you and I). In 1994, he won Gold in the school’s Junior Maths Challenge, but struggled somewhat with other subjects – his appointment as a prefect in sixth form was a shock to both him and his classmates.
Throughout his academic career, he showed impressive perseverance. After spending years failing to reach the first team in football, he made captain of the 3rd XI team.
Having excelled in maths at school, Sean then went on to study the subject at Christ’s College, Cambridge in 2001. This enabled him to enter the world of investment banking and Sean, albeit slightly reluctantly, spent five years in the City. During the last two years of his tenure, Sean took a side gig working in hospital radio. This taste of the media solidified his desire to transition into broadcast journalism.
After leaving the hustle and bustle of the City, Sean enrolled on a Broadcast Journalism MA at City University. Upon graduation, he joined the BBC’s Business and Economics team as a producer in 2010. Sean was one of the first to make the move to Salford in 2011 when the broadcaster decided to shift a considerable number of operations to the Lowry Centre.
Since then, he has worked his way up as a producer on shows such as BBC Breakfast and on Radio 5 Live, including securing his first presenting gig on 5 Live’s “Wake Up to Money” in 2014. With his background in investment banking, Sean quickly gained a reputation for giving sound financial advice and presenting it in a manner anyone can understand. In 2019, he was named the Headlinemoney’s Broadcast Journalist of the Year.
Then, on 14th February 2022, Sean started in the role of business presenter on the Today programme. Alongside this, Sean also runs the “Million by 30” section on the BBC website, as he’s extremely passionate about helping young entrepreneurs.
As the feature’s name suggests, Sean looks for talented founders, influencers and entrepreneurs who are set to make one million by the time they reach 30. He then interviews these enterprising under-30s on the “Wake Up to Money” show. Sean is also a huge sign language advocate and has a particular interest in Down’s Syndrome understanding and positivity.
So there you have it. If you can relate what you’re pitching to an issue he’s particularly passionate about then it’s more likely to gain traction. You’ll also know at which level you can pitch in certain concepts given his City background. Good luck!
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Written by: Katie Chodosh, Media Relations Director at Definition.