From Northampton Pa. to Northampton UK: a chat with our BBC sister station

Written by on September 8, 2021

From Northampton Pa. to Northampton UK: a chat with our BBC sister station

By Jen Rehill

September 8, 2021

Northampton County, Pennsylvania, is known as a bellwether for predicting presidential elections here in the U.S  and even internationally. Last fall BBC Northampton, a radio station in the English midlands, reached out to get a better understanding of Biden versus Trump. Since then we’ve kept the conversation going and this month, we decided to bring in our listeners. So WLVR’s News Director, Jen Rehill recently spoke with BBC morning host Annabel Amos and asked about her Northampton. 

Listen to the story

Annabel Amos

“It’s a town, it’s kind of the main town of the county of Northamptonshire. We’re almost as big as a city but we’re not. Then if you look at Northamptonshire, well, it’s a pretty rural county. It’s a beautiful county actually. It’s right in the middle of England and we love it. We’re proud of it.”

Jen Rehill

“People are generally fatigued by the pandemic. I’m wondering, it’s a heated political issue here whether kids should wear masks and schools. Are kids wearing masks in the UK in schools? And what’s the conversation like around that?” 

Amos

“It seems like we’re going back to a little bit more normality with schools with no masks and the changing of classes so that you, you know, they changed everything. I don’t know whether, I presume it’s the same in the States, but you know, they had bubbles in schools. And, you know, so you never saw anyone from another year and that kind of thing. That’s all changing back but there’s definitely a bit of unease because I don’t know whether you know but in Scotland, schools go back in August. They go back before us and there’s been a real spike in cases in Scotland and there’s a real fear that that will be the same now that schools are starting to go back in England.” 

Rehill

“What’s happening around vaccinations? That’s another really divisive issue in this country. Is it divisive in Northampton, in Northamptonshire? 

Amos

“I suppose, I think, I mean the vaccination program has been a big success here, it has to be said. But obviously, you know, the vast majority of us are double vaccinated. For children, the debate is still going on. So 16- and 17-year-olds have started to be vaccinated here, that started last month. It’s 12- to 15-year-olds next, they are still waiting to confirm what is happening with that. But we are expecting that group to be vaccinated, we’re presuming, kind of, by the end of this month, I suppose. But obviously, you know, as with this whole COVID-19 drama, there are people who sit on different sides of the argument, aren’t there? And I suppose when you start talking about children and vaccinations, some people are quite opinionated on that.” 

Rehill

COVID is not the only headline I think that we share in common. Certainly not this week. I think Afghanistan and the U.S. withdrawal from that conflict is making headlines all over the globe. What is the sentiment like around where you are and what are you hearing in response to what the American White House is doing in terms of leaving the country?”

Amos

“Well, the headlines aren’t kind to America at the moment. I have to say if I look at some of the newspapers just from this morning, you know, they talk about Joe Biden and a lot of people talking about America deserting Afghanistan.” 

Rehill

“How different does this presidency look to folks from the Donald Trump presidency? And has that changed? As you know, he has spent his first six months in office. It sounds like maybe it started on the positive side and has tipped in a different direction.” 

Amos

“Yeah, I don’t think there’s been that much scrutiny. That’s what I mean over the past, you know since you started. It’s just what’s been going on in Afghanistan that has made people look, isn’t it? And it’s just yeah, it’s different. A lot of people are talking about Joe Biden in a different way now.”

Rehill

“There are a lot of difficult things in the headlines and I’m wondering if there are any silver linings in your week that you point to, that just sparked some joy for you or maybe for your listeners and was a respite maybe from some of these more difficult stories?” 

Amos

“Well, we had this report from the Met office, the Meteorological Office just about a week ago saying we’ve had the warmest summer on record. Well, you wouldn’t believe the backlash at that because everyone is like, ‘are you joking? This has been rubbish. So I’d love to bring you different joy. But that is all people want to talk about. Oh the weather, the weather.’ So that’s what everyone is obsessed with at the moment. But then again, it’s not actually rained much and that is a turn up for the books. People always look for positives, don’t they? This is not raining or when it’s raining. Look, it’s good for the garden. It’s good for the garden.” 

Rehill 

“Annabel, it was such a pleasure to talk with you today. I really appreciate your time.” 

Amos

“Oh, I loved it. And you’re a star.”

Rehill

“Annabelle Amos, presenter with BBC Radio. From Northampton PA to Northampton UK, I’m Jen Rehill, WLVR News.”

Sign up for our WLVR weekly newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news from the Lehigh Valley and across Pennsylvania.


News

Current track

Title

Artist

Background