John Pearson

Feature writer, live music producer, culture editor, underwater photographer… writing this precis of my professional self, I am reminded of what a diverse and multifaceted career I have been able to develop over the last few decades.

Life’s journey has taken me from music broadcasting at the BBC in London to the tropical island of Gili Trawangan, where I worked and played in the underwater world. It’s seen me create homes in Iceland, Indonesia and New Zealand while adding journalism, photography and travel writing to my professional tool belt.

So feel free to have a look around here; there’s a lot more detail, and plenty of examples of my work from across the various disciplines. And if you want to know more, just get in touch.


Areas of Expertise

Writing And Journalism

Live Music Broadcasting

Radio Production Leadership

Music Event Management

Audiovisual Content Creation

Media Project Management


Senior Writer, Arts & Culture | Christchurch, New Zealand | 2024 - present

Stuff, New Zealand’s leading media organisation, publishes various newspaper titles via digital and physical media. I am based at The Press newspaper which focuses on South Island stories, but I write features for a range of Stuff news titles and national magazines.

Live Music Production Manager | Christchurch, New Zealand | 2023 - 2024

As part of the events team at the University of Canterbury Students’ Association, I managed the operational staff and technical systems at the heart of the organisation’s live music productions.

Freelance Journalist | United Kingdom, Iceland and New Zealand | 2020 - present

I started by pitching pieces to London’s local papers as a journalism student, and developed my craft from there. My most recent commission was to update two chapters for the latest edition of “Fodor’s Essential Iceland” travel guide, including authoring several new sections.

Culture Editor | Reykjavík, Iceland | 2021 - 2022

The Reykjavík Grapevine is Iceland’s leading English-language publication, covering arts and culture, news and current affairs, travel and much more. In this position I directed editorial in the areas of arts, culture and travel.

The role encompassed pitching and writing, subediting, layout and design, photography, presenting/producing video content and managing social media channels. It also involved management duties across a busy publishing business, including the development of new media products, staff recruitment and mentoring those new to the industry.

Multimedia Journalist | Reykjavík, Iceland | 2021

I was a core member of the editorial team, writing pieces and shooting photos for the publication’s paper and digital output. I also presented and produced video content for its YouTube channel.

Professional Scuba Diver | Gili Trawangan, Indonesia | 2019 - 2020

I was a diving instructor, underwater photographer, video producer and social media manager for a busy scuba diving business. I was also part of the company’s management team, and frequently took responsibility for operational and staffing matters.

Live Music Broadcast Manager, BBC Live Music & Events | London | 2013 - 2019

I was a senior member of the BBC Live Music and Events team, which was responsible for all live music event activity across Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 1Xtra, 6 Music, Asian Network and BBC Music Introducing.

I led the production team which delivered live music content from iconic music festivals such as Glastonbury and Reading, as well as from innovative BBC events such as The Biggest Weekend and 6 Music Festival. I also oversaw the production of regular studio-based live music broadcasts, including high-profile session brands such as the Radio 1 Live Lounge and the Radio 2 Piano Room.

My responsibilities included event project management, live music production, outside broadcast operations, developing relationships with stakeholders, artist negotiations, budget formation and control, staff and resource management, and implementing effective production management systems.

Executive Producer, BBC 6 Music and Radio 2 | London | 2009 - 2013

I was part of the management team which ran two national BBC radio networks: 6 Music, the UK’s biggest digital radio station, and Radio 2, which has the greatest reach of any radio station in Europe. I provided leadership and editorial guidance to both stations, and all live music and event production at 6 Music was my responsibility. This included organising the station’s own live music events such as 6 Music at the Southbank, and managing relationships with external partner music festivals.

Career Break For Solo Travel | 21 Countries Around The Globe | 2006

I left London and headed eastwards until I found myself back there again, twelve months later. The broadening of my personal and cultural horizons was an invaluable experience.

Producer, Live Music & Events, BBC 6 Music | London | 2001 - 2009

I was part of the team which launched the BBC’s first new national music radio station in over three decades, and helped develop it into an award-winning musical icon.

My responsibilities included creating a strategy for the station’s live music and event activity, then using that to deliver audience-related goals.

Producer, Live Music & Events, BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 | London | 1997 - 2001

I managed outside broadcasts and produced live music for two internationally renowned music radio stations, covering a wide range of performances from studio sessions, events and festivals.

Programme Manager, BBC Radio International | London | 1995 - 1997

My main responsibilities were the production of radio programmes for an international market, and the commercial management of a mobile live music recording operation.

Live Music Recording Engineer, BBC Transcription | London | 1992 - 1995

This production department specialised in the production of live music for broadcast, and is where I developed my skills as a sound engineer and music producer.

Television Project Engineer, BBC Planning and Installation | London | 1990 - 1992

I joined the BBC as part of its engineering graduate fast-track training programme, working on the technical design of television studios and outside broadcast facilities.

Visual Producer, BBC Proms | London | 2016

This development secondment with the television production team at BBC Proms enhanced my experience of broadcasting orchestral live music. It also allowed me to investigate the possibilities of 360° filming to deliver concerts to audiences in virtual reality.

Development Producer | Sydney, Australia | 2011

I joined Australia’s foremost alternative music radio station on a development secondment, having formulated the idea and pitched it to the BBC to secure funding.

The purpose was to join triple j in their management and production areas, exchanging ideas and experiences to the mutual benefit of the ABC and the BBC. This included work on triple j’s coverage of the Big Day Out Festival and their own One Night Stand event, as well as involvement in their Hottest 100 project and conversations around what would become the ABC’s new station double j.


It’s been my pleasure to work with the following live music events… 

BBC Asian Network Live
BBC Electric Proms
BBC Music Awards
BBC Music Introducing Live
BBC Music’s The Biggest Weekend
BBC Proms
BBC Proms in the Park
BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend
BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards
BBC Radio 1Xtra Live
BBC Radio 2 in Hyde Park
BBC Radio 6 Music Festival
BBC Radio 6 Music Live at Maida Vale
BBC Sound Of…

Big Day Out
Cambridge Folk Festival
Camden Crawl
Cheltenham Jazz Festival
Festival No. 6
Green Man
Indian Summer
Live From Reykjavík

Notting Hill Carnival
One Night Stand
Reading & Leeds
South By Southwest
Summer Sundae
T In The Park
The Big Chill
The Big Feastival
The Great Escape
V Festival
Winter Jazzfest

Consecutive Glastonbury Festivals Worked For The BBC

Years Of Professional Media Experience

Haribos Consumed In Festival Catering Tents



2020 – 2023

This course covered various aspects of journalism including newswriting, media law, features, subediting and digital publishing.



While living in Reykjavík, I studied Icelandic at the University of Iceland.


1987 – 1990

I graduated with an upper-second-class degree.




I completed a course in First Aid – Level 2.



I trained as a scuba diving instructor in Indonesia, qualifying with two different training organisations.



I qualified to teach first-aid in a scuba diving environment.



I attained a 5th kyu (green belt) grade in shorinji kan jiu jitsu.

Technical Skills

    • Photography and videography: underwater and on land, primarily using a Fujifilm X-T2, an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and an iPhone with DJI Osmo gimbal
    • Content production: Lightroom, Premier Pro, Audition, InDesign, Photoshop, Canva
    • Audio engineering: in the studio, on outside broadcasts and at live music events
    • Digital publishing: WordPress, Buffer, Planoly, YouTube, various social media platforms
    • Broadcast playout and data systems: VCS dira, Proteus
    • Business software tools: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, SAP, Google Drive/Docs/Sheets

      More About Me

      I love photography, scuba diving and music, especially playing my bass guitar. If I’m not doing that I can usually be found exploring natural beauty spots—or the underwater world—with my camera and my wife Christine.