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August 20, 2004

Recommend me a Radio Show

When I first moved in with Steven, he listened to Chris Tarrant's radio show on Capital. I had been in the habit of listening to the Today programme, but Steven found it insufficiently London-centric and too serious. So I quickly got used to Tarrant, and put up with the relatively dreadful music.

When Tarrant retired, Johnny Vaughan took over, and we've given it a few months, but he simply Will Not Do. So, here are the parameters.

We listen from about 6:45 to typically 7:30 or a bit later. We don't listen very hard. Music would be nice, and we'd really like a station that plays nearly all electric folk and roots. Given that 2 million Britons attend festivals in the summer, you would think that there was scope for a digital roots station, wouldn't you? OK, well, perhaps that's asking too much.

Talk is nice too, though we discover we're picky. (Actually we knew that; we managed Tarrant's regular absences by steadily getting more irritated by Dr Fox by the day.) We tried BBC London while Danny Baker was on holiday and his place was taken by Julian Clary. That was fine, and we'd have happily listened to that show, even though there was no music. Now Danny Baker is back and we have honed our DJ requirements.

The problem with Johnny Vaughan, and Neil Fox, and Danny Baker is that they don't manage to be clever without being irritating. Neil Fox says stupid, offensive things, very consistently. Johnny Vaughan doesn't say very many stupid, offensive things, but he doesn't say anything very clever either. This isn't about not saying things I disagree with; opinions backed by brains are fine. When people on the radio say stupid things to me at 7 in the morning, I get angry and want to argue. So I'm looking for a presenter who is consistently clever and sharp-witted and never gratuitously offensive.

Danny Baker says a great many clever things, but he and the other people he work with spend most of their morning laughing at their own jokes, which gets very wearing. And he mixes some stupid things in with the clever things; for example, on hearing A level results, said 'Photography! How could you fail photography! OK, look through this window and press the button, how hard can it be?' Nevertheless, if he'd speak a bit more slowly, have fewer people in the studio all talking at once, and not laugh while presenting, I think he'd do.

The Global Village is a wonderful thing, and I'm happy to countenance streamed radio stations from around the world, with shows broadcast at all hours of the day or night that correspond to 7am in London. However, London stations have the big advantage that they mention, reasonably frequently, the current operating status of the London Underground and the expected London weather for the day. Regular GMT/BST time checks are also helpful. So while we might settle on a station from Paraguay, we probably won't.

Suggestions welcome.

Posted by Alison at August 20, 2004 06:26 PM


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