Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Deaf Auntie has gone radio ga-ga

Source Link - Deaf Auntie has gone radio ga-ga

You can say what you like about Sir Terry Wogan (and I know I have) but the bottom line is, he's good.

Alongside John Peel, he's probably the most professional and original DJ the BBC has ever employed, whose following is huge and loyal because he makes every single devotee feel as though he's speaking solely to them.

In doing so he encapsulates what the BBC is supposed to be there for. To enhance the nation's cultural well-being by offering something totally distinct from commercial rivals.

Chris Evans is also good. But a million miles away from Peel and Wogan. Because he will never offer something you can't already get by tuning into dozens of other record-playing stations on commercial radio.

He may be better than the DJs he's up against, but he's basically a singing telegram made good.

So too is Chris Moyles. Which is why Evans once called him "the new me".

Both are knockabout commercial products, obsessed with their own popularity and ratings.

From next year, when Evans takes over from Wogan, and they're up against each other at breakfast, the BBC will be pitching the biggest broadcasting ego of the 90s against his Noughties mini-me.

Both in direct competition for radio's biggest audience, and both being paid - out of our pockets - three times the Prime Minister's salary for the pleasure.

Small wonder commercial radio stations, which are being hammered by the current collapse of advertising, are despairing at the outrageous advantages given to the BBC by taxpayers.

A station I recently worked for has been forced to slash its workforce with many talented and hard-working presenters and producers sacked.

They feel, with some justification, that the BBC's uniquely-privileged position, plus its huge financial muscle, has helped throw them on the dole. When Evans takes over from Wogan he will no doubt be ordered to ditch what's left of his juvenile persona, and play more Gypsy Kings than Kings of Leon - but many of those ageing TOGs will switch off.

Which won't disappoint Radio 2 bosses as they try to re-position the station as a slightly more mature version of Radio 1, dragging the age of the average listener down towards the crucial 15-44 age-group which is seen as being cool and relevant.

And which is, vitally, the highspending audience commercial stations need to attract to survive.

The BBC is tripping over itself to say Moyles and Evans are very different.

But by handing these commercial beasts the nation's two biggest radio shows and running them head-tohead is about as far away from the public interest remit as you can get.

They're robbing the taxpayer, alienating the over-60s and helping destroy commercial radio.

All to chase ratings and make it look like they're worth an increase in the licence fee.

Goodbye and good luck, Terry. And for the sake of the nation, may your TOGs go with you.

of "The most original DJ the BBC ever employed"

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