Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Most Annoying Phrase In Radio

"Good morning, it's 8:05 on Tuesday the something.  I'm Johnny Crisps, I hope I find you well..."

How many times have you heard a radio presenter say that? A lot, right?  Usually being said to buy some thinking time, processing the proceeding prose.  "I hope I find you well" is like when you say "erm" when ordering from a menu.  

My issue with "I hope I find you well" is that asking somebody how they are shouldn't be used as filler. The presenter doesn't truly care how you are in THAT MOMENT because, mentally, they're focused on delivering whatever they're going to say next.

Imagine meeting up with a friend and saying "I hope I find you well" and then, without allowing time for that person to process how well they have been found, you simply roll into a hilarious story from your life. It would be weird, right? 

For presenters the way round this is simple: plan your beginning as much as your middle and end. Don't turn the fader up with the metaphorical word turkey half cooked. Find new ways to connect with that person on the other end of the dial, change your style up and, for goodness sake stop hoping that you find me well.

I am fine today, by the way!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

How RAJAR works...I think.

Happy RAJAR Day!! (*sound of crickets chirping*)

Anoraks will have no doubt been on RadioToday, erm, today and had a nosey at how the other half live.  If you're not an anorak and you're wondering why the word RAJAR has made that radio guy you follow on Twitter do a massive cry in the corner...allow me to shed some light.

I've attempted to explain some of the terminology using the most basic of tools - Microsoft Paint and Emojis.  This is how RAJAR works...I think.

Say, every day, I sing to the four cats that live with me.  I sing for an hour and they stay and listen for the whole hour.  That gives me maximum hours and 100% market share.

About 35 minutes in, two of the cats get bored and wonder off.  Despite the fact that two have stayed for the full hour my reach and my listening hours are down.

I sing something different and the two cats return, BUT they bring two strays with them from off the street...that means the audience has increased.

SUDDENLY, Tony Blackburn starts singing nearby.  Three of the cats, bored of hearing me sing, go and listen to Tony singing.  That leaves me with 50% of the market share.

Then Chris Evans starts singing.  Two of my cats and one of Tony's cats goes to listen.  That gives Chris Evans 50% of the market share, leaving Tony with 30% and myself with 20%.

It's a fine science, ya know!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

FIVE FOR FINDING : 5 Radio Shows That Are Definitely Worth A "Listen Again"...

I try and catch as much radio as I can - normally to the point of utter distraction.  I cast my ears across loads of radio shows and stations every week but there's five shows through the power of Listen Again and Podcasts that I keep coming back to for all the right reasons.

So with that in mind and in pocket, this is my slightly official FIVE FOR FINDING!  A quintet of radio presentations that I hold responsible for my roaming data charges going through the roof.

Before you shout about how wrong I am to leave out Crispy McCrackers from the Biscuits FM Breakfast Zoo, I just want to point out this is a very personal list. However feel free to Tweet me and point me in the direction of Crispy's said Breakfast Zoo, I'd love to listen!

1. James Dundon - Heart Cornwall Drivetime
When I finally got round to listening to James Dundon, as a fellow Heart Drivetime presenter, I realised the game had been raised.  James isn't an over-complicated presenter, he's a wordsmith with a touch of Kenny Everett who is nigh-on perfect with upbeat listener "bants".  James is a really fun, casual listen and he's worth an ear - get the Heart app, set your location to Cornwall and go to Listen Again.

Martin Lowes is edgy, close to the knuckle but very, very likeable.  He's also one of my best friends which makes this entry teem with nepotism but...oh well!  His tag team with the brilliant Rosie Ramsey is only a few weeks old but the chemistry is obvious and the way they involve the North East of England is superb.  Get the Capital app, set your location to Tyne & Wear and get them on the Listen Again.

There's no broadcaster quite like Jon Holmes in my opinion.  Jon's a comedy writer who brings that craft to the wireless like no other.  A feature-filled daily show that manages to be familiar and new each time.  Lonely Lunch Club and Daily Debate both worth checking out via the TalkRadio app's Listen Again bit. 

The King of Late Night Radio is back on his throne.  It's a show that feels different every night and has had me laughing, crying, cringing and contemplating since its return.  There is a "Best Bits" Podcast available but, like with Jon Holmes' show, you can jump on the app's "Listen Again" to get the full flavour of a night with Iain. 

Oft imitated, never duplicated.  A content-creating juggernaut that easily fills out 50 minutes of Podcast time per day with ideas that shoot down the tedious notion that all the good ideas in radio have been done.  It's impossible to not be inspired by a show that insisted on being presented from a moving blimp! (download at 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"I Want To Talk To Nicholas..."

I've been a massive fan of Iain Lee forever.  Now he's back on late night radio the wireless is a much better place.  In all the years I've listened to Iain I've heard nothing quite like what went down on Friday night between him and "Mr Ethical".

This all started with a spat on Twitter in which a chap called Nicholas.  Nicholas is fighting the fight against HSBC and tax evasion within the government (if you check out Nicholas on Twitter you can get a better idea of it all) and somebody suggested to Nicholas that he reach out to Iain to talk about it.  Minutes after that quite an aggressive back-and-forth erupted on my timeline.  Two very different personalities clashed and swords were drawn.  This was merely Act One!

That night on the show Iain took a call from Nicholas and said he'd give him the time to talk.  What happened over half an hour was a rollercoaster of a conversation the likes of which hasn't been heard on radio in a long, long time.  It ranges from out-and-out aggression, frustration, sympathy and even some moments of breakthrough. Nicholas' mission was to talk about the injustice in the banking system he's fighting yet Iain was more interested in Nicholas The Human.

Take some time out of your Sunday to absorb what happened via the link's enlightening, it's awkward at times but on the whole it's an incredible bit of radio.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Shake Hands, Kiss Babies, Open Shops...

In that America there's currently election-y type stuff happening.  You'll probably see a lot of scenes like the one above.  For somebody who wants to run for office they need to be "of the people".  This involves lots of hand-shaking, kissing babies foreheads, posing for selfies and all that jazz.

A year ago I moved to the North East to do radio.  I was very, very new to the area and I was keen to  throw myself into my new job and just tell people that I was there.  This means getting out, meeting the guys who actually work and rely on the radio to keep them amused, being part of the area (something I discussed in a blog a while back).  I was lucky to work with Dicky Dodd at Signal107 who personified that "out and about" mentality.  Every weekend he's somewhere flying the flag for the station and it encouraged me to do it as much as I could too.  It just so happens that I'm a bit of a socialite and I love making new friends and exploring.  I've got no qualms about rocking up at a launch party on my own and introducing myself or turning up to open a new charity shop and then just hang around and make friends with everybody.  I'm very blessed to be a brave idiot.  

A month into my new job, having seen me at work and out and about as much as possible, somebody I work with said "it feels like you're running for office".  In a way they were kind of right.

I'm now in a very privileged position whereby I offer advice to younger presenters looking to break out and move up.  As well as advice on how to construct the show I encourage everybody I coach to "get out there" in the same way I do.  If you're a local radio show you've got a unique opportunity that many other stations don't have; the opportunity to to be a part of the community you talk to on a daily basis.

The ability to go out and meet people in the radio world of 2016 isn't a bonus...I would argue it's vital.  With so much choice on the dial you want to put yourself front of mind.  The best way to do that is to do it in a way that many other stations can't...get out there!  Put on a clean shirt and get out there.  Be seen.  Offer your services for local charity events.  Turn up at a press night and flash an award-winning smile.  Maybe you've had a tweet from a small shop in town - why not pop in and make a fuss of the guys who graft in that shop?  At the very least it might just make their day!

You might be reading this thinking about how moronic all this is.  Maybe you think I put too much stock in going out...after all people might not have RAJAR diaries and people might not want to see you or talk to you.  Maybe you just think I'm a jumped up show-off who has "all the answers".  That's fine.  You're very entitled to your opinion...that's all this blog is.  It's my opinion.

So if you feel like that keep doing what you do.  Take that selfie in the studio and tweet out that you're on air then go home and don't think about it again until five minutes until your next show.

Whilst you're doing that I'll be stood on a chair in a cafe and laughing with the guys in there about how ridiculous I look as I change the radio station frequency from yours to mine.

That really happened by the way...that's another tale for another time.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Broadway's Way!

This?  This is CBS-FM's Drivetime guy BROADWAY BILL LEE!

A few months back I stumbled across Broadway on Facebook.  He films his favourite radio link from his show (his "Break Of The Day" if ya will) and posts it on his page.  Only about 20 seconds long each time.  Nothing special, right?


Broadway Bill Lee is the undisputed GOD of the Crunch and Roll.  He uses his brief moments on air to let his velvet tones and flawless delivery right every wrong in the world, warm your heart and make your day.

Just listen.  The man is cooler than the other side of the pillow and he does it in under half a minute.

BreakOfTheDay @TuneInRadio #wcbsfm #alone
Posted by Broadway Bill Lee/CBS-FM on Monday, 9 November 2015

He doesn't just announce the songs either.  He's very much on top of things when it comes to ticking that "sense of the day" box.

Break for my Mets fans #mets #wcbsfm #radiodj
Posted by Broadway Bill Lee/CBS-FM on Friday, 23 October 2015

Here's Broadway!

BreakOfTheDay @Tuneinradio #wcbsfm #gasprices
Posted by Broadway Bill Lee/CBS-FM on Thursday, 12 November 2015

Broadway on...gas prices.

Break Of The Day #wcbsfm #radiodj @TuneInRadio
Posted by Broadway Bill Lee/CBS-FM on Friday, 30 October 2015


BreakOfTheDay @TuneInRadio @wcbsfm #radiodj
Posted by Broadway Bill Lee/CBS-FM on Thursday, 19 November 2015

Broadway on...terrorism.

Seriously, follow this guy on Facebook.

He makes me fall in love with radio every day.

BreakOfTheDay @TuneInRadio #friday
Posted by Broadway Bill Lee/CBS-FM on Friday, 13 November 2015

Broadway on...erm, love.  I think.  Or stalking.  Not sure.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Nothing says Christmas in the radio industry like doing a Christmas light switch-on.  You know you've arrived when you get to light up your home town shopping centre accompanied by The Mayor, Father Christmas, a soap actor currently in Panto down the road or, if you're lucky, all of the above!

I remember my first time and I truly believe it's a story that only I can tell.


Let's go back to Shrewsbury in the year 2009.  The country was in a bit of a pickle financially, Michael Jackson had very suddenly left us and I had both been given and lost my first ever Breakfast Show on commercial radio.  When Christmas rolled around I had taken a pay cut to host an afternoon show.  It wasn't ideal but hey, I was still on air doing what I love.  My foot was still in the door!

I took at job at Waterstones in Shrewsbury on a weekend.  I could spend all week doing what I love guilt-free, knowing I was plugging the financial hole on a weekend selling books and generally being all customer service-y (between you and I, this was something I really enjoyed doing.  Still do.  I know when radio is done with me it's something I could easily be the best in the world at!)

I living in Shrewsbury where I was a radio presenter and a sales assistant.  Very rarely did the twain meet.  That's the joy of being a radio guy, nobody knows what you look like - unless you're in one of those markets that decorate their buses with Breakfast Show presenters faces.

The first time the streams metaphorically crossed though lead to an anecdote that I doubt many others will have.

MANAGER: Tom, we start late night shopping this Thursday.  They're doing the Christmas light switch-on in town and we're really stuck for staff - can we put you down for 6 til 9?

TOM: I'm really sorry but I'm unavailable.

MANAGER: Oh.  That's a come?

TOM: Erm...I'm kinda...the one switching the Christmas lights on.

(pause longer than a piece of string)

MANAGER: Is that the best excuse you could come up with?

I think to the lovely guys I worked with the penny only dropped when they heard my voice over the loudspeaker on that Thursday night (oh yeah, the shop I worked at was DIRECTLY in front of the market square where the light switch-on was happening)

I'm really grateful to the people I worked with at Waterstones and their patience with me.  The following year I started getting interest from other radio stations and on more than one occasion I dropped my bosses right in it by having calling them on Friday afternoon to beg for a Saturday off so I could go and cover on another station or host an event in town.  They always obliged me.  Every single time.

My time with Waterstones ended when out of nowhere I was offered weekends on Wyvern back in Worcester, my home town (another blog for another time).  Hours before my next weekend shift, I had to call into Waterstones and resign effective immediately.  I hated doing that.  I don't like letting people down but, like the lovely people they are, they accommodated this bungling radio numpty.  I am forever grateful for that too.

Every Christmas I think back to my 2009 in Shrewsbury.   I've been a part of nine Christmas lights events since then but that particular one, with my colleagues from Waterstones across the way and That Guy From Emmerdale to my side, it was one of the coolest things in the world to be a part of.  I may as well have been lighting up the universe that night.

If you find yourself in a similar situation over the holiday season (as them Americans say) then I'd love to hear your story!  Just always check before you start whether the plunger is live or not...seriously, I've heard some stories!