Musical chairs on the gravy train

BBC Radio 5 Live…

OK, I admit it, it’s on a lot here.

Not necessarily because it’s good – because it isn’t and it has way too much sport for my liking – but because it’s habit.

It’s habit because, to cut a long story short, it once helped me through a phase of insomnia and so it’s now on all night whilst we’re sleeping and often gets left on during the day.

Last week saw Shelagh Fogarty leaving the Breakfast Show (and co-host Nicky ‘Talentless’ Campbell) along with Gabby Logan leaving the lunchtime show due to family commitments.

The two departures are not unconnected.

In what has become a familiar scenario on 5 Live, this has started a game of musical chairs in which Fogarty is taking over Logan’s spot, and with Logan off the scene, someone now has to take over Fogarty’s spot. This then poses the question of who to put with Nicky ‘Wot-charisma?’ Campbell in the morning, and who to put in the place of whoever is chosen…

…and so on and so on and so on…

Not content with this gravy train game of musical chairs (or radio cluster fucking, if you prefer), when Fogarty left last week, Thursday (Friday was out because of the royal wedding) saw Nicky ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Campbell introducing small segments called ‘A Fogarty Flashback’, which consisted of snippets of his co-host from past shows, and then after each one, one of the people she’d met in the course of the programs saying how wonderful Shelagh was.

Now, I appreciate when you’ve worked with people for a long while that when you leave or they leave it can be a wrench, but for fuck’s sake, it’s not as if Fogarty was off to Talk Sport, or even another BBC radio station.

So, perhaps a leaving ‘do’ – or even a whip round and a party with a cake and a few bottles, but ‘Fogarty Flashbacks’?

It’s not even as if she’s a significant voice in radio journalism.

She’s certainly no fucking Alistair Cooke or Brian Redhead.

Anyone who heard her a few weeks ago when the BBC flew her out to Japan to cover the tsunami and Fukushima radiation leaks would have been able to hear what a lightweight she really is.

OK, she’s pleasant enough and a bit mumsy – nothing wrong with being mumsy, but it’s hardly a quality that’s going to make you a dynamic reporter of significant world events.

Right now, she’s taking a phone in – on her first day at her new job – about today’s hot news; the killing of Osama Bin Laden. No news, just her and the listeners bouncing opinion about.

Of course, for serious news broadcasting then I suppose there’s always Radio 4, but that’s not really a dedicated news station, in spite of it having some lengthy scheduled  news programs – and at least with 5 Live you know that there’s going to be a news update every 30 minutes.

Perhaps we need a dedicated news station – a bit like TV’s BBC 24 – but rolling news isn’t sexy at the best of times and radio wouldn’t even have the visuals to liven it up.

Whatever…but that’s another topic altogether.

But it must be a wonderful life being a BBC radio or TV presenter.

A generous salary, a great pension scheme, what seems like a job for life as long as your face fits (and who the fuck decides that?), you get flown out to all sorts of places and events and get to stay in the best accommodation and if you’re successful then you get all sorts of ‘fringe’ work like appearances on other radio and TV shows.

Yes, radio and TV, because the BBC runs both and you can cross from one to the other like some sort of interdimensional traveller.

And all at the licence-payers’ expense.

 

thompsonFMOS_203x150

Mark Thompson – he’ll spunk your licence fee up the fucking wall

So, you get all sorts of people like Julia Bradbury, Colin Murray and Nick Knowles who seem to suddenly dominate the airwaves, snapping up plum job after plum job, being propelled along some broadcast career superhighway by the BBC bosses, until it’s almost a fucking cardiac arrest event when you see they’re not on in the next program, but some stranger is!

A new, fresh face?

That’ll never fucking do.

And it’s not just presenters.

It’s also the ‘stars’ themselves.

Graham Norton, Bruce Forsythe, Chris Evans, Jools Holland…the list goes on and on, like Banquo’s fucking lineage…as show after sub-standard show and new program after desperate new program is beamed out to a nation brain-numbed by a continual barrage of the same old, tired, cliched, exhausted shite – whether it’s chat shows, reality shows or ‘specials’.

So, are the viewers and listeners just getting what they want, or what they’ve been conditioned to want?

I’m inclined to think that expectations of the broadcast media are so low that it doesn’t really matter.

Just stick the same old bollocks on the TV and radio and people will still tune in.

And, of course, the Shelagh Fogartys and Graham Nortons of this world will still have a job.

One Response

  1. I’m just glad they haven’t replaced Fogarty with Fearne Cotton. Be grateful for small mercies.

    On a slightly separate point my DAB clock radio has R4 and R5 next to each other on the channels and there has been more than one occasion where in the morning’s I’ve been pressed to tell the difference. It’s not unusual to hear the same material repeated on both channels.

    At least Fogarty’s departure will mean I don’t get her confused with Sarah Montague.

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