And now a word (tweet) from Danny Baker:
‘Good evening @BBCRadio2
Isn’t it strange I’m am a 10 times Sony Gold Radio winner with extensive experience in music, one of the most revered broadcasters of his time, with a massive record collection…yet you won’t touch me with a fucking barge pole and hire TV celebs instead?’
If anyone else had tweeted something apparently so pompous and self-promoting, I’d probably be mocking them. As it’s Danny Baker, I am tempted to agree with every word he says.
I am roughly the same age as Danny Baker and have admired both his writing, performing and presenting skills for as long as I can remember, certainly back to when he was a hack at the late, lamented NME. He is not everyone’s cup of tea, but then neither are the popular beat combo outfit Queen or Katie Hopkins. The thing is that Baker is many people’s cup of tea, including mine.
My friend – I shall call him Gary, in order to protect his identity – came up with the suggestion that Baker be given the 8.00 pm slot to be vacated by the wonderful Jo Whiley. I wish I had thought of that because it, when you think about it for about a split second, it comes from the category called ‘stating the bleeding obvious’.
Baker is all the things he claims to be and marry that with his brilliant presenting skills makes him the ideal person to broadcast a music programme. Yes, he is edgy, yes he is opinionated but when were these bad attributes? Radio Two, for all its brilliance, really does obsess with TV celebs. Just look at the weekly roster of talent and you will see Liza Tarbuck, Paul O’Grady, Claudia Winkelman, Michael Ball, Graham Norton, Levi Roots, Dermot O’Leary and Craig Revel-Horwood. Not one of these broadcasters should be on Radio 2 before Danny Baker, unless they want to keep things so safe no one other than the core audience will listen.
I’m biased. Baker play my kind of music and knows loads about it. But he also has an ear for a new band and song. I remember vividly when he had a show and kept playing You Get What You Give by the New Radicals, which eventually became a massive hit because someone with a good ear found it. (I wish he’d told me how bad the album was to save me wasting my money on it.)
Come on Radio 2: give the evening slot to Danny. Let him build the programme he likes and get the interviews he likes. Let his talent run wild. You have got a great product. Make it better still.