The headline news on this month’s RAJAR listening figures indicate that radio presenter (as opposed to disc jockey) Zoe Ball has lost 364,000 listeners in the third quarter of the year. My only reaction to this is simple: is that all?
I have nothing against Ball, other than I can’t stand her frantic, breathless delivery and the generic level of content that she delivers. That and the wild contrasts in the music that gets played, lurching from the genius of Steely Dan to the dross of James Blunt, alongside endless oldies and nothing cutting edge. But then, I am sad to say, that is the way of Radio 2 in its current pipe and slippers format. If you live in Bristol and you are not quite old enough to listen to BBC Radio Bristol (under 70 in other words), Radio 2 is probably for you.
I find it hard to understand why Ball got the Breakfast Show gig when Chris Evans took his Canada-sized ego off to Rupert Murdoch’s Virgin radio. I completely understand the concerns of the Beeb at the previously all male schedule but surely Ball wasn’t the best choice? Sarah Cox, currently in the drive time slot, vacated by Simon Mayo’s tiring shtick, would have been a far more suitable, albeit braver, choice. But even then, Cox would be lumbered with Radio 2’s grisly playlist. Rather than persevere with Ball, I would politely suggest my loyal reader should try something different, like BBC 6 Music.
Lauren Laverne is the perfect breakfast show host; a DJ who plays the most wonderful eclectic selection of music and talks to the listener rather than at her/him. Granted, you need to accept a good portion of music you might not have heard before, but what’s wrong with that? Although I appreciate that not everyone is like me and places music in the Premier League of their interests, there is surely some merit in challenging your own musical tastes and broadening your aural horizons over your cornflakes.