Explaining his three-year absence as a spell in a “women’s-only prison”, Chris Moyles has returned to the airwaves with his new breakfast show on Radio X and has promptly picked a squabble with his new bosses.
Once the self-proclaimed “Saviour of Radio1”, he is hoping to revive not only the rebranded Xfm – part of Britain’s biggest commercial network Global – but his own career too.
He was replaced by Nick Grimshaw in 2012 as Radio 1 moved to a younger and more female-friendly sensibility (losing millions of listeners in the process), but Moyles has lost none of his swagger. “What better place for my comeback than a brand new radio station that I can play with and do whatever I want,” he jested as he came on air just after 6.30am.
He then rubbished Global’s pre-launch positioning of Radio X as filling a gap in the market for young men. “A lot of people took that as Radio X being a radio station for blokes. That was news to me... Let me be the first of many Radio X DJs to say that’s a load of balls. I don’t care if you’re male, female, gay, straight, white, black,” he said. “It was just a marketing thing – it should never have gone out in the press release.”
That might explain why he ridiculed the station’s description of its music policy as “fresh rock” and chose as his first record the 2004 Girls Aloud hit Love Machine “because girls are allowed as much as anybody else” on Radio X. But you can see why Moyles might want to be inclusive. He has already boasted about having more money than Grimshaw and – having once had an audience of 7.9m – will be anxious not to be a loser in the ratings wars.
The first show, backed by a “Moyles is Back” hashtag on social media, was popular enough to crash the new Radio X app.
Whether female listeners will switch to X is another thing. His many past controversies included saying he wanted to take the virginity of Charlotte Church and describing women as “dirty whores” for urinating in showers.
Playing up to the media interest in his first show he announced the incendiary tabloid columnist and broadcaster Katie Hopkins as his regular sidekick, before adding “only joking”. He later showed his pulling power by bringing on Noel Gallagher as a guest.
Moyles later declared himself an “uncool” DJ and admitted that he recently went to a gig by the country-singer-turned-pop-star Taylor Swift. The new station won’t want him to mellow too much, but even he admits he is finally growing up. “The last time I started a breakfast show I was 29, I’m 41 now, how the hell did that happen?”Reuse content