So farewell then, Chris Evans - Radio 1's 7.03 million man

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Take the figure 7.03, subtract 6.19, and you have, in millions, the number of listeners Chris Evans brought to Radio 1. Take another million, in pounds, and make that the DJ's salary for presenting a two-and-a-half- hour breakfast show, five days a week, 46 weeks a year. Then renegotiate: make the show half an hour shorter, add another six weeks of holiday - and you have a workload that Evans, whose legendary energy has been sapped since he took on TFI Friday, his show on Channel 4, last summer, found unbearable. He wanted his R1 week reduced to four days. Matthew Bannister, his boss, said no, it had to be five. So "Please release me, let me go, because I don't love you anymore," were the first words, as in the song, that Chris broadcast on Friday morning.

Reactions to Evans's departure have focused on figures. Was he worth it? By some reckonings, the extra listeners "cost" pounds 5 apiece; and more than a few of them were beginning to tire of his self-indulgence, his hangovers and his scatalogical humour. But he did more for the station, and for radio generally, than pull in new punters: he pushed the boundaries of what is possible in broadcasting. His show was truly spontaneous. You never knew what he was going to say next - telling listeners they were "giving me the horn", telling his team off for cocking up, or telling his producer to get married. At times, it was hard to believe the show was scripted. But we knew it was, because Chris told us that too. He continually gave the game away, exposing the artifice and breaking taboos (he routinely revealed the mid-week chart positions of the songs likely to be No 1 the following Sunday). He blew to pieces the banality of Smashy and Nicey radio. His show was live and it lived; and it's a shame it won't go on.

Rosanna de Lisle

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