A non-Londoner's review of LBC's first nationwide broadcast

This morning's big stories were anchored firmly within the M25


One of the many great things about not living in London is that there is so much you can just forget about: gridlocked traffic on the North Circular, commuters b*tching about the crush-hour conditions into Paddington, adverts for one bedroom apartments costing £250,000 and then of course there is the pending misery of another Tube strike.

As of today the whole country – should it choose to do so – can tune into these metropolitan lifestyle woes courtesy of LBC, the former London Broadcasting Company now weirdly re-styled for a national digital radio audience as Leading Britain’s Conversation.

Conducting this nationwide chat is Nick Ferrari, a silverback of the 1980s tabloid golden age and creator of Topless Darts on the ill-fated L!ve TV who is now one of the country’s most successful and pugnacious broadcasters.

Love or loathe his views on issues such as recycling and asylum seekers, it was not Ferrari’s fault that the two big stories of the first day broadcasting to a UK-wide audience were anchored firmly within the M25.

Fourteen serious flood warnings saw a reporter dispatched all the way to Middlesex to what he insensitively dubbed Staines-under-Thames. There was another on the platform at Reading railway station where train travellers were struggling to get into work.

Then, like naughty boys who can’t be in the room together, Ferrari interviewed his fellow LBC presenter London Mayor Boris Johnson and then separately RMT boss Bob Crow for the latest on the impasse on the Tube talks. And they say when a man is tired of London he is tired of life.

The newsroom did slot in an early morning breaking story from Blackburn, Lancashire, where an 11-month-old child had been mauled to death by a dog. But there was little more than what was readable off news agency wires. An exclusive on injured soldiers claiming to be spied on by the Ministry of Defence might have led on another day whilst former Chancellor Alistair Darling discussed the Scots independence referendum – presumably a gristly morsel perceived to be relevant to those listeners north of the border not already stuffed senseless on the topic by BBC Scotland’s long-mustered battalions.

The rest of the world featured in discussion only in terms of whether the foreign aid budget should be cut to help waterlogged farmers in the Somerset Levels – something Ferrari seemed rather keen on.

Despite repeated assurances that this was indeed a national radio station no one had told the weather man who divided the map into “us “(who were being rained on in London and the Home Counties) and everyone else. Meanwhile, he added in a cheerful aside, it was snowing over the Pennines. One can only imagine the level of hysteria should a flurry of flakes have been descending in the capital.

Brash and pacey though it is, LBC is still a London station. If it wants to change it needs to learn the most basic lesson of the art of conversation - show a modicum of interest in the life of the person you are talking to.

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