When Talk Radio becomes Bloody Well Shut Up Radio

Related Topics
DO YOU find too many talk shows encourage people to phone in and say what they think? Do you agonise over whether to dial that number? Did you discuss making that call with your partner? How did he or she feel about it? How do phone-ins affect people with heart problems or varicose veins? Have you had a positive or negative experience on the line? Or no experience at all? Do many people experience not having experiences? Call us.

We want to hear from men as well as women, and from men who were women and women who were men, and from adults who are childish, but not from children who are adult. Not if it's Talk Radio UK after midnight.

Brook, a 15-year-old, did get through:

Caesar the Geezer: You shouldn't be on the air, darling. You shouldn't talk to me, love.

Brook: Oh, oh, but Caesar, I just need to say one thing.

Caesar: I'm sorry, darling. I'll be in trouble if I allow you to come on the air. There's this group of people who've complained and continue to complain. I'm very surprised you've got through.

Six months after its launch, Talk Radio can celebrate the modest fact that its audience share now exceeds that of Radio 3. Tune in to discover why and you find as the day progresses that you keep having to turn the volume down: first there's Talk Radio, then there's Squabble Radio and finally - when it's wiser to be in bed - there's Bloody Well Shut Up Radio.

The afternoon starts off in a reassuring way with Anna Raeburn "live and direct", just as she always was, taking a sharp intake of breath and going: uh-huh, oh heck, uh-huh, how old are you? uh-huh, let's be constructive here, uh-huh, well I don't think you should put up with it, really I don't.

When I last heard Anna (on Capital, in the mid-Seventies) there was no mention of Femidoms or the emergency pill and she wasn't able to relate things back to her teenage son. Back then he wasn't even an embryo. But the dramatic tension of the phone-in remains securely in place. It's a mini-version of what they teach at screenwriting courses. It kicks off with the hook (the mystery caller) and proceeds via the exposition (the caller's problem) to the confrontation (Anna's cross-examination). Reversals and complications quickly follow (things the caller hadn't told us, but Anna discovers) before the climactic action (Anna's forthright advice) and the crisis and resolution (their reaction to Anna's advice). The denouement is frequently heart-warming: "You take care, love, all right."

Anna's callers know a lot about their chosen subject because their chosen subject tends to be themselves. Tommy Boyd, who follows her with current- affairs topics, is not so lucky. If Tommy announced one afternoon they were going to discuss "things we don't really know much about" every caller would be an expert.

On Wednesday the topic was Joan Collins and her attack on falling standards in Britain. James from Newmarket rang in to compare Joan Collins' views with something he'd thought he'd heard on The Big Breakfast about Roseanne Arnold being pregnant or something. He wasn't "too sure". But if she was, she might be coming to London to have a baby, which he thought was "a bit ironic". Tommy said, "I don't want to put words into your mouth but you seem to be saying ..." James listened in awe to what he seemed to be saying:

James: No I'm not saying that at all. Personally, I'm only 16.

Tommy: Yes, you are saying that. You haven't realised it yet but you must be.

James: Saying what exactly, sir?

Tommy: Saying that progress leads to a greater degree of lawlessness. A lack of respect for the elderly. An education system which is not serving the individual needs of individual children.

It's a bargain. For the price of a local call you can find out what it is you really think. Call in with something you've heard about Roseanne Arnold on The Big Breakfast and come away sounding like a member of John Redwood's think-tank. The caller ought to sign off by saying: "Thanks very much for your views." They'll come in handy.

Caesar the Geezer, the late-night "shock-jock", opens by warning people who are easily offended to "switch your knobs off". But, as in pro wrestling, the aggro is all hype. "It's the Germans," says the Geezer, wheezily gearing himself up to be controversial about the EU. "We should tell them to kiss our arses." More than half the complaints upheld by the Radio Authority in the last three months have been against Talk Radio. It goes to prove that the wrong people are listening. This is playground stuff. The Geezer ought only to take calls from those under 16.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

The 'caliphate'? We’ve heard Obama’s language of the Crusades before

Robert Fisk

Next they'll say an independent Scotland can't use British clouds...

Mark Steel
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan