Lady Radio

What's what on the wireless. The blog accompaniment to The Lady magazine's radio column, overseen with a stern eye, a keen ear and an educated pen by Louis Barfe.

UKIP - what is it for?

Posted by Louis Barfe
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on Sunday, 12 October 2014
I don't know about you, but I hate being told what I think. Here is LBC's James O'Brien asking a UKIP supporter what his party stands for. Not what it stands against.  Tellingly, the chap doesn't have a clue, but he's certain of one thing. Immigration is "the question on everyone's lips". He claims to know what everyone is thinking, despite being a bit unsure about what he thinks himself. You don't speak for me, matey. The only question in my head right now is "Having had breakfast late, is it too soon to have lunch?".


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The aptly-named FUBAR Radio

Posted by Louis Barfe
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on Thursday, 09 October 2014
It's not looking too good for Fubar Radio, the online station that made a virtue of being unfettered by conventional broadcasting regulations. Live shows are being replaced increasingly with a selection of old recordings. The idea was that the station would be funded by subscriptions, but while Fubar was offering free six-month subs to all and sundry, as they have done, it was unclear why anyone would bother paying.

Now former presenter Jon Gaunt is alleging that he hasn't been paid by Fubar, and has tried to corral support from fellow Fubar presenters like comedian Ray Peacock, only to discover exactly how highly he is regarded by his ex-colleagues. Not very highly at all, as it happens.

Unregulated radio has the potential to be hugely exciting, and for a while, Fubar appeared to be fulfilling that potential, enlisting good comedians like Ray Peacock and his partner Ed Gamble, and Richard Herring, then giving them the freedom to let rip. However, the alarm bells rang in my head when Fubar recruited Justin Lee Collins, a convicted abuser of women, whose career deserves to languish for eternity. It seemed that the station was aiming to create controversy for its own sake.

This impression was underlined when tedious, boorish Jon Gaunt came on board earlier this year. Gaunt is a one-trick pony. A rabble-rouser whose self-belief outstrips his talent by some way. His sacking by TalkSPORT after he called council officials 'health Nazis' and the subsequent Ofcom ruling have rendered him to all intents and purposes unemployable in conventional regulated radio.

He spins it as censorship, but the simple fact is that a cleverer broadcaster (like, say, Gaunt's Fubar producer Nick Margerrison, for whom I have great professional respect as well as liking him personally) would have been able to make exactly the same points without getting banned from an entire medium.

Gaunt's school of talk radio is based on the principle of 'he who shouts loudest and has control of the faders has the last laugh', which is a dead end at the best of times. Meanwhile, his unique selling point on Fubar was that, being freed from the usual restrictions of impartiality, he could give extensive air time to Paul Nuttall of UKIP and ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson. Unfortunately for Gaunt and Fubar, though, nobody was buying.

There almost certainly is a future for unregulated radio in the UK, and the possibilities are limitless. This is why it's a crying shame to waste this potential by enlisting repetitive duffers like Gaunt. As a result, Fubar is now living up to its name.




When radio goes wrong

Posted by Louis Barfe
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on Friday, 15 March 2013
There is a website called RadioFail dedicated to harvesting clips of disastrous wireless, and it's a thing of joy and rare beauty. One of the latest uploads is a clip from Caroline Martin's phone-in on BBC WM, in which a listener called Rosie reveals her traumatic past very cheerfully. Note Martin's gushing, fake-sounding "If you've been affected by the issues..." concern for the poor old love. Note also Rosie not taking a blind bit of notice and carrying on with hilarious consequences. If you're in a public place, plug some headphones in.

http://radiofail.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/bbc-wminge/

Daphne Oxenford

Posted by Louis Barfe
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on Friday, 11 January 2013
In this week's column, I note the sad passing of Daphne Oxenford and mention her work with Les Dawson, particularly playing a miserable couple called The Desponds. Here's a lovely clip of Dawson and Oxenford in action.

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Remember them THIS way

Posted by Louis Barfe
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on Thursday, 06 December 2012
Apologies for radio silence. When the Lady site was last redesigned, I forgot how to log in. Now, some mountain rescue St Bernards have located me and dragged me back to safety and here I am, sharing with you a beautiful celebration of the jewel in radio's crown, the Radio 1 Breakfast Show.

At some time in the 1980s, it was decided to liven up an underpass beneath the Westway with murals. Including this one. Don't look for it, it's not there anymore, having been painted over, but we must be profoundly grateful that someone captured it with their camera. What's that in Tony Blackburn's mouth? Some uncommonly milky BBC tea? Ectoplasm? Worse?

The Breakfast Show, BBC Radio 1

It's not that the likenesses are particularly bad. In fact, they're rather good. Apart from Mike Smith, obviously, which requires a certain amount of mental and retinal detachment to be readily idenitifable. It's just the composition, the use of the old BBC logo and the fact that it was no doubt used as a lavatory for the dogs and drunks of W12 that make it so very special.
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