Friday, 15 July 2016

Radio Review: 15 July

Danny Baker and Iain Lee reminisce about freebies

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176Having raved about both in these pages, it was delightful to hear Danny Baker calling into Iain Lee’s talkRADIO show last week (weekdays, 10pm-1am). A fairly drunken Baker at that, or, as he would say, ‘nicely alight’.

‘I’ve had a couple or three in the garden,’ he told Lee merrily, adding, ‘I’m about to start on the grappa. This could get interesting.’

The pair got stuck in fully on a number of subjects, starting with vinyl fanatic Baker’s latest record purchases. It pays to buy quadrophonic releases from the 1970s, he says, because the mixes are so different, even if you listen on a garden-variety stereo system. Jackson Browne’s Late For The Sky is a fine example.

The conversation then turned to the baffling ways of the BBC. The start point was Lee revealing that his first radio appearance was on a phone-in on Baker’s GLR show to win a David Essex record. Baker was away. Since the BBC ‘got caught with its hands in the till’, prize giveaways are dead.

Baker argued that the old system of the office taking some of the freebies and giving the rest away worked well. ‘If we had Springsteen tickets, people started to say “I bet you’ve given four to your staff”. Of course we had. Now nobody gets Springsteen tickets. Are you happy?’

Then it was on to originality in broadcasting. Baker offered up one of Buster Keaton’s maxims. ‘Your only duty is to out-think the audience and double-cross them,’ he said. In other words, to avoid the obvious and make your work something that nobody else could have dreamed up.

It could be argued that this was Tony Blair’s logic behind invading Iraq, and his post- Chilcot interview with John Humphrys on Today (weekdays, 6am-9am) was a self-justifying, wheedling display. For once, Humphrys was on form.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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