Friday, 08 April 2016

Radio Review: 8 April

Talk radio that merits a ringing endorsement

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176I think the callers to Iain Lee’s new show on talkRADIO (weekdays, 10pm-1am) might be the exception to my rule that no one who wants to call a radio phone-in should be allowed to do so. The chap claiming to have a hotline to Miley Cyrus was my favourite, informing Lee that he’d told her to listen to the show. It was either him or the bloke who rang up to say he’d had his tonsils removed in 1928.

When so much phone-in radio (including, let’s be honest, most of the talkRADIO schedule) consists of dull people speaking with strident certainty about topics they barely comprehend, a show as gleeful and strange as Lee’s is to be eagerly embraced. Subjects such as Brexit and immigration are verboten, and instead we get iPod Roulette and interviews with Lee’s musical heroes, like Colin Blunstone of The Zombies and Andy Partridge of XTC.

It’s sometimes hard to tell which callers are in on the jokes and which are genuinely ringing in from a home for the bewildered, but Lee treats them all with kindly mockery. One caller who had trouble being heard was asked, ‘Is your phone made of cardboard?’, a prelude to a tangent by Lee on the viability of biodegradable cardboard phones.

Lee and the splendid Jon Holmes (weekdays, 1pm-4pm) seem to be making an art of needling their fellow presenters. Lee made a stinging reference to ‘doing a Julia’, as in Hartley- Brewer (weekdays, 10am-1pm), meaning to receive no calls at all. The station’s premium-rate number can’t be helping in this regard. Meanwhile, Holmes called Art Garfunkel the Paul Ross (weekdays, 6am-10am) to Paul Simon’s Jonathan Ross.

In the fullness of time, it’ll be interesting to see how the more conventional shows sit alongside the weird and wonderful worlds of Holmes and Lee.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net


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