Thursday, 23 August 2012

No one gets it right

It's a very simple job, you take time, you research and you build drama around that setting. "ER" did it for American Health Care, "The Bill" did it for the British Police, but no one ever gets radio right. Ever.

I've just had the misfortune to listen to "The Archers" on BBC Radio 4 and their portrayal of a local radio presenter was so wrong it hurt.

If they carry on like that they'll have to have the Police saying "'ello 'ello 'ello, what's goin' on 'ere then".

So what's wrong with the radio industry (particularly LOCAL radio) as shown in drama?

1) Presenters are not stupid - In the BBC most people are graduates with post graduate diplomas in journalism. Or have started in Radio at a University; because it's the only place you can be an amateur these days. However they often become cyphers for a story so they always present from the point of view of an idiot. Commercial DJ's live and die by RAJAR figures, if you're stupid then you don't survive, you need to be a chameleon, working a subject from all angles.

2) Very few people, and I really mean VERY few people have a 'radio voice'. Fashions change, and what used to work for Tony Blackburn no longer works for the radio audience. Listen to any local and you'll hear someone talking to you... that's what they do. There may be occasions that it sounds "Radio" but you try telling an empty room what song you were just listening to and you won't sound normal either.

3) They Con people into giving interviews and then unmask them - Yup, Eddy Grundy in "The Archers" has just been made a laughing stock in a scenario that wouldn't have happened because of producer guidelines on fair dealing and briefing guests.

4) Presenters are well paid. Your average BBC Presenter is paid on the same scale as the producer, or a journalist in the news room. There are some exceptions, but in general it's less than you'd expect. Commercial radio, unless you're on a networked Breakfast Show can be minimum wage... I have been there... some are very well off, but the majority? Average to middling.

Minor rant, but it annoys me that with even a tiny bit of research the industry could be represented in a much better way.

Notice I didn't mention Partridge? Comedy always gets closer to the truth.

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