I grew up with LBC. I can go back a far as the days of Monty Modlyn! I never really liked listening to music at night. So spoken word in the form of phone-in shows were for me, far more entertaining. When talkRADIO and the subsequent talkSPORT came into being, I discovered a new world of amusing presenters. Some were known as shock jocks; Brian Hayes for example on R2 is sorely missed because we really don’t have anyone of their like as a replacement.
talkRADIO had the likes of Jon Gaunt and James Whale for the controversy club while I preferred the more MOR Ian Collins; he’s to be found I think, but don’t quote me on it, at Radio London or 5Live these days.
Brian Hayes could be as obnoxious as he was refreshing, depending on your preferences in audio entertainment. I found this online and post it here in tribute although I;m fairly sure, given my appalling maths, that he is still with us at the age of 83.
Among the sadly departed of course is Mike Dickin. His untimely death was a huge loss to broadcasting, at least, so say I. When he came along on talkRADIO with his gruff voice and the ongoing debate and conjecture that he had often had a few before taking to the airwaves, the irony was that he often told callers to “take more water with it”.
As a logophile and defender of the English language, I was pleased at Dickins’ ban of the word “basically” or the term “at the end of the day”/ Callers who transgressed in this way more often than not had their call curtailed.
Stiff Little Fingers said that you can’t say crap on the radio – but Dickin did, as you will, hear now in this relatively short montage I’ve put together using some of the very few clips that are available on Youtube.
One clip that used to be there but has sadly been deleted was of a time when Mike recounted a time when he’d been on a train and had to suffer (and we’ve all been there) a person with one of these smartphones (at the time not so prevalent as they are today), where this chap was constantly calling on his phone: “this is (so and so) – could you put me through to” repeatedly, a real pain to listen to for other passengers.
Anyway, the chap got up at one point to use the loo, leaving his phone at the table whereby some brave soul got up… “I kid you not” (said Mike), took the phone, slid open a window and calmly let go of the wretched thing.
So what of today’s presenters by comparison? I’m drawing a contrast here between morning and evening listening on LBC. In the small hours there exists (and he will insist on this being true) a phenomenon by the name of Steve Allen.
Now there are times when I despair and there are times when he makes me laugh. It would be so easy to write disparagingly about Steve who probably is the queen (and I use the term loosely of course) of morning airtime.
His photo (they all seem to have him looking forty-something although he insists that he is of an elderly persuasion) doesn’t add up when while listening he sounds so much younger.
You can call him the biggest egotist, the campest DJ.. he really couldn’t care less!
He has a set-list for topics of conversation. I was jotting down a top ten and got as far as seven but ostensibly he will bang on mostly about the spike. The spike is when he comes on air and the listening figures for LBC rise from three to five. He will insist that actually this is four figures territory.
Type 2 diabetes which he has; hard to criticise on a health condition but boy does he mention it a lot!
Costco, that’s another one, Twickenham and surrounding areas of course, of which let’s see him in the raw, well not literally of course) in this video clip that’s almost a decade old now.
Pants. Can’t forget pants. All well and good that Steve prefers M&S and whether it’s Y-fronts or shorts is not the issue, it’s the amount of airtime he spends talking about his undies or pants in general which some may find odd.
But let’s have it right, Steve Allen is important for his vernal assassination of…. Z-listers!
In the wee small hours, major, sorry, minor celebs such as Peter Andre and Gemma Collins are regularly put down, it’s really great to hear and often has me in stitches.
As I say, he is Marmite. Love him or hate him, he does what he does and will hopefully be doing it for years to come yet. Here in full is his, at the time of this going to press, latest catch up.
And on LBC in the late evenings (but only on Fridays and Saturdays) you can find this guy. I only discovered the show recently and became an instant fan.
Nick Abbot muses on the current topics in his own style with hilarious in-house sound effects and his imitations of most people and things in general are fantastic, none better than his verbal take on “Donny” aka Donald Trump and “fake news”.
Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. Here’s last Friday’s show in full which includes regular caller Ranjit from Birmingham.
So there it is, Quality broadcasting does still exist. You may have to search long and hard to find it, given the plethora of choice that there is via DAB radio, podcasts and streaming.
I just wish that there were more clips available of the old school guys though; they really were something else.