Thursday 29 September 2016

Radio all sounds much the same

Ellis O'Hanlon

Published 15/11/2015 | 02:30

Steph and Dom: Gogglebox's boozy twosome hit Irish radio
Steph and Dom: Gogglebox's boozy twosome hit Irish radio

Why tune in to one show rather than another? Why favour one radio station over the next one along on the dial?

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All the evidence suggests that listeners remain sentimentally loyal to particular broadcasters, but it's increasingly difficult to tell many shows apart, not least because of a crossover of guests.

Today FM's Anton Savage last week interviewed Steph and Dom, the posh, boozy couple from Channel 4 reality show Gogglebox. So did Sean Moncrieff on Newstalk.

Moncrieff also featured stand-up comedian Des Bishop. So did the Anton Savage Show. Des himself had been a guest on the previous Friday's Late, Late Show. As had… you guessed it… Steph and Dom.

No surprise then to find them on the Eoghan MacDermott afternoon slot on 2FM too. There are only so many times one can hear the same anecdotes. Though to be fair to McDermott, his interview was the most fun, as he was offered champagne by the TV couple and wondered if he was allowed to drink on air and whether the anti-alcohol brigade would be on his back if he did. "F*** that sh**," said Steph. "Have some." (Only that first expletive was actually bleeped out live on air).

The drinks industry should adopt that as its new motto.

One way to make a show stand out from its rivals is to open the door to guests no one else either wants or will touch. Moncrieff seemed to have ticked that box this week when welcoming Irish comedian Grainne Maguire, who has been tweeting Taoiseach Enda Kenny details of her menstrual cycle as part of a protest against the Eighth Amendment on abortion.

Grainne had been on the BBC World Service and Radio 4's Woman's Hour in the previous few days, but told Sean that, in Ireland, "apart from your good self it has been absolute radio silence - nothing, nada, not a thing", with "absolutely no coverage on RTE radio or television".

The following day, Radio One's Ray D'Arcy Show took up the baton, though there's no way of knowing if it was in response to that challenge.

Ray immediately made one of his trademark random vacuous remarks by saying of Mia Farrow, who had expressed support for Maguire's campaign on Twitter: "Did she tweet about her menstrual cycle? Though she probably doesn't have one any more." Why that comment was deemed necessary or appropriate is anybody's guess.

Maguire's central contention that Irish women are made to "feel shame about their body at every single stage" of life is over-stated, to say the least, but of course D'Arcy didn't challenge it. Instead he reserved his criticism for female listeners who texted in to express disagreement with the comic's tactics.

"So much for the sisterhood there," he replied.

Right, so feminism these days means women with the 'wrong' views being told what to think by 50-something men who know what's right for the ladies better than they do? Is that how it works now?

Sunday Independent

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