Tuesday 20 March 2018

Radio: Reality radio? How about 'Get Me Off This Identikit Panel Show'

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Why are there no radio versions of reality TV? I don't actually want this to happen, of course, but I am curious nonetheless.

One of the biggies of the genre, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, has just returned to the telly-box. There's no audio equivalent, though, or very few.

I seem to recall a local station in Kerry running some competition years ago, where people had to live in a small car. There were updates, live reports and all that. Other than this, I'm drawing a blank.

It seems a bit strange, because TV and radio borrow off one another all the time – especially from the wireless to the screen. Loads of famous comedies, presenters and documentaries began life as radio shows before reaching an even wider audience on TV.

And reality TV, while absolutely awful, is big box-office for TV producers – why not so, then, for radio stations? Also, to be honest, it's hardly any worse than a lot of the drek we hear: late-night phone-in shows, hyperactive daytime DJs, the depressingly endless regurgitation of classic hits.

What form would reality radio take, I wonder? "I'm a Rent-a-Quote Pundit With an Inflated Ego, Get Me Off This Identikit Panel Show"? That might work. Then again, maybe not.

Or perhaps we could get some sort of spin on another reality TV giant, Big Brother: 10 attention-seeking eejits sit around moaning and being lazy.

I mean, nothing would ever happen, but it'd still be more entertaining than virtually every radio debate on the economy, and that's about 60pc of total programming at the moment.

Another question, related to that: why don't radio shows review the TV? They cover all the arts and media, except for possibly the most influential medium of them all. The Last Word on Today FM has a telly slot once a week – I'm struggling to think of another example.

This sounds a bit like proselytising for television, which isn't the case: I'd sooner people read a book than stared dopily at the "methadone metronome" all evening. But the fact remains that TV is a huge part of modern culture, and should be reviewed as such, along with books, films, exhibitions, newspapers and whatever else.


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