Saturday 18 November 2017

Radio: Fighting road rage with Kim Kardashian

Derek Mooney
Derek Mooney

Damian Corless

A person usually has two reasons for doing anything - a very good reason and the real reason.

That penetrating insight, which has been attributed to any number of famous people, appeared to be the theme of a conversation this week on The Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk, Mon-Fri, 10am-12.30pm) between Pat and Frank McDonagh of Mileage Tyres.

Frank was livid at the news that Environment Minister Alan Kelly is to press ahead with plans to stick a €3 recycling levy on car tyres, rising to €10 per truck tyre. The very good reason for this, according to the minister, is that the new charge will go a long way towards curing the scourge of fly tipping, which has turned the Wicklow Mountains and other beauty spots into giant, rubbered-up eyesores.

McDonagh explained that the price of every tyre sold in Ireland already incorporates a charge for recycling, and that inflicting yet another double-taxation on the long-suffering motorist will have no deterrent effect on the dumpers, who do what they do because they can, safe in the knowledge that the policing of their activities is threadbare.

"There's no logic to it," fumed the tyre spokesman, while texters registered anger at what looks suspiciously like yet another ploy to use the green agenda to camouflage the real business of gouging the punter.

"What is anger?" asked Pat, kicking off a waffle-heavy chat with Beth Fitzpatrick, an anger-management counsellor. It turns out anger is "a thought", a learned behaviour that can be unlearned with the help of a qualified professional. As Beth put it: "Anger is not like epilepsy, which happens to your body. Anger is a choice that can be controlled. Anger is very common and very easily fixed."

Straying all over the place, the item tested the patience. At one point Beth suggested that since we can get angry when things don't work out how we'd like, one way to defuse it would be to "lower your expectations".

Pat is a serial achiever who bounds over high expectations without breaking stride, so this didn't sit well with him at all. Fuelling a cliche, a hurler texted in to say he had anger issues, but without supplying any details. Another texter popped the question: "I get angry when I drink wine. Why is this?" It didn't merit a dignified reply and didn't get one. Even the unflappable Pat fell under the giddy spell, proposing: "Every time you feel road rage coming on, think of Kim Kardashian."

Sorry, Pat, but in what universe would thinking of Kim Kardashian make anyone less angry?

Having forfeited his afternoon magazine slot to RTÉ's prodigal son, Ray D'Arcy, Derek Mooney has been restored to the Mooney Goes Wild Show (RTÉ Radio 1, 10pm-11pm, Sun) where he made his name and where he still seems most in his element. So far so good. But can someone at Montrose explain why this superb wildlife show has been banished to the broadcasting Gulag of late Sunday nights, when it is so clearly the perfect, breezy fare for Saturday mornings?

Has Derek transgressed some unwritten law? Did some Mallard ducks harass a senior RTÉ executive? How about chopping the first hour of Marian Finucane's Saturday show and running Goes Wild from 11am to noon? While that same hour of Finucane's show on Sundays - where a guest panel rakes through the week's scandals - is usually required radio, on Saturdays it's far too often filled with chummy, slumbersome, er, filler.

On BBC Radio 4 the veteran broadcaster James Burke hosted an entertaining romp through the archives of TV's Tomorrow World on Tomorrow's World, Today (BBC Radio 4, 8pm, Saturday), which started up 50 years ago and ran for 38 years.

As one contributor pointed out, for decades the science show shared a Thursday golden hour with Top Of The Pops, which was in its heyday.

"What's not to like," he said, without fear of contradiction.

One presenter recalled that when the team were asked to demonstrate an early 'brick mobile phone, they tried to resist on the grounds that a phone without a chord was pie in the sky.

The first female host, Judith Hann, who was introduced to viewers assumed to be sceptical as "tomorrow's girl", recalled that the show went out live for years, and almost every live demonstration of a new gadget ended in disaster. She confessed that to this day she cannot listen to the theme tune without feeling sick in her stomach "because it brings me back to a time when I knew that whatever I was about to demonstrate, it wouldn't work."

The soundbite that raised the biggest giggle, however, came from the Cold War '60s when presenter Raymond Baxter told viewers, in all earnestness, that the Russians had embarked on a plan to make contact with approaching aliens before they reached Earth, in order to get to them "before they can be contaminated by the capitalists".

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