Sunday 22 April 2018

Little ears are missing Hector

If your household is anything like ours, ruled by tiny iron fists and the odd milk-churning scowl, then the likelihood is that what you listen to on the car radio is generally decided by those who travel in back seats.

'Pathetic' scream the more authoritarian parents among you, who will argue that there is always the option to put one's foot down, insisting that the hushed family listens to whatever sport/current affairs/chat programme is on. But that doesn't make for the most pleasant of environments.

The other day I was chauferring the young lad and the younger lad to school. Deciding they had had enough of listening to their auld fella butchering Kris Kristofferson's back catalogue (it's such a shame they are they are too young to appreciate the lyrics of Sunday Morning Coming Down), they asked where Hector had gone. The erstwhile presenter of 2FM's Breakfast Show won a place in their hearts with his ability to strike a chord with listeners their age. The Cranky Car slot, in particular, was a big hit.

With the swift departure of Navan's most famous gaelgoir, we find ourselves kind of stumped when it comes to tuning into a morning radio show that is suitable for the kids. A form of 'morning radio show limbo' has now arisen.

RTE Radio 1's Morning Ireland focuses on what is wrong with the world far too soon in the day. 2FM has a fill-in presenter while we await the announcement of their new breakfast team, which is rumoured to comprise of Jennifer Maguire and Bernard O'Shea. Lyric FM caters for those that have long since left their Hot Press reading days behind. Newstalk, has too much talk. Beat FM is for the more angst-riddled teens. Then you have Today FM, which probably comes closest to acknowledging there are people under thirteen out there. After that, there's local radio; generally an inoffensive existence, with a welcome for one and all.

There has been much written recently about the direction in which 2FM is going, and the audience it is targeting. Media reports suggest its share of the market has plummeted to seven per cent, a significant fall from grace when you consider the late Gerry Ryan was regularly pulling in 350,000 listeners during his morning show. Losing Hector means that there is an army of younger listeners seeking a place where their little ears can hang out.

I'm not convinced the aural pleasures of the likes of the young lad and younger lad top the priority list when the suits get together to discuss the revenue advertising is generating – the bottom line when it comes to deciding who will fill Hector's vacated throne. However, it would sit well if kids were given some consideration when the final word is had.

Enniscorthy Guardian