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Tag: radio

On Alex Dyke’s comments on breastfeeding…

Sometimes folks you have to laugh because if you didn’t then you might cry. Alex Dyke is a virtual nobody to anyone outside of the Isle of Wight and latterly the wider BBC Radio Solent region. He fronted the call-in show on Isle of Wight Radio from 1991 until his dismissal from the station in late 2008 and spent the next short while if I remember correctly working on a web based radio service on the IoW before uprooting to the USA for a bit and returning to the UK and being a staple on BBC Radio Solent.

Alex Dyke and the BBC was never a marriage made in heaven. Dyke has always courted controversy and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you want to be a talk in host. Those that are the most confrontational and walk the thin line between good taste and being a douche often do well because they try to get people riled up enough to call in. This leads to people saying things that they either believe in but aren’t the widespread viewpoint or they may even say things they don’t believe in to get a reaction. Sometimes they go too far but many times a talk in host will say things that they don’t really think.

I have no insight into what Alex Dyke’s real views on breastfeeding are, I have met Alex and indeed back in the day I even spent a short stint at Isle of Wight Radio when Alex was presenting there. If you told me that his Neanderthal approach to breastfeeding were his real viewpoints then I wouldn’t be surprised one jot but on the flip side, if you told me that his views were just to inflame the listeners and piss people off enough to get them talking about him and his radio show then that also wouldn’t shock me one jot.

The fact that his comments made to a wider audience such as The Last Leg on Channel 4 have only done one thing though and that isn’t bring attention to his comments but bring attention to him. I doubt he is that upset by this. I doubt he is that upset by this at all. His only apology was to those who felt offended by his comments, he didn’t apologise for making said comments. Looking at his twitter feed he seems to be enjoying the limelight.

These were some of his comments on the issue:

“Couldn’t mums just stay at home and do it? I’m not offended by it, I’m just made to feel uncomfortable about it.

“You wouldn’t get ‘yummy mummies’… breastfeeding in public. Those kind of women wouldn’t do it because they’re very image-conscious and they know it’s not a great look.”
Breastfeeding mother

“I blame the Earth mothers, you know the ones I mean, the ones with the moustaches, the ones who work in libraries, the ones who wear hessian, the ones they’re always on Radio 4 on Women’s Hour, they are always pushing the boundaries and making us feel uncomfortable.

“Breastfeeding is unnatural. It’s the kind of thing that should be done in a quiet, private nursery.

“It was OK in the Stone Age when we knew no better, when people didn’t have their own teeth… but now I just think a public area is not the place for it and fellas don’t like it.”

Now whilst some of these comments are ridiculous, the final sentence says a great deal. People didn’t have teeth in the stone age…yeah ok then Alex…he clearly either knows naff all about evolution or is just talking out of his rear one to try and inflame the listeners to ring up his show so they could call him names and point out what shit he was peddling, yet again the classic signs of an attention whore or what we’d more commonly call them – radio talk-in presenters.

Whether Alex Dyke really believes his comments isn’t really the issue, what is, is the fact that the media are playing right into his hands by keeping him in the news. What have we noticed about the likes of Katie Hopkins? Those that pedal bullshit will always find a home within some spectrum of the media. Alex Dyke’s name is now being bandied about in the media and he now has more klout than he ever has done before.

His name is known beyond the confines of the BBC Radio Solent region and should the station not bring him back after his suspension then I’m sure they’ll be larger commercial stations lining up sign him up. If the BBC do bring him back then he’ll return to record audiences as people listen to those they disagree with just as much (or even more so) than those they agree with.

All we are doing by keeping talking about him (and I myself in this blog am guilty of this – but no-one reads this so who cares) is fanning the flames of Alex Dyke. We can all call him names and point out how stupid and moronic the things he said are but we don’t need to, it is obvious they are stupid and moronic, by doing so all we are doing is play into his hands.

I have no idea if this was a calculated move by the presenter but even if it wasn’t, he couldn’t have bought personal publicity like this and in the end it’ll be him laughing al the way to either larger RAJAR ratings or a larger bank balance or possibly both. Sometimes it is better to ignore those who say stupid stuff because at some point they’ll either stop saying stupid stuff or just go away completely.

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An ode to Classic FM TV

As some of you may know I am involved in local Hospital Radio. For the past few weeks I have been recording some extra standby shows for when a presenter is unable to present his or her show and two of them I am extremely proud of so I thought I’d speak about them here on the blog and provide download links in case you wanted to hear them.

Years ago there was a channel on the Sky EPG called ‘Classic FM TV’ which featured modern classical music from opera to instrumental. I used to listen to it a lot when I felt a bit down or a bit up tight as it would relax me and chill me out. This might surprise a few people but I found this music often inspiring as well as relaxing. Alas it stopped transmitting in December 2007 and a lot of this music became lost to me.

One thing that I personally enjoy about radio and in particular doing these types of shows is I get to (re)discover lots of different music. Being part of a radio station really does open your eyes to so many different genres of music and on this occasion it allowed me to reminisce about many tracks that I had completely forgotten about over the past few years.

So if you were a fan of Classic FM TV or just a lover of modern classical music then feel free to have a listen. The links are below. Or if you just want to hear just how bad I am as a radio presenter then feel free to do that as well. I’d recommend just ignoring my waffle and enjoy the music.

An Ode to Classic FM TV part 1.
An Ode to Classic FM TV part 2.


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Just catching up with things…

I have been relatively quiet on here for a couple of weeks. In reality I have been relatively quiet across all Social Media in the past couple of weeks. I have been in a sort of malaise regarding a lot of things. I’ve had a lack of energy and drive. This isn’t to say I’ve been down as you’ll find out later if you read long enough that isn’t the case but it has just been a general malaise.

Last week was weird. Like seriously weird. I’m not going to write all of the weirdness on here but there was a 48 hour period where pretty much everything that happened seemed to be the universe conspiring against me. However of course the universe doesn’t tend to work like that so I’ll just take it as a few freak occurrences that seemed to transpire in close proximity to one another.

So what I’d thought I’d do is blog briefly on the main things going on and we’ll see if I expand on any of these in subsequent days…

On Thatcher’s death…having been brought up in my formative years on a council estate with shall we say not Maggie lovers as parents there aren’t many tears being shed. However I do find it distasteful seeing people reveling in her death – certainly people who aren’t old enough to have seen her as Prime Minister. I was seven when she left office and don’t feel that I know enough to judge her time in office – nor her as a person. Even though my upbringing was certainly anything but Pro-Thatcher I just think the best thing to do – even for those who despise her – is to keep your own counsel and give thoughts to her family.

On the media…well my own opinion is what it is but I think I am in a position to look at and have strong opinions on the way the media have reacted. I think that considering the bias that the BBC is said to have to the left, that they have gone overboard on her passing. I also think certain right-wing newspapers have done the same. I know the former PM was very much a marmite person (I know so many people who hate that term but heck its true) but she was never Mother Teresa or Florence Nightingale and I get the sense some media outlets think she was more important and a better person than the pair of them put together.

On Lib Demmery…it is a strange year in Southend. With no elections in 2013 life is relatively quiet. We have seen the council change from No Overall Control to a Conservative majority of one following a defection to the Tories in recent weeks and that has caused an interesting domino effect. However don’t expect anything too dramatic to happen until around this time next year when we find out who is standing where across Southend.

On High Court victory…the fact that the Portsmouth Supporters Trust are set to take ownership of Portsmouth Football Club this week pleases me. Like everyone I can’t predict the future but I do know that it was PST or bust and I trust the trust as it were. With a ten-point penalty set to relegate the club it will mean Portsmouth travelling to Southend next season and should I still be living in the area then it’ll be nice to see the lads for the first time in a few years. You never know I could be commentating on the game!

On commentating…I think I have done seven or eight games so far this season. Only did one before the turn of the year but have done roughly half the home games since and have yet to see the Blues win. It has got to the stage where the security guy laments my arrival and said to me yesterday, ‘when I saw you sitting there I knew we were doomed.’ He says we need to get my jinx out of the way and luckily (or unluckily depending on your PoV) I’m behind the microphone for the last home game left of the season – Morecombe on Saturday the 27th.

On dreams…one thing I have learnt about myself is whilst we all dream every night, I only ever tend to remember my dreams when I’m stress-free. Recently I have been in a dream state many times with some extremely vivid dreams. These are both entertaining and at times concerning. Dreams are like your very own television show where usually you are the star. The thing is though clearly I’m feeling ok about life despite this general malaise that I’ve been going through.

On the week ahead…I’m out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings for various activities. My favourite TV show returns for its 9th season – Deadliest Catch and I’m still breaking in 12 new pairs of socks. I know how to enjoy life folks. I really do. Socks with large holes in are a thing of the past (for now) the only question left is will pj bottoms with holes in be a thing of the past? Yeah we’ll see about that…

So to sum up I’m still alive. I’m doing fine and I’m clearly relatively stress free. I hope that my blogging buzz returns soon.

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Grant Coleman – an inspiration to someone he’s never met or probably even heard of


I suspect only a handful of people who ever stumbles across my blog will even know who Grant Coleman is. Well for those that don’t he was Sports Editor at BBC Radio Solent for what seemed like my whole childhood. He often got accused of being a Southampton fan but Pompey fans and vice versa by Southampton fans. Bournemouth fans just thought he hated them. Oh the joys of being in charge of sport for a station with three league clubs.

When I first used to listen to BBC Radio Solent’s sports show they didn’t have any live commentary of either Saints, Pompey or the Cherries but in time they slowly started doing games. First it was the odd second half here and there and then they would broadcast the biggest game of the day from the three clubs. Then slowly they split the frequencies so they could broadcast more than one live match at a time and as we stand today all three clubs will have every game live on some part of the BBC Radio Solent frequency.

I haven’t lived in the BBC Radio Solent region since 2002 and in all honesty once I became a Season Ticket holder at Fratton Park the amount of games I listened to on either Solent (or 107.4 The Quay) went down dramatically. I’d go watch Newport IoW if they were at home or often even follow them away as well. When Jeff and the boys started to really get Soccer Saturday going I’d watch that although I’d still listen to the Pompey games online. These days I don’t bother and if I’m in I’m usually just watching Jeff and the boys.

However this is now and I’m talking about then. Portsmouth Football Club was a significant part of my world for many years. These days less so but they’ll still always be my club. In the late 90s the club were on the verge of going to the wall and I truly believe that three men were huge parts in why they didn’t go under and that the club survived. Everyone knows about Alan Ball. Just a great man and words cannot describe what Portsmouth fans feel for the man. The next is Tom Burton who was the administrator appointed to oversee the club. It was him who managed the purse strings enough to both keep the club up and secondly get the club sold on. Then there is Grant Coleman.

Grant Coleman as Sports Editor at BBC Radio Solent kept the club very much in the news and his passion for the club shone through. The year of the Great Escape in 1998 is something no PFC fan will ever forget. That game away to Crewe Alexandra where it all started down 3-0 and ABBAWA rang out loud and proud. Three days the later the now infamous Stockport County game where there were nearly four million fans inside Fratton Park (if you believe everyone who said they were there) but in all honesty I think it was just under 9,000 if my memory serves me right. I was listening at home that night and the atmosphere was insane and Grant Coleman couldn’t believe it.

We would fight on and somehow took it to the final day of the season. We had to win at Bradford and if we did we were safe whatever happened in the Stoke City v Manchester City game. Behind this link is the three goals from Grant Coleman that day (with Alan Knight in the background). A truly great day but it was Grant Coleman to whom I aspired to be. A good man running sports at local radio. Kind of a humble aspiration no?

Well those dreams have faded and life as they say has moved on but when I made my live football radio commentary debut last weekend I couldn’t help to think back to the man I aspired to be. Doing some internet research it seems as though he lives in Spain now working for the Olympics Host Broadcaster out of Madrid. Doesn’t seem like a bad gig. However I just want it out there that he was the man who made me want to be on radio covering football. I doubt he’ll ever read this but I just want it out there. There are plenty of people who have inspired me in my life but very few of those are people I’ve never even spoken to but he is certainly one of them.

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Last night at the age of 28 I achieved my #1 lifelong ambition – here’s the story

For those of you who read this who have known me for many years you’ll know what my lifelong ambition was. Those who haven’t known me for that long probably won’t know. Some might think it’s to become an MP and maybe in time Prime Minister. That isn’t it. Some might think it’s to find a partner and live happily ever after. No it’s not that. Some might think it was to become a professional sportsman. Nah I’m afraid from a young age my minor disability pretty much put pay to that. Some might think that that it is to become a published fiction author. Whilst that is an ambition it has never been the most important goal of mine.

My number one ambition from a very young age was to become a sports commentator – not for TV – but for radio. I had no ambitions to call an England World Cup game for the BBC (although heck if happened I wouldn’t exactly be complaining) but it was to call a football game live on radio. It didn’t matter if it was a small community station or a large national network. The act of calling a live game was what I wanted to do.

Well last night – Tuesday 9 August 2011 – I achieved my main life ambition. I co-commentated on Southend United v Leyton Orient live for Southend Hospital Radio and the blind inside in Roots Hall. I had been asked before but turned it down as I wanted to wait until it was right and I could get into a rhythm. This off season I was asked if I’d like to takeover the position on a semi-permanent basis and I agreed and that semi will be withdrawn once the incumbent finally moves away which is what he is looking to do. So for this season it looks as though I’ll be doing the majority of evening games with a few Saturday’s thrown in as and when.

I must admit that I thought I’d be a lot more nervous than I was. This was my main life goal I was about to achieve and I just got on with it. I met my co-commentator briefly last Wednesday and last night was the first time we had a real conversation. Yet we gelled extremely quickly and we had a very simple system. David was the play-by-play guy and I was the analyst. I didn’t want to talk over him so I used the technique I know Murray Walker and Martin Brundle used when they first worked together – if I had something I wanted to say I’d just touch his arm and he’d finish up what he was saying and allow me to speak. He’d also come to me at various moments during play to summerise what that attack had gone etc…

The broadcast box at the back of the Directors Box had BBC Essex, another station, Sky Sports News and us. Therefore we were sat next to Tony Colliver who was doing the game for the Gillette Soccer Special. That was pretty cool. The most bizarre thing is you had three channels doing live commentary and you can hear them all very clearly so you have to zone out of everything around you and just tune into your broadcast partners voice. BBC Essex were extremely lively (and was David) so it was probably good that were at opposite ends of the commentary box!

As for the game itself well it went to Extra Time & Penalties. I just had a feeling that it would. First game and we were made to work overtime. We threw back to the studio at half-time but from the start of the second half until the penalty shoot-out was over it was all us. So the best part of two hours non-stop. I also did play-by-play briefly a couple of times whilst David was helping Tony out with a couple of things. I remember once finishing my sentence and realising David was busy talking to Tony so had to carry on. The call of the penalty shoot-out was terrific as I was talking most of the time between each spot kick so I could get into a flow and a half.

I know some of say ‘pfft it’s only hospital radio and for the blind so who cares’ but I’d reply that the people listening in the hospital and the blind at the ground care. I’m 28 now and my aspirations in the media industry are pretty much in the rear view mirror. I do radio for fun and not for a career. In my time I’ve been the editor of the most popular two sections of one of the top ten football sites out there at the time, been a Sports Editor of a network of 47 websites, been featured in The Times and the Wall Street Journal and for a couple of years provided snapshot match reports for The Observer. I’ve been interviewed live in the Sky News studio (although I still have never watched it back – but it is on YouTube if you fancy watching it – just search for my name and it will come up) and read the news on Local Radio and been interviewed for many national radio stations. So I have done a fair bit but that is mostly in my past I think. If something comes up that changes that then so be it but I’m happy enough just to do it for fun and my career isn’t exactly doing awfully in another profession and I’m not sitting on the breadline.

I must admit that I do think that doing this (and other Hospital Radio stuff) makes me feel like I’m doing something for the community and giving something back. I’m a relatively selfish person. I live alone and work from home but I am happy to give my time and energies to causes that I feel are worthwhile. As someone else said last week at the radio whilst I was doing my Wednesday show ‘if only one person every few weeks rings up and says that you’ve really made their stay in hospital more bearable then we are doing ok’. You don’t want to get patted on the back every day or every week but just so you know that people are helped by what you do every so often then that is all that matters and it makes the whole process more than worthwhile.

I don’t know when my next game is but it won’t be far away. David who has been doing it for yonks said he felt it came across really well and I’ll speak with the Programme Controller tonight to see what he thought about how it came across (he was presenting from the studio end). I’m my own worst critic as anyone who knows me well will attest but even I thought it sounded very good and it just worked extremely well. If I didn’t think I was doing it justice then I’d say so and not do it any more but that was good. I’m sure of it.

One thing I need to write as I’m a name-dropper. Just before I left last night I got a good luck message from pop star Gabriella Cilmi. I’m sorry but that is totally awesome. Thank you to her and to all the other good luck messages I got on Twitter, Facebook, E-mail and via text. They were all very much appreciated.

So that is my main life ambition done. Let’s look at the opening paragraph again and see what I can work on next. Let me see…

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All Brand New Southend Hospital Radio Downloads Page

Hello All.

I have finally got round to sorting out the mess that was my Southend Hospital Radio Download Links. Now instead of being listed to the right of the screen they are all listed on one page which I will update frequently. The new page is behind the following link – Southend Hospital Radio Downloads and it can be found at all times in the right-hand nav near the top of the screen.

Listed are all the shows that are available to download along with dates, hosts and presenters of each show.

There is even a bonus download of a random show from some time in early 2007 featuring the one legendary and missed Nick Holmes. If he ever reads this then please get in touch.

So if you have any interest in Hospital Radio then have a gander or even if you are just interested in hearing just how terrible I am at radio then the same applies. Enjoy and please let me know what you think either via e-mail or by leaving a comment. For all enquiries about Southend Hospital Radio then please send me an e-mail or look at the official SHR website.

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Southend Hospital Radio on Wednesday Nights

Those who know me will know that Hospital Radio has been a significant part of my life since the autumn of 2006. There was a two-year hiatus whilst I was living and working in Aldershot but I still did the odd show when visiting my Mum but in 2009 I moved back to the area and have been a regular ever since.

The show I primarily do is the Wednesday Night Request one and the cast of characters have changed over the years. Seems a long time since it was Lyn, Nick and myself. I still wonder what happened to Nick Holmes. He must be around 22 or so and living in the Westcliff-on-Sea area of Southend. If anyone knows his whereabouts or if he himself is reading this then please get in touch.

These days the cast list is longer and deeper but Lyn is still there ans the shows are just as entertaining. I have uploaded many of the shows on the right hand side of this page should anyone ever want to listen. The shows are all dated. However I thought I’d point out a couple of the more interesting shows for the curious. The show that caused Rhi to dream about Care Bears for several days is the 10th November Show. A few weeks ago Will shall we say had a ‘funny five minutes’ on the show dated 23rd March.

The week before last the lunatics were left in charge of the alyssum. I must say I thought the Request Show that night was first-rate and as a Brucie Bonus I also did a rare solo show covering the 60s Show. The latest show is the 13/04/2011 one.

I know I still hate the sound of my own voice on radio and think I’m awful when I listen back (although I think I’m amazing whilst on air – listening back I just cringe). However people say we do a decent job and they enjoy what we do and I have been requested for downloadable versions from more than a handful of people so what the heck – can’t be all that bad.

Anyone with any interest have a listen and if you are interested in volunteering in Hospital Radio then get in touch with your local Hospital Radio station. I’m sure they’ll be appreciative and you’ll be doing a good thing that really makes an actual difference and meet a few people too!

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Southend Hospital Radio – dragging themselves into the modern era

Just a quick post to talk about what I do on Wednesday Night’s – well apart from try and find gorgeous nurses around Southend Hospital. I’m at Southend Hospital for the purpose of presenting a Hospital Radio show. I have done it for four years – although for a while I was in the main an absentee member due to the fact I lived 100 miles away – but now I’m back and once more I feel comfortable with the show and everything.

Now in recent times we’ve got a new guy doing all the technical stuff. This has meant that we’ve worked on our website, put together a blog and I just found out that we are even on Twitter. I mean Southend Hospital Radio on Twitter, whatever next?

Anyway, I did a blog post today over on the SHR Blog about what we do and why Hospital Radio isn’t something that is out of date. I know young people in hospital probably have iPods and iPhones and Laptops to keep them amused but many people do not and for those people Hospital Radio provides a service that they enjoy. It isn’t just me saying that – they tell us themselves – and when they do it makes it feel all the more worthwhile.

So if you are interested in helping out your local Hospital Radio station then get in touch with them. They won’t bite and for aspiring broadcasters & journalists it can be a good learning experience as well as good for the soul.

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Wednesday is Hospital Radio Night

Today is Wednesday. Wednesday brings many challenges but it also brings me to one of my favourite events of the week – my Hospital Radio show. I say ‘my’ but in fact there are several presenters but I’ll be in the big seat pushing all the buttons and the knobs. Some people, I will say mostly young people as it’s true, think that Hospital Radio is pointless. When they go into hospital they watch TV or listen to their iPod or play on their iPhones or whatever. However for the older generation they sometimes can’t afford the outrageous prices for the TV and half the time they don’t even know of Hospital Radio.

What we do is go around the wards before the show and collect requests from patients. Obviously many won’t listen and don’t care but often you’ll find people who will listen and enjoy the show. I might often find that we are the only people they’ll see in a day (non-staff wise) as they might have no family, or no family who live near at the very least.

Last week towards the end of the show we got a phone call down from a patient (they can ring a free number to contact the studio) thanking us and saying that he had just had his blood pressure taken and it was significantly down on earlier in the day and he attributed this to listening to us for the past couple of hours. It is at times like these that you know you are making a difference, it might not be a huge difference but to some people we are making their stay in hospital better than it would’ve been without us.

This is why I think we do a darn important job. I have made friends and become more confident in myself as a by-product of this volunteering but it isn’t about me. Tonight no doubt I’ll speak to someone who hasn’t had a conversation worthy of the name all day. Hopefully they’ll have a request and listen in and enjoy the banter.

My shows are never here’s a request, that was a request, here’s another request. I try to make it entertaining. I run quizzes between the other hosts and randomly talk about stuff that is going on. A fortnight ago I commentated live on the Men’s 100m Final at the European Athletics Championships just because it was there. Last week we had an excellent quiz on Eurovision – the question was ‘There have been 13 countries who have won Eurovision more than once – name them’ – Lyn & Bobby beat out Brenda & Will 8-5. Tonight I already have a quiz safely tucked away in my wallet and hopefully everyone will enjoy it. The best one I ever did was after I contacted Walkers Crisps and got them to send me a list of their Top Ten Most Sold Flavours. That was a good ‘un…

So Hospital Radio is still relevant in the 21st Century is what I’m trying to say. Whether you want Matt Monro, Pavarotti or Susan Boyle. We have over 22,000 songs and we do our best to play your exact request. Sometimes we can’t as we don’t have it but we’ll play a song by the same artist if possible or the same song by a different artist or if neither are possible, one in the same genre. It might not be walking up a mountain raising money but it is doing something, albeit small, that is making a difference to people’s stays in Hospital and for that, despite what a lot of people say, I am proud to call myself a Hospital Radio DJ.

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