As each day goes by I have a new found respect for the talents of Chris Moyles on the Radio One breakfast show. I’ve noted before that he’s the first presenter in a long time to get me to switch back to Radio One but almost everyday I find myself hooked into something about the show in a way I haven’t been hooked on the radio for a long time.
I’ve worked in radio. I understand the ‘magic’ of the medium. I know not to believe everything but sometimes, with Moyles, I wonder. His spontaneity seems so genuine and so well-done it is – almost – believable. I have a new-found respect for his talents as a broadcaster and, as very show passes, I see why he’s where he is.
Last Friday I was listening as he trailed the Radio One 10-hour Takeover that happened on Monday. I was almost sucked into the belief that, on the spur of the moment he decided to try the system but my understanding of the medium knew that it was unlikely. The beauty of the web is that now you can find out how it was pre-planned and read all about the technology behind it. Hopefully, and I say this meaning no disrespect to Matt, not to many people will read it and the magic will be maintained. In a similar way I hope not too many read the next part of this post so the mystery can be maintained.
I have to say that the concept of the 10-hour takeover is nothing new and, in many places, it’s as well staged as Moyles pretending to try to break the system without any planning. Most radio stations have some “you say it, we play it” mentality at some point of the day. In fact, my parents received some calls for Beacon By Request years ago when their home ‘phone number was similar to that of Beacon’s Shrewsbury call-in line. Digital station, Core, claims to be driven by listener’s requests (and will even text you back to say that song is being played).
Depending on the size of the station and the number of listeners at any one time the whole listener jukebox is, most likely, something of a con. There are so many requests that stations can, pretty much, stick to their playlists while actually playing the requests. They can filter out the material they don’t want. On smaller stations I imagine they’re making up the requests so, again, it can conform to their playlists (which – like them or nor – are a vital part of their identity). So, all in all, I wasn’t excited by the 10-hour takeover whatsoever but when I read items like this from David at Fuddland (via plasticbag) it strikes me that The Frog Chorus can’t have been anywhere near Radio One’s playlist for many years. So, hats of to Radio One and the technology team behind it.
I wonder what impact – if any – it will have on Radio One’s programmers? From what I have seen the selections were older-hits and often, like The Frog Chorus, a little off the wall. Did the broadcast teams actually select the most ridiculous tracks suggested? And what does this do for Radio One?
Next time, however, let Chris Moyles appear to break it. That would be even better radio.
UPDATE: The full 10-hour takeover playlist is available on the Radio One site.