Words of Wisdom

by Louis Barfe

Is it really appropriate for Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley to broadcast the sound of a man dying live on air? I could understand it of the today programme, in a desperate bid to replenish the 800,000 listeners lost by John Harrumphrys’ humphing, but not the Light Programme’s early evening show.

Don't worry, I use the word in the sense feared by comedians the world over, rather than to describe a human being’s actual last gasp. The pair were doing drivetime from the Edinburgh Festival and featuring some of the comics performing at the Fringe.

I shall refrain from naming the comedian in question, but to describe the audience’s response as muted would be polite in the extreme. Having tuned in after the start of the act, I wondered if they weren’t running an open mic session but, no, this was a pro.

I’m not entirely sure what was at fault. Some of the gags were half-decent and deserved a better response. Maybe it was the delivery, which seemed slightly hesitant and uncertain, but could have been part of the act. Maybe the audience had just taken against the chap, which happens sometimes. Whatever it was, it made for uncomfortable listening.

Meanwhile, with those on all sides crying ‘bias’ at the BBC, veteran radio executive David Lloyd has some sage words on his blog – davidlloyd-radio.blogspot. com. he says that alleging an ‘organised conspiracy is madness’ – that balance is achieved over time, not in a single bulletin – and gives short shrift to those who ask why the BBC or the ‘mainstream media’ haven’t covered something. They usually have, somewhere. For example, Radio 3 didn’t carry the sad death of Barry Chuckle in its news bulletin. Radio 2 did. ‘You will hear views you disagree with,’ he says. ‘When you don’t, something’s very wrong.’