When a Radio Host is too Happy

By Louis Barfe

I’ve tried. Believe me I’ve tried. However, after extensive testing, I am forced to conclude that I can’t listen to Zoe Ball at breakfast time. The relentless positivity cuts through me and makes my bones rattle. And not in a good way. Everything being plugged by every guest is their greatest work ever. Everything being trailed is amazing. Everything everywhere is wonderful. In a grim old world, this should be a welcome corrective, but no, it makes my teeth itch. 

I know Chris Evans increased Terry Wogan’s massive breakfast audience (and viewers of Points of View once saw Sir Tel’s massive breakfast audience in fairly graphic detail) with this tartrazine-crazed schtick, but that doesn’t make it good or right. I miss Wogan’s wry, conspiratorial tone and wit. I miss listeners writing in to take the mickey out of him, Deadly Alancoat, Frank Godfrey and Jean Marsh. It felt like a conversation. This feels like hectoring – that’s the last thing I need at 8am.  

I fear that bosses have told Ball – a good presenter in her day – that this is what sells. I wish they’d let her find her tone.