Going radio gaga

The country lurches back into its usual routine this week. But with the new year comes changes, and a vital part of everyone’s daily life — the radio — will seem very different.

My parents are concerned about what will happen to Radio 2 after the departure of Terry Wogan from breakfast. They were not happy to hear that his replacement will be Chris Evans. My parents originally stopped listening to Radio 1 when Chris Evans took over the Radio 1 breakfast show. (Quite how they tolerated Steve Wright before this is beyond me though.)

I get the feeling that they will stick with Radio 2. Chris Evans is a very different broadcaster to what he was ten or fifteen years ago and has apparently pleased most people with his performances on Radio 2 so far.

While Terry Wogan’s last show was the one that caught all the headlines, the end of two other radio programmes will be far more disruptive to my routine. I was not a listener of Terry Wogan’s, though I don’t suppose I am really part of his target audience.

The end of Adam and Joe

Much bigger news in my world has been the end of Adam and Joe’s programme on BBC 6 Music. They are raising the drawbridge at the Big British Castle for an indefinite period while Joe Cornish focuses on his new career as a film director.

This programme has been a core part of my week for the past two years. It is also unusual because due to its Saturday morning time slot, it has been the only thing that has managed to get me to wake up at a decent hour on a Saturday.

Adam and Joe have an excellent knack of doing a type of humour which is silly but not stupid — a balance that very few manage to strike. This made it ideal listening for the start of the weekend. It was perhaps something to gently lift you out of a mild hangover. The accompanying podcast was also excellent for lifting spirits during your journey into work.

Their gentle humour was mixed with sharp observations on popular culture. Increasingly, towards the end of the programme’s run, listener contributions were a larger part of the programme. Combined with the programme’s elite listening force Black Squadron and the STEPHEN! phenomenon, there was quite a tight-knit community feel to the show.

This was no doubt helped by the fact that it was on BBC 6 Music, jokingly referred to by Adam Buxton as “the secret station”. Even though it was the most popular programme on the station by quite a long way, due to its location in the outer reaches of select DAB sets, Adam and Joe’s was a cosy and understated programme. It is difficult to imagine Adam and Joe’s programme working so well on another, larger radio station.

Adam and Joe’s replacement will be Danny Wallace, who is not quite in the same league. It will leave a huge gap in my Saturday mornings. What else can I listen to? Saturday Live on Radio 4? Sorry, not for me. Jonathan Ross on Radio 2? Possibly. Or will I return to my old ‘default’ radio station, Radio 5 Live, for Danny Baker and Fighting Talk?

Changes at Radio 5 Live

Speaking of Radio 5 Live, that is the source of the other big change to my radio routine. Richard Bacon has vacated the late-night slot to take over from Simon Mayo, who is moving to replace Chris Evans on Drivetime at Radio 2.

I was a fan of Richard Bacon during his first stint on 5 Live in the weekend late-night slot, and he continued to delight when he returned to the station to do weeknights. Given his background, he is surprisingly good at dealing with big issues as well as light-hearted stuff.

He is also unafraid to use humour. It could be so embarrassing (and some would probably say it is), but I think it works well. The interesting bit after 12:30am was entertaining and brave. I can’t think of many other presenters who would get away with completely doing away with news for half an hour every day on Radio 5 Live.

I am greatly regretful that I never managed to get my hands on one of those badges. It was nevertheless an honour and a privilege to listen.

Richard Bacon’s irreverence is what makes him good as a broadcaster, but it’s difficult to see how he can leverage this in his new mid-afternoon slot, one of the most important in 5 Live’s schedule. Most disappointingly, it will be on during the daytime, meaning that I won’t be able to listen to it.

The replacement in the late night slot will be former Daily Sport editor Tony Livesey. I will reserve judgement until I hear the programme. I gather he is actually quite good. But if I don’t take to it, I might take the unusual step of switching to a commercial radio station during weeknights to listen to Iain Lee on Absolute Radio.

Richard Bacon’s move is part of a wider shake-up at Radio 5 Live, which also sees Gabby Logan getting a daily slot. With the day going from the Nicky Campbell Speak You’re Branes hour to Victoria Derbyshire to Gabby Logan, it’s not difficult to see why some people have started to nickname the station Radio 5 Lite.

It’s not quite the quality station I loved just a few years ago. Just now Radio 5 Live seems utterly bereft of ideas, aside from attempting to stealthily change it into a 24/7 Mark Kermode station. At least Up All Night is still good.

If I was being uncharitable, I might suggest that the presenters that remain at the station are the ones who are prepared to make the move to Salford when the station relocates there next year. The logic behind moving a radio station that covers news (most of which happens in London) to Manchester is still beyond me, I have to admit.

On the bright side…

It’s not all bad news on the radio front. In addition to his new daytime Radio 5 Live slot, Richard Bacon has a Saturday afternoon programme on 6 Music. He promises to take some of the jollity of his late night 5 Live show to 6 Music. But who listens to radio at that time? Not me.

I might make space in my Sunday afternoons for 6 Music though. Jarvis Cocker will have a new programme alongside the already-excellent Freak Zone.

But weekend mornings will still be a problem. And I’ll need a new comedy podcast to replace Adam and Joe. Does anyone have any suggestions? (Not Collings and Herrin — I tried it, and it was crap.)


  1. Rats! I don’t listen to Adam and Joe every week, as I’m not always in, but it makes my day when I can snuggle up in bed and listen to the whole thing. I didn’t realise it was finishing; I feel like I’ve not made the most of it!

  2. Thanks for the comment Alison. It’s a big shame about Adam and Joe. I get the feeling it was a bit of a last-minute decision. They only announced it in their penultimate live show and the 6 Music schedules still list Adam and Joe in their usual slot. But sadly the last show was on Boxing Day. 🙁

    A small consolation is that twelve podcasts were released over the Christmas period. I’ll try and make them last as long as possible!

  3. I will miss A&J too. Listening to Merchant and Gervais mp3 on pilkipedia.co.uk are a good alternative if you never heard the original shows. Hope A&J get back to radio sometime soon although I’ll happily listen to Wallace, I quite like him.

    I am from UK but live in Sydney and I love their Australian accents. I use them all the time “just go surfing mate”.


  4. I, too, am in need of a comedy podcast to replace A&J, although I’m not yet done with the “12 podcasts of Christmas.” Incidentally though you should really (if you haven’t) check out the podcast of This American Life, since that show is always great.

  5. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Gary — Thanks for the Gervais and Merchant suggestion. That could be a good alternative.

    Mr Eugenides — Who could disagree that Rhod Sharp is long overdue better recognition for his services to nocturnal types? Dotun Adebayo already has an MBE. Where is the mighty Rhod Sharp’s recognition?!

    Calum — I’ve just looked up This American Life. I must confess, it doesn’t look like it’s very much fun. But I will give it a go!

  6. It’s not necessarily “fun” (it’s not a comedy show by any stretch of the imagination), but it’s well-produced and very worthwhile listening.

  7. Was with you until you mentioned your dislike of Herring and Collins. It was their constant going on about Adam and Joe that finally made me listen – never did have time to listen in live.

    I quite like the Dave Gorman podcast from Absolute radio, it features some quite esoteric ideas too.

  8. Thanks for the comment Paul. Good shout re Dave Gorman. That had been in the back of my head. I think Absolute Radio is emerging as a potentially good radio station for these types of comedy / music programmes.

  9. I don’t remember listening to Steve Wright on Radio 1. Perhaps I’ve blotted it out.
    His surname is after all rhyming slang….