The ignorance of people discussing Chris Moyles

It’s fascinating reading various armchair pundits and journos spouting their take on Chris Moyles’ recent on-air moan about the fact he’d not been paid for two months.

Spare us a couple of quid, mister?

What is most interesting is how they feel they have something to say about something that they don’t normally listen to (I guess this is nothing new for the chattering classes, journalists and armchair anoraks).

This ignorance is evident by the number that seethed that it was terrible that he didn’t play any records “for half-an-hour”, but instead just ranted.

Let’s address this.  To understand the success of the Chris Moyles Show one has to understand that it is actually mainly a talk show, but it also plays songs.  People who aren’t part of the over 9 Million that do actually listen, just don’t seem to get this basic concept.

Indeed, the show starts at 06:30 with news and then the daily ‘cheesy song’ which is an extremely long full orchestra style theme tune for the show.  Moyles and his crew start speaking at around 06:39.  Now here’s the bit the moaners just don’t get: There is never anything but talk for the next 20 minutes of the show.  This is the way the format has been for a very long time, so talking and not playing songs at this time is not an amazingly unusual event. It is the norm.

The topic of conversation during this initial period is usually based on a ‘rant’, usually from Moyles himself.  Sometimes it is more of a discussion about things the team did or experienced yesterday, but it is at its funniest when it is Moyles-centric and is him spouting off in an observational way about life around him. To be fair, although what Moyles does he does brilliantly well, this is nothing new in ‘music radio’, with Howard Stern being perhaps the most famous at the concept in America.

This Moyles rant/conversation runs until it’s news time at 07:00.  Just ahead of the news they start the ‘tease’ for the celebrity raspberry game.  This is a game where listeners call in and try to guess who is blowing a pre-recorded raspberry, and it is played about 07:15 after a couple of songs have played out after the news.

Now, if this early morning rant/conversation is going really well, then features, including the news, will slip and run ‘late’.  This is very common, although apparently frowned upon by the executive producer.  However, if nothing is running late, then the time occupied by the rant/discussion is actually only a little over 15 minutes in real terms.  Actual listeners, of course, will know this.  Outsiders won’t.

So, let’s look at some of the comments that radio anoraks (enthusiasts) have spouted.  One that particularly stuck in my head because it made me laugh out loud was from a person way outside the demographic who wrote, “He apparently did not play a record for 30mins. Should he be doing this on air. Surely he has the ability to sort this out with the BBC accounts without this on-air rant. It is time he went. Bring back [Tony Blackburn].”

What on earth is a non-listener doing moaning about something he obviously doesn’t listen to?  Bizarre. And, why don’t they realise that today’s youth radio (Radio 1) is not essentially just music based.

Throughout all mainstream programming (daytime) there is a large amount of talking, because these days talking works, whilst just playing songs back-to-back like a poor-man’s iPod clearly doesn’t.  This is evidenced by the huge audiences Radios 1 and 2 have compared to most commercial radio stations.

But, all this aside, it still remains most odd that non-listeners are making judgement calls on Radio 1’s content.  Again.  Is there some kind of mental condition that drives them to do this?

I’m not into football, so I don’t watch it on tv.  Why would I then pass judgement and comment on how good/bad the tv presentation of a football match is?  It would be crazy to, so I don’t.  So, really these non-listeners to Radio 1 should just shut the feck up!

12 comments

  1. Thank goodness there is someone there to tell the lazy journalists about the structure of the show.

    An even more ignorant comment was in today's Observer where it mentioned that Chris Moyles' once referred to John Peel as “A DLT in waiting” when in fact it was John Peel who said that about Moyles.

    Personally I'd agree with Peel's sentiments, but this is a well written post telling a few things straight about those who just want to moan for sake of it.

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  2. The problem with this article is that you fail to acknowledge that the majority of his 9million listeners are not loyal P1's but people who tune in and out of the show. Like the journalists you mention, many listeners are busy doing other things in the morning and are not consciously aware of the regimented format and clock, as you describe.

    Chris' mistake was to 'rant' at a situation that the audience can not identify with – complaining that he's £80,000 short of what he should have been paid over the last 59 days. Maybe Elton John or Wayne Rooney could identify with that, but a 20 minute rant of this sort just makes everyone else feel a bit sick when they can't even afford the petrol to take their kids to school. Maybe, in this instance, they would prefer to divert from the norm and listen to a record.

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  3. @HY: The bulk of any breakfast programming is only listened to in small sections, and most breakfast programming has an identifiable hour clock format, so, as people dip in and dip out they know what to expect as the structure of the programme. People become aware of what will be happening for the period they will be regularly listening, even if they are completely unaware of the rest of the programme. Most people have a very regimented morning process, which is near identical from one morning to the next.

    The whole 'rant' section of the Chris Moyles Show is the same every morning, but with different subjects. People who 'get' Moyles and so listen and enjoy the 'rant' section will have chosen to listen BECAUSE he rants, not because they expect music. This show is not about music anyway, which is why 9 million people listen.

    There does seem to a huge jealousy from the moaners about how much he earns for the period of time he is working on the breakfast show. The moaners never contemplate where his income should come from once this relatively short-lived gig is over, or how small it may end up. Instead they attack him because of what he is temporarily earning.

    Most ordinary listeners will have identified with the concept of not being paid and having problems paying the mortgage because of the unexpected lack of payment, which was the point that came across from the ordinary listeners who responded, not the armchair pundits who felt moved to crucify somebody they don't listen to, but have issues with because he earns more than they do. By far the greater number of listeners will have just enjoyed the rant because it was fun and interesting and damned entertaining.

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  4. I'm partly in agreement with HY.

    Let's face it, Chris was having a bad day at a tough time in his life.

    I believe if he hadn't got all that personal stuff to deal with, I'm guessing, if he chose to rant about it at all, would have taken a swipe at the BBC's “incompetence” to get things done and left it there, rather than go on about it and alienate himself from his listeners who perceive him to have tonnes of cash in the bank.

    Which is all fodder to the uninformed press who can jump on it, fill a few pages and sell more copies.

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  5. @DW: Ah, but did he actually alienate himself from his listeners? I suspect he only truly alienated himself from those who don't bother to listen but have a pre-conceived negative view about him. The outrage about this particular rant was a newspaper and media outrage not necessarily shared by the public, surely?

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  6. I think he did alienate himself.

    I spent 17 years in the industry and the popular misconception is that we are ALL big earners!

    Most of Chris' listeners will be on much lower incomes and so will not be able to identify with his situation, perceiving that he has plenty of spare cash in the bank. Add to the fact that, through the licence fee we are “paying his wages”, which makes him a pseudo public servant.

    He is brilliant at connecting with his audience. But on this issue, I believe, he missed the mark.

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  7. @Christopher – by 'dip in and dip out', I don't mean Chris' listeners, but radio listeners as a whole. The majority of listeners do not listen to just one station and are often not loyal, they flick. The BBC is a public service, it should be encouraging new listeners and providing content that will appeal to a youth audience of new listeners. Anyone flicking over to hear that rant would have switched right off again. You are so off the ball if you think that Radio 1 doesn't need to attract new listeners, new listeners that do not know about his 'rants' or format and can not identify with his self-indulgent talk.I've only just left the radio industry after several years and I can tell you that music is the reason that 90%+ people listen to the radio – and you'd be suprised that many don't even have a clue what station they're listening to, let alone the structure or format!

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  8. What has happened to the middle ground? Back to Back music is boring. Too much talk is boring.

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  9. Ilook forward to Smooth radio hopfully giving us a new real alternative with music some banter and a more relaxed start to the day. Who needs Moyles?

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  10. To the Smooth Radio fan: Haven't you been able to listen to Smooth Radio for many years now? It's not really going to be much different to how it's always been apart from the lack of 'local' programmes, so if it's not already doing it for you then it never will! Besides, its nearest BBC 'rival' is Radio 2, not Radio 1, of course, so it'll save you from t'other Chris, Chris Evans, not Chris Moyles. The nearest rivals to Radio 1 musically are combinations of XFM/Juice/Kiss/Galaxy etc.

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  11. I don't normally listen, in that I have listened enough to find the talk tedious enough to put me off. But I need a better option on Radio 1 since in principle this is the commercial free station that does play the best contemporary music. Almost all ILR is catering for older /more familiar music and plays only a small section of the charts. It's that simple – if he puts me off radio 1, I can vote with the off switch but why am I needing to and what is my acceptable alternative. Even my local station has mildy witty breakfast presenters who if moved to radios 1 would be a nicer combination.

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