Hope by radio

As a talking radio listener, I quite often listen to Pete Price on Radio City / City Talk (Sunday – Thursday 10pm – 2am).  And, sadly, most evenings he is struggling to generate calls to what is the only locally biased commercial radio phone-in.  To cover this he now re-broadcasts a lot of ‘best of’ packages of calls he has had in the past, uses packages relating to a news item, or pre-recorded interviews.

There are, however, a few things that actually cause the phonelines to wake up and fill with call after call.  The main trigger for this is when he has a ‘psychic’ on.  There’s a particular one called Phoebe Kelly who gives people the predictions they are looking for via a strange mixture of ‘card reading’ and messages from, you guessed it, her spirit guide.  Most of the messages and predictions are trivial, with an obscure obsession with talking about babies ‘on the horizon’.

Analysing the stream of stuff she says, it is quite obviously using the standard tried and tested cold reading techniques, prompting the callers to give away the answers she then gives back to them.

The amateurish nature of this performance doesn’t seem to be sussed by the callers, who queue up in their droves for their 2 minutes of promises and relief.  Actually, it all seems to be women who call.  I can’t recall ever hearing a man.

Liverpool is an area still trying to free itself from conventional religion.  Historically it has Catholic roots, and so the minds of those afflicted by the religion virus are still at that infantile stage where different mumbo jumbos easily fill any void left by the conventional religion.  These people are fodder for those who come along and give them hope via this mumbo jumbo. And charge them a, er, ‘donation’ for a more in-depth set of non-information, the taster (hook) of which was on the radio for free.

The two hour occupancy of the Pete Price Show acts as a huge two hour advert for the £35 a time sessions available from Phoebe Kelly if you call her office, the number being repeated many times on the radio show.

It seems that there is a growing need for programming supporting conspiracy theories, ufos, aliens, afterlife, chemtrails, and all this mental messaging from ‘the other side’.  Indeed, City Talk airs a two hour package called ‘Planet X‘ every Sunday.  I believe the producer of the package pays for it to be put together and broadcast.  This professionally produced programme covers the whole range of alternative reality that people seem to believe in.  In the same week that Phoebe Kelly was selling hope via the Pete Price Show, Planet X was talking to a lady who talks to pets.  Alive ones. Dead ones. Psychic pets.  She can come to your house and chat to your dog or cat and sort through any issues you both might have.

To be honest, Planet X is far better at panicking its audience about Government cover-ups, ufos and so on. There are always an amazing amount of people who can rattle on for ages and conveniently mention they also have a book out that you can buy, in which they explain so much more than they can possibly go into in the 90 minute interviews (They must be massive books. In 90 minutes they could have just read them out from cover to cover to avoid us having to buy them!).

These are the ‘alternatives’ that have managed to gain airtime via conventional radio, but there are entire radio stations operating via the internet only like Critical Mass Radio (also based in the North West), pumping out their conspiracies, their salvation, their conclusions about aliens, spirits, and anything that gives ‘hope’.

There seems to be a need for ‘hope’.  Conventional religion used to give ‘hope’, but since conventional religion is now disappearing, people are turning to new age religions and ‘out there’ ideas to provide them with that same ‘hope’.  It is a shame that they aren’t happy with reality and need the ‘surreal’ to plug that hole.

Having said all that, we seem to have entered an era of ‘people’s radio’ with a lot of ‘alternative’ views being broadcast via podcasts and streams (like CMR), and these are just one aspect of the thousands of hours of ‘talking radio’ that is being produced at grassroots level and getting an increasing audience.

This is in complete contrast to most commercial radio stations.  They are rapidly moving away from any talking content.  This at a time when talking, and that talking being on the right kind of subjects, is actually what people are craving from the radio.