The Weekly Breakfast Bap Archive

July 17, 2012 – 4:43 pm

Please find all in one place The Weekly Breakfast Bap Podcast aka The Bapcast done with my then producer Rob Howard.

It’s a part of my radio career I’m very proud of so wanted to make them available again for a short period of time. I hope you enjoy listening for the first time or perhaps again. I’ve also made it so you can download them too incase you missed out the first time around.

The podcast charts the beginning of my Breakfast journey at Mansfield 103.2 in August 2010 through to February 2011 when Rob left the station. The Breakfast Show continues in an evolved format through until today and I have my 500th show in my sights on September 15th 2012.

Watko’s Wasteland 2

March 12, 2012 – 5:24 am

Watko wants a word with Ian Collins

February 11, 2012 – 2:29 pm

Ever since I can remember I’ve always listened to the radio at night and I have to admit to being slightly addicted to it.

It’s a love affair that began in the 1980s and was born out of fear, basically I was massively afraid of the dark as a kid and hated going to bed. It was only after my nana gave me a radio to listen to that I realised what bedtime was really for, not sleeping or being scared witless, but surfing both FM and AM stations looking for interesting programmes to listen to. It was during these nocturnal journeys up and down the dial that I was introduced to the likes of Martin Kelner, John Taynton, James Whale and Mike Dicken.

Let’s face it, the best radio shows are on at night. It’s when things get a little weird, the output gets your total attention and you get the feeling anything could happen. It’s when discussion can be at its most lucid but also at its most muddy and enigmatic. Radio was therefore my saviour as a child protecting me from the monsters under the bed and it continues to be a constant companion in my bedroom today. It’s there where you’ll find me listening to people like Stephan Nolan, Tony Livesey, Matt Forde and Nick Abbot.

One of my favourite presenters however, is someone that recently disappeared from the list above. That person is Ian Collins. He left Talksport last year after being with the station for over 15 years leaving me and millions of others with a gap in our radio listening lives.

I first bumped into Mr Collins on the wireless when I would either stay up far too late listening to the radio or would wake up in the night and find my radio still on. His world was one that really interested me. On one side of the coin he could be extremely serious tackling the big subjects but at the same time would often step into the bizarre, frolicking on the radio with his callers/creatures.

Following his departure from Talksport Ian has now launched a new podcast called ‘Ian Collins Wants A Word’ and is starting to crop up all over the place on both TV and other radio stations including the BBC.

Therefore, I thought it was an ideal time to ask him a few questions about the radio industry, his career and what he’s up to at the moment.

1) First things first Ian (before we get to the radio stuff), is 2012 going to be a winning year for the UK or one we’d rather forget?

I think 2012 will be a beauty. I know that goes against common held beliefs but I just have a feeling that hell won’t be freezing over any time soon. And there’s the Olympics too; great.

2) How did you get into radio and what are your main memories of your first job in the industry?

I started doing work experience on Invicta FM in Kent. This led to some fill in work and eventually full time. My main memory of that time is one of being totally out of my depth; like a visitor who had no right to be there. What I know now, but didn’t know then, was that everyone else feels the same about their place in this game. It’s probably only been the last 5 years that i have fully come to terms with the fact that this is what I do for a living.

3) You are obviously known for your work in the talk genre , why did you choose to follow that career path in radio?

It would have driven me nuts just playing music all the time. It’s a different skill and one that I can’t imagine is anywhere near as fulfilling.

4) What do you think makes a good talk presenter , what do you need in your armoury?

Keeping your eyes and ears open all the time. I guess it’s instinct but I think most of us have pretty similar experiences in life (ups and downs, light and shade etc) a good talk presenter simply keeps hold of those moments and processes them in a way that brings them alive to an audience. The other crucial thing is to read everything you can from newspapers to books.

5) You worked with the presenter back in the Invicta days known to many as Caeser The Geezer. A lot has been said about him as a person but was he really any good on the wireless?

He was great in his time.

6) There doesn’t seem too many local talk shows on the smaller stations these days, what’s your take on why and what do you think of that?

Radio is now dominated by just a few companies. Half a dozen broadcasting operators pretty much own ALL radio. The quickest way to streamline costs is to simulcast their outputs to all of the station’s within their group. Annoying maybe but if you owned the company you’d no doubt do the same. The problem with a phone-based format is that it can divide an audience; something that isn’t in the commercial interests of any station. Like it or not, the quickest way to a consistent and identifiable sound, and one that reflects the identity of the remaining output is via a music format. There have been some great 10pm Late Shows around the country over the years but many would sound scarily out of place in the 21st century.

7) How did you make the move to talk radio the station?

I let the managements at the original Talk radio know that i was available and mooched along for a chat. For some reason, they employed me.

8 ) Tell us how The Creatures Of The Night format came about and what were your favourite moments from that programme?

There were so many great moments. Kev the Wondersheep (one of the original Creatures) claims he came up with the name although that’s doubtful given his intellectual limitations. We fell into the format in many ways; 3 or 4 blokes just chewing the fat in a studio at 1 in the morning was something that hadn’t really been done before. Thankfully we had no concept of what the hell we were doing. It’s for that very reason that it worked so well. My best memories of that era is the sheer unpredictability of the show – we started at 1 and finished at 6 and managed the entire gig without the first clue of what was happening next. Being sent two dead pheasants in the post is a stand out moment.

9) Why do you think late night radio like that is so memorable?

I guess it really is down to the fact that listeners really are listening at that time. It’s not background or incidental; people have made an appointment to switch on.

10) You’ve worked with some uk talk radio giants , if you were to employ just one presenter out of these three greats, who would it be and why, Whale, Boyd or Dickin?

It would have to be then Late Mike Dicken every time. Tough call though as 2 of those names are stunning broadcasters.

11) You took over from James Whale when he departed Talksport, was that a daunting task after he’d been in that slot for so long and was it a shift you really wanted to do?

It was a little daunting although radio shows do change and morph in a terrifyingly easy way. No single presenter is ever bigger than the totality of the output but taking over from Whale – who I’d watched on TV as a kid etc – did feel a bit surreal.

12) You were at talksport/talkradio for many successful years , why did you decide to leave and how did it feel walking out of those offices for the final time?

I was there for 16 years. All of them happy. Sometimes you have to lob a stick of dynamite into your career and see what comes out. It was simply time for change. Walking out of the offices for the last time was an unexpectedly natural feeling.

13) Do you miss it or anybody there?

Yes. I worked with some great people there but I’m touch with many of them regularly.

14) What’s next for you in 2012 (your fans want you back in a regular gig could that happen) ?

One of the most unexpected reactions of leaving talksport has been the fact that I don’t miss the daily routine of presenting a show (in a million years I couldn’t have imagined that). I’ve now found myself doing half a dozen different things and I like it this way. Being on Five Live with Stephen Nolan on Saturday evenings has just been a revelation for me; I LOVE it. I’m also doing some shows with LBC as well as the TV stuff so I’m not entirely leaving the presenting thing behind.

15) And finally, who are the presenters/broadcasters that inspire you and what radio are you currently listening too in your own time?

At this precise moment I’m listening to Danny Baker on 5 Live. I tend to flick between 5 and LBC. LBC has brilliantly upped it’s game of late and is a superb listen. That said, Adrian Durham on talkSPORT still provides me with some quality drivetime listening. I don’t really have 1 single inspiration but I am still in awe of the orignal Talk radio sound of Tommy Boyd.

You can keep a close eye on the movements of Ian Collins on his website , follow him on twitter @iancollinsuk and download his new podcast ‘Ian Collins Wants A Word’ on itunes.

Tommy Boyd Q & A

January 7, 2012 – 11:53 am

The ‘Can we have our Boyd back?’ blog needed a follow up and what better way to do that than hearing from the man himself. Heres 13 questions from me and 13 answers from Tommy.

Q1) Do you do new years resolutions and whats your take on them (before we talk about radio)?
No I don’t, if I need to do something or change something why wait til Jan 1st?  
Q2) In the radio world you are fondly remembered for your work in talk radio, do you miss the cut and thrust of doing a regular show? (if yes or no, why?) 
No, not a bit. Looking back it was all a bit inconsequential.
Q3) What would you class as your radio glory days? 
Glory days is a bit strong, but the comedy phone-in afternoons on Talk Radio, where the proposition was a clear joke, but 5% of listeners believed I meant it, was very popular and had I’m told, a staff of 7 at the Radio Authority whose full time job was investigating complaints against me. So I did my bit for employment. Not one complaint was upheld BTW. Peter Gee of TalkSPORT fame (the UK’s most awarded audio man) was unofficial ideas man, he is just short of being the greatest genius in radio. Although he’d say he’s just short.
Q4) Are you surprised the Human Zoo is still talked about even now and was it really any good in your opinion?
No, anything which frissons is subjected to nostaligia. Watch an old TV show on Gold that you remember with fondness and you’ll wonder why you loved it after 5 minutes. I think the secret was Asher Gould, the tech op/2nd voice. 
Q5) What really happened during the infamous Queen Mother incident on talksport that led to you leaving the station? 
I was in a commercial dispute with Kelvin McKenzie, the owner, who wanted to buy 50% of a wrestling promotions company I owned, and I was holding off. My 2 years as a freelance was almost up ( after 2 years a freelance acquires rights). And I was fed up with late night radio. A caller came through who wanted to praise the late QM and I took the opportunity to go through a stack of emails that had arrived while on air. I noticed a change in the guys tone of voice and heard him say “So how’s that on live radio?” and kind of spooled back in my mind and pieced together he’d said something out of order, but all you get is 7 seconds. I looked through the glass and the boys were looking relaxed so I said “I let you say your piece to show what kind of people are out there”. That gave the knife to the men in suits. Funnily enough I got a phone call at home from the Radio Authority who said they’d have taken no action, just “Complaint upheld”.  
But they wanted me out, I wanted out, so I was happy.
Q6) What are your thoughts on the current state of talk format radio in this country and is there room for another talk radio station? 
There’s room. There’s room for lots more different things than there are in every walk of life. But humanity is heavily centripetal so all our activities gravitate inwards: everything is the same. Anything that misses that pull is flung out of orbit and that’s probably talk radio as far as the UK is concerned. I blame the shareholders of Talk Radio who couldn’t see beyond trying to duplicate Radio 5, which is not a talk station, of course, though it’s excellent at news/sport/chat.
Q7) What kind of lessons could we learn from the Americans and how they do radio? 
I’ve worked for American TV and radio, and it’s breathtakingly driven. Starting with the commercial imperative (how to make money), they drill into every aspect of the product until it shines and belches gold. We just “do it like we always have done”. We say “If it isn’t broken don’t break it” They say “If it ain’t broke…break it!”
Q8) Is there any particular show that you still remember fondly from the Talkradio Afternoon days and how much prep used to go into putting them together?
I enjoyed “Deja Vu”, where we did “Deja Vu” the following day (ok bit obvious, but it worked)
I enjoyed “The Show With nothing in it”. Where I said all the guests (which we never had anyway) had pulled out, and we had nothing planned, so I just whistled and tidied the studio for 2 hours. The Radio Magazine phoned and complained that if I couldn’t come up with a show there were plenty of young people trying to get into radio who could. Honestly. 
Mostly I enjoyed the show where I turned off the mike, pretended we’d gone off air “in some counties” , then came back and “apologised” for something I’d said which only a few listeners had heard. there was a huge bandwagon of people who complained, claiming they’d heard it. Even the Jewish Chronicle called the station to complain, saying they’d heard the remark but could not bring themselves to repeat it. 
Prep? Peter Gee would come into the boardroom (we weren’t shy, we prepped for 60 minutes around the huge mahogany table) with a vicious grin on his face and say “Let’s arm dustmen!” or “Why don’t we give Yorkshire to the Red Indians?” It would be Peter, me, a phone op and a tech op. We’d spend 10 minutes on topics for the following day. then we’d go through what I’d got in my mind for the show we were about to do. Then we’d record the trail (Peter) for the following day, so I’d have 24 hours to research and plan points for the following day’s show, much of which I’d do on my 2 hour trip into London.
Q9) What’s the best way to grab an audience? 
You don’t grab an audience in radio, just like you don’t hey presto grape juice into wine. It takes time, and the key is word of mouth. Oh and being good, or even brilliant.
Q10) Who did you most enjoy working with in those days and who were your main on air rivals?   (was there a Stern/Imus thing for you (Tommy/?)  
John Simons (PC at Talk, now a big cheese with the Guardian group), Scott Chisholm, a real life Crocodile Dundee. Peter Gee (see above). Many others too. I never had anybody who wanted to go head-to-head in a feud. Shame.
Q11) What radio do you listen to now (if any) and who do you enjoy listening to presenter wise? 
Chris Evans is fantastic, of course, and a lovely man, although I’ve not actually met him. I like Radio 4 and Radio 3, Isle of Wight Radio and Spirit FM down my way. 
Q12)  Do you have any aspirations to get back behind the microphone in 2012 and do you have any plans in the pipeline for more podcasts etc ? 
I’m being talked to by a group planning something a bit weird in the comedy line, which I like, and I get approached by podcasting outfits quite a lot. I guess I’m lazy and I’m vain, and like to wait for the phone to ring.
Q13) And finally, If you could give a short 2012 new years message to the people of the UK what would it be?
Continue to pay no attention to anyone else, or meaningless messages of goodwill. You’re in this on your own, and nobody gets out of this one alive. But it’s a hell of a ride.

Right those are the questions , anything you want to ask me? 
Yes, why are you so enthusiastic and kind?
I’m one of the good guys. However would one of the good guys actually call themselves ‘one of the good guys’?

Can we have our Boyd back please?

January 3, 2012 – 8:58 pm

It seems like years now since the radio industry kicked Tommy Boyd over the fence in to the next door neighbour’s garden.

The master technician of British talk radio seems to be lost in the undergrowth and I think it’s about time we plucked up the courage and went to knock on the door of the grumpy old man living at number 13.

In recent years Tommy has popped his head over the fence a few times, most recently with a blog and a podcast. However we have to look back to the Playradio experiment and a stint on Original 106 breakfast to when he last had a regular gig.

His glory days are well documented and his talkSPORT late night ‘Human Zoo’ format still has a cult following. Personally I’m most fond of his stint on the afternoon show when that station was simply called talk radio. I used to catch the programme as I walked to university in Norwich back in the 90s and remember being amused at how much Tommy wound up his listeners. There were some truly fantastic radio moments and some of the shows can still be downloaded thanks to the Tommy Boyd Shrine CD PROJECT. If you have some time I recommend you listen to the show about cowboy builders to really hear a genius at work.

So does he still have it?

Recently I was lucky enough to come in to contact with Tommy after he agreed to be a semi-regular contributor on a weekly talk show I was producing on Mansfield 103.2. You can hear those appearances below and you can definitely tell the old magic is still there. Although he didn’t tell me directly that he enjoyed doing the calls, I’m sure you’ll agree he sounded like he was having fun.

So where could Tommy go?

I would like to hear him back at LBC, where his talk radio journey began. Back in February 2010 I asked the then Programme Director Jonathan Richards in an email ‘would you ever consider a Tommy Boyd return on LBC?’. His reply was brief, ‘I don’t ever see this happening with our current direction’. At the time I remember feeling very sad and angry about the response. I wonder whether I would get a similar kind of reply now?

In conclusion I think we should return to our football in the garden analogy and provide a little twist, not unlike the sixpence swivels Tommy was prone to do on his shows back in the day.

I think fans of ‘radio’ Tommy, like myself, lose sight of the fact that radio only represents a tiny part of his media achievements. Tommy isn’t just about the wireless and I would guess he sees it as only a tiny part of what he does. I’m sure to some extent he sees looking back on past glories as tiresome. Did Tommy actually kick himself over the fence, did he want to to get lost in the radio undergrowth/wilderness? If you listen to his chat with Iain Lee on Mansfield 103.2 just before Christmas we may find some answers. Imagine Mr Lee playing the part of the school boy popping round to number 13 to ask for his ball back. Who answers the door? It’s Tommy Boyd himself and Iain gets turned away with just a tantalising glimpse of the ball sitting majestically on Boyd’s mantelpiece.