Thursday, November 30, 2006

Simon James and Overheated

I was astonished to find a comment on my blog from local radio presenter Simon James!

It was in response to a post I'd written a month or so back, called Simon James & Overrated. That was about my predictions for the new radio station here on the south coast, Original 106. Simon James, with his buddy Hill (who I'd incorrectly called Simon Hill) are the presenters of the breakfast show on Original 106.

Considering my post was titled Simon James & Overrated I can understand why he wasn't too happy about what I'd written - although I didn't actually criticise their act beyond calling them Rude and Crude (which was a description, not an insult) and given his closing comment, I don't think that's wildly inaccurate!

Here's what he wrote, and my comments in bold.

Good evening. Simon James here. When I saw this I was excited it was going to be radio legend Simon Bates. But then I put my glasses on. Look mate, I have nothing against you having an opinion. Nor have I anything against you not liking our programme. Never said I didn't like it. I said I didn't think it was right for Original. But a word of advice.....before you start trying to be clever and outspoken and oh-so-perceptive etc, please research your facts. Firstly "Hill" is a nickname ("hence" NOT Simon James and "Simon Hill"). You know, Simon. You're absolutely right. Still, at least I didn't make the usual mistake and think Simon, James and Hill were three different people. Secondly, Original 106 is NOT a senior station and does NOT target a 55+ audience (it's actually 30+). Actually, Mate, we were both wrong - but I was closer. If you look at Original's licence application with Ofcom, you'll see in black and white (and that annoying corporate purple) that Original 106 specifically targets age group 40 - 59. So not exclusively 55+ but certainly not the same target market as TLRC stations or Wave 105. Thirdly, the playlist IS markedly different to any of it's commercial rivals. That it CERTAINLY is. But remember, my post was from before you'd even started transmitting. Your comments about us being "rude and crude" were also interesting. If you believe that to really be the case I assume that you won't be suprised to hear me describe your ignorant and pompous self as an absolute cock. Which, by the way, is precisely what you are. Meeow. Fssst! Fsst! Calm down, Mate. No reason to get personal.

First off, I'm kind of flattered that Simon James read my blog. I mean, let's be honest here. As a wild guess (until we get the RAJAR figures) I'd estimate a hundred times more people tune into his breakfast show EVERY DAY than have EVER read my blog.

Secondly, that post was written on the eve of Original's first transmission, so I had no idea about what the breakfast show would actually be like, or what the playlist would actually be. These were my opinions and predictions. Some I got right, some I got wrong.

First off, I predicated that Original 106 would soon stray from it's licence (aimed at 40-59 year olds) and try and be 'all things to all men' like TLRC and Wave 105. Simon indicated that their target audience are 30+ (when we all know they're not meant to be) which kind of makes me think I was right on that point.

But when it comes to the music, I was dead wrong.

I was expecting a neat clone of Wave 105. Somebody would see a list of the 100 most popular songs on the internet and load them up on their DAD machines. I honestly expected nothing original from Original 106 at all - but I was totally off the mark.

Original 106 have a totally original playlist. I honestly have not heard of 90% of the songs they play, although I know I'm not exactly qualified to go on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. But in Hampshire's competitive marketplace, you do need to have a station that stands out from the crowd and I applaud Original 106 for this simply because it means I won't have to listen to Lemar's 'If There's Any Justice' twenty times a day if I tune into them.

I also said that Simon James & Hill weren't right for their breakfast show. This seems to be the thing that upset Simon so much. If he'd actually read my post, he'd see I didn't criticise their show at all. Based on what I'd heard during their evening network gig on TLRC, I said they were rude and crude (and I was right) and in the mould of Chris Moyles and Johnny Vegas. And when I said that, I was referring to their style, not their waistlines. I also said they were full of themselves - not exactly an insult, since the first thing I learned working in radio is that "Everybody has an ego."

My criticism was that Simon James & Hill, who traditionally had an irreverant, youth-targeted sytle, weren't right for a radio station aimed at 40-59 year olds. It was my opinion and I'm entitled to it. Whether I'm right or not... We'll see when the RAJAR figures come in. Whatever one says about Simon James & Hill, they are consumate professionals and I'm sure no other duo will work as hard to produce a great radio show. But at the end of the day, you can't bang a square peg into a round hole.

I wasn't insulting you Simon, Mate. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of your show, but the three Sony awards and listening figures suggest that I'm in a minority. Compared to your undeniable accomplishments, I'm really not qualified to criticise. In fact, if I won a billion quid and started my own radio station, I'd probably be scrabbling to sign you up for drive-time or something.

But you're in radio, Buddy. Every morning, you and Hill broadcast yourself to tens of thousands of people across the county. Not all of them are going to like you. And if that's the case, you can't go along to each and every one of them and call them a cock. Criticism is the price of celebrity.

Simon James & Hill present the breakfast show every morning on Original 106.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello again. My apologies for over-reacting. I appreciate fully what you are saying. However, I thought your opening gambit was a bit self-assured, assumed rather too much and was therefore inaccurate (hence my annoyance).I still disagree that we are rude or crude...I think implicit more than explicit would be a better description these days. At the same time, of course you are right about people being entitled to their opinion (as I made clear in the first place). What made me mad was the factual inaccuracies.....it would be a bit like slagging off Vauxhall for the appalling design of Mondeos. Still, no hard feelings I hope.

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