Community radio is a sector of the radio industry that needs to be reminded of some of the basics of broadcasting. Why is this? Well it is simple really; some of the presenters I listen to have entered the industry at community radio level and don’t have much in the way of previous broadcasting experience at all. Put simply, they do not have the experience, knowledge or broadcasting common sense innate in those who have spent a lifetime learning their trade in other radio environments. Environments that were much less tolerant of the kind of ‘on air’ behaviour I hear on community stations nowadays. A prime example is the programme crossover…!

A crossover is loosely described as a link between shows where the presenter of the show ending has a so-called chat with the presenter of the show coming up. I suppose the most famous of these was the crossover between Terry Wogan and Pete Murray on Radio 2 and in later years, between Terry Wogan and Jimmy Young. Some of those crossovers became legendary and listeners looked forward to what might be said. While it is easy to think that most of the very clever and often funny remarks made by each presenter were flippant, funny, or spontaneous, it is certain that both presenters fully prepared what they were going to say… in advance! It was the preparation and skill of presenters like Wogan, Young and in more recent times, Ken Bruce that made these crossovers sound flippant, funny or spontaneous when, in actual fact they were well prepared beforehand.

The Programme crossover is a complicated feature of the output of any station. I see it used too much on community radio for all the wrong reasons and believe me; it can go very wrong very quickly. When they do happen they are just the fruit of self-indulgent presenters who have no idea of what they are doing and what they are trying to achieve. I have not and will never allow crossovers between shows unless they have a very good reason to be used at all. Local Radio presenters in the past have tried the programme crossover and most of the time they have failed miserably. Nowadays, decent knowledgeable presenters know that the programme crossover is fraught with danger and is best left alone. Those who use the crossover these days are just showing how inexperienced they are as presenters.

Complete idiots.

Presenters tend to be competitive and like to think their show is better than the next one. Ego plays a big part in what they do. The opportunity to display how great they think they are is sometimes too good to miss. Here’s the type of spontaneity I don’t like. Mr Ego Presenter suddenly decides he’ll have ‘chat’ with the next guy and asks the usual question ‘…and what have you got on your show today…’ he replies ‘oh the usual stuff’. These presenters sound like complete idiots because what started out as a ‘chat’ quickly turns into a ‘on air’ slagging match. It is no surprise that Steve Coogan uses the programme ‘crossover’ as a source of good comedy for his alter ego.

I can tell you that you don’t need to go any further than your local small town station to hear the real life Alan Partridges using ‘the crossover’ to insult or upset the presenter coming after him. Not only that but I know of one presenter in a station I know very well who continually uses ‘sexual innuendo’ on a Saturday morning (family listening time) as part of his ‘chat’ to put down the presenter following him. I am trying to find words that properly describe the embarrassment I feel when I listen to him doing this. I could use cringe worthy, mortified or squirm. Somehow those words aren’t enough.

Sad

The sad thing is that I am listening to someone who has no perception of what good radio is…! I am listening to someone who has little or no experience of how radio (community or otherwise) should sound in 2013…! I am listening to someone who has spent his broadcasting life picking up bad habits…! I am listening to someone who bases his entire show on old ideas interpreted incorrectly…!

In a word ‘Smashie’