The Week in Radio: Musical chairs and some lukewarm water
It’s been a confusing (possibly even upsetting) summer for listeners who crave constancy.
Listeners who rely on things being always just so. Loyal Radio 1 listeners, say, who tune in daily via Bakelite sets while contentedly poring over Ireland’s Own puzzle pages. Listeners who I’ve just reduced to crude caricatures for the sake of a cheap laugh that I won’t even get. Listeners who probably don’t exist.
Nevertheless, and as I said, it’s clearly been a confusing (possibly even upsetting) summer for these probably non-existent listeners.
It started in late June with news that staggered a nation (not really). The John Murray Show — as cosy and twee an hour of radio as you’d hope (or hope not) to find — was no more.
In its place? The Brendan O’Connor Show. A temporary, place-holding thing that was... whatever it was, for the month of July, before it too gave way to Mornings With Dave Fanning.
And Mornings With Dave Fanning itself shall, as all things must, dissolve into dust and nothingness. And from that dust and nothingness shall emerge, or re-emerge, a prodigal son. All of which sounds rather thrilling really. Except it isn’t. Remotely.
For on Monday, September 7 (mark that date down in your diaries or, better yet, forget it immediately) Ryan Tubridy will, to nobody’s surprise, be returning to Radio 1’s 9am slot with a show provisionally called Tubridy’s Chucklesome Cavalcade Of Lesser-spotted Whimsy.
That, I should add, is my own provisional title. The actual title is yet to be confirmed, but they’re idiots if they opt for anything else.
“This is such a weird situation for me to be in,” said Tubridy (the person) as he wandered into the studio of Tubridy (the show) on Friday morning. In the Tubridy hotseat was not Tubridy (the person) but Stephen Byrne (the person, pictured left), who’d been guest-filling said seat for the previous fortnight.
“Thank you so much for letting me be on here for the last 2 weeks,” Byrne gushed in Tubridy’s direction as Tubridy muttered stuff about his own “heartbreaking” departure (steady on) and his “mixed emotions” and how “outrageously grateful” he was to listeners.
“What kind of show are you going to do?” a forelock-tugging Byrne didn’t bother asking, but it’s a question that had popped up a short while earlier on The Brendan O’Connor Show, which, as I said, used to be The John Murray Show, but is now, as I said, Mornings With Dave Fanning.
Until it, in turn, becomes this new thing hosted by Tubridy, who was himself a guest on O’Connor’s Show, which is currently Fanning’s show, which will soon be his (Tubridy’s) show. Couldn’t be any clearer
If, by now, you’re reeling from what sounds like an anxiety-inducing tornado of radical change, then worry not. Think of it more as a jolly ol’ game of musical chairs, with the same old familiar faces — all of whom happen to be men, of course — merely swapping seats. Plus ça change, and all that.
Tubridy answered O’Connor’s question, by the way, by ‘reassuring’ us that no boats would be rocked in the making of this new show. “We’re going to do a show much like what’s been happening at nine o’clock,” he said.
One that will act, he added, as “a breather” between an “intense” Morning Ireland and a “current-affairs-driven”
Today With Sean O’Rourke.
So much like Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap fame, Tubridy seems content to be not fire (Morning Ireland?) or ice
(O’Rourke?) — but lukewarm water.
Tubridy, 2fm, Weekdays,
The Brendan O'Connor Show, Radio 1, Weekdays