Adrian Kennedy: MOD, even if it is car crash radio, we all love to rubberneck
I read with interest Michael O'Doherty's article in Monday's Herald headlined "I'm all for free speech, but this is just car crash radio".
I have to say I found the whole tone of his article very condescending and patronising to the 51,000-plus listeners who tune in every night... making it the most listened-to radio programme in Ireland in its time slot.
For nearly 14 years I have presented the FM104 Phoneshow, and it's become synonymous with Dublin at night.
Michael's attitude towards people who can only afford to stay at home and eat fast food is offensive in the extreme. Aren't you the lucky one, Michael, to not be one of the 400,000-plus who are out of work. Many of our listeners texted our show on Monday upset at his comments.
Here's just one: "Adrian, its clear he goes around with his head in the sand, the ppl of dublin can state their views and if he doesn't like it f**k him, p.s. i will be having my ham sambo and glass of milk -- no dutch gold and chips".
We are a voyeuristic nation who love nothing more than to listen in to others' problems and gossip (something Michael should know well, bearing in mind the success of his gossip magazines). This has contributed to the success of the FM104 Phoneshow (and indeed to Liveline). One third of the audience for our show is from an ABC1 demographic (that's posh people Michael), not the beer-swilling, right-wing scumbags Michael portrayed our listeners as. Yes, our show is different to all the others -- it's raw, gritty, real-life Dublin -- not the sugar-coated version of life we'd all like to believe we live.
I firmly defend the right to free speech, even for people whose opinions he may find unpalatable.
In the article, Michael highlighted the exclusive interview I did last week with Noel Byrne about the murder of his son Stephen on Dublin's Sheriff Street. Is the man not entitled to say the emergency services might have been able to save his life had they arrived sooner?
At no point did the man glorify or condone his son's criminal activity, indeed he pointed out that he knew his son was going to be killed.
Michael talked about an editing suite in FM104. Well, we do operate one -- our 10-second profanity delay.
It's employed several times a night to edit out very coarse language or unsubstantiated, possibly libellous claims. So we do protect our audience from outrageous material, but we do it so professionally, Michael wouldn't even be aware it was ever there!
But what annoyed me most is the preconceived notion Michael has for what our show truly is -- an entertaining, informative, sometimes aggressive, but always accurate look at Dublin life.
He described our show as car crash radio... well, Michael, you, and everyone else, rubbernecks to look at a car crash, don't you?
Adrian Kennedy FM104 Phoneshow Friday 10pm-12am