After months of speculation and weeks of promotion, Chris Evans finally started on the new Radio 2 Breakfast Show this morning, and like many others I was listening with interest from 7.00.
Taking over the nation’s most-popular breakfast show from a long-standing broadcasting legend is never going to be easy, so it wasn’t surprising that Chris and the team sounded nervous and, perhaps, a little over-exuberant, at the start of their first show. The first couple of links sounded scripted but as the show progressed things seemed to settle down.
The music selection was a broad mix; two Beatles tracks and Frank Sinatra to begin, as well as Robbie Williams, The Seekers, Madonna, Paolo Nutini , Fats Domino and Ocean Colour Scene in the first hour, helped to reinforce the point that the show (and Radio 2) is targeting a wide-ranging family audience. The second hour included Elbow, Mika, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Diamond, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones and Johnny Cash. Now that’s diverse.
There was plenty of interaction with the audience, whether through emails or phone calls, including a seriously-weird interview with someone who holds the Guinness world record for bursting hot water bottles. Don’t ask! It was handled well, though, and was actually the sort of thing that made you want to keep listening.
It was also nice to hear Moira Stuart reading the news. I’ve always liked her precise diction and authoritiative tone and although I thought she sounded a bit ‘forced’ during the lighter chats with Chris, I’m sure this will improve with time.
If I have one complaint (and I know I’m not alone in this judging by several comments on Facebook and Twitter) it’s the way Chris will play a minute or so of a song and then trample over the rest of it. That is one my regular pet hates with radio presenters so I’m disappointed to hear it being done here.
These are all random first impressions so I think a more-considered review would be in order after a few weeks, by which time Chris and the team will have shed their first-morning nerves and the show will have ‘bedded-in’. Overall, though, I think it was a promising start.
What will be interesting to see will be how the audience changes, and by how much. The next Rajar figures due at the beginning of February will cover the last three months of 2009, so we’ll have to wait until mid-May to see how things are shaping-up; although such a major change will take considerably longer before things settle down.
It won’t be the overall number of listeners but the demographic breakdown that will be of most interest. I have already blogged about Radio 2’s audience a few months ago, but here’s an updated chart to show how it currently (Rajar Q3/2009) looks during the day:
Written by radio consultant [link=http://www.pauleaston.co.uk/]Paul Easton[/link], and re-produced with permission on RadioToday.co.uk