Steve Penk speaks his mind on Simon Mayo
Before I start, I am not somebody else bashing the BBC for the sake of bashing the BBC, this is me irritated by the arrogance of some of those who work for it.
Latest to step forward is Simon Mayo. Simon Mayo is nothing more than an average radio presenter who has simply got very lucky, won the radio lottery, and found himself in a very privileged position on the UK’s number 1 music radio station, BBC Radio 2.
I don’t need Mayo telling me how wonderful Radio 2 is and how nobody else does what Radio 2 does, I already know that, and so does everyone else. What Mr Mayo fails to point out to anyone who will listen, is the fact that Radio 2 is a super privileged UK music radio station that doesn’t play on a level playing field.
It has a brilliant nationwide FM frequency, it’s not forced to carry endless commercials and sponsorship messages to survive in a competitive commercial world, AND is handed an annual budget of £46 million to run that radio station.
How would you feel if you and your business won the lottery every year? Ask Bob Shennan (Radio 2 controller) because he’s been winning it every year for years.
The gravy train has got longer, and suddenly questions are being asked and changes being discussed that some people don’t like.
BBC Radio 2 is the spoilt child radio station that has no direct equivalent commercial competitor, it exists in a position that any commercial operator can only dream of. As a result, they simply don’t have the same pressure, restrictions and clutter that is sadly forced upon commercial operators to survive and hopefully thrive in a fiercely competitive UK Radio market in 2015.
I have never worked for BBC Radio in my life, and probably after this, never will.
My entire Radio career, since 1978, has been with commercial radio. I have worked for the biggest commercial radio stations, plus I have owned a radio station in the worst economic recession in the history of radio, it doesn’t get any tougher than that.
My wife and I had to sell almost everything we owned to finance the radio station and keep it operating during the recession, so I think I’m qualified to voice my opinion on the super privileged BBC Radio 2.
I personally think the BBC is a wonderful organisation that should concentrate on its core services only, but what I take the most exception to is presenters telling me how nothing compares to it. Of course nothing compares to it, it’s unique, and it’s unique simply because of all the free money it’s handed every year by the British public.
In my opinion, there are scandalous amounts of money wasted by the BBC every year, but that’s a whole separate debate.
It’s easy to attract the best talent and pay the best money if you’re handed £46 million every year to run a music radio station.Anyone who works in Radio will tell you how good Radio 2 is, but it’s only good because it’s handed all this free money to operate it every year.
No commercial pressure, no level playing field, all they have to do is concentrate on spending all that free money and making good radio, great when you have the money to do it, and as we all know, it’s very easy to spend somebody else’s money.
Ask any member of the public what they hate most about Commercial Radio and they will always say the ads. There is nothing commercial radio can do about that, it’s what pays the bills, so commercial radio and commercial television are slightly handicapped before they even start. It’s like ITV against Sky Television, If Sky were suddenly handed hundreds of millions of free money every year to operate, and as a result, Sky no longer had to run endless commercial breaks, and could invest all that free money on hiring the best talent and making great programmes, it’s no longer a fair fight.
It’s a job made far easier when you don’t have commercial pressure every day, and that alone Mr Mayo is how ‘Radio 2 does what nobody else can’.
It’s not because Radio 2 are reinventing the wheel, in reality Radio 2 are doing in 2015 what commercial radio was doing 30 years ago, character, personality led radio during the day with some specialist type shows in the evenings and at weekends, so nothing original or amazing there hey Simon.
BBC Radio 2 has no commercial pressure, yes they may have had their annual budget reduced slightly over the years, but so what.
I certainly don’t need Simon Mayo or Graham Norton (both work for Radio 2) telling me how great and special Radio 2 is, it should be, it’s handed enough free money every year.
The opinions in this guest article do not necessarily represent those of RadioToday.