Wacko Jacko

09Mar19

That’s what it sounded like when I announcement on Wednesday that I’d banned all Michael Jackson songs from Fix Radio in London and Manchester.

I made the decision after watching, “Leaving Neverland”. We were the first radio station in Britain to do this and the only one that has openly admitted that there is a ban in place. The truth is, most UK radio stations have dropped Michael Jackson’s music but are too scared to admit the fact publicly because of the backlash it will cause from Jackson fans.

It’s caused such a fuss that the story has been picked up by The Times, The Daily Express and news site around the world. I was also asked to be a guest on The Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5 Live…

 

As long as I’m the Programme Director, Michael Jackson songs will not be played on Fix Radio.

 

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Mack Nuggets

03Mar19

Here’s what I’ve been up to with Gaz Drinkwater on Fix Radio Manchester, including:

The truth about the Isis bride.
Another car on the tram tracks.
Missing seats at Old Trafford.
The pink chicken.
Lego porn.
Racism from Liam Neeson.
The dangers of drinking tea.
Classic Simpsons.
The lion and the goolies.
Valentines Day stories.
The front thong.
The naked beauty queen.
The real reason schools ban haircuts.

 

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Russ & Jono, the multi award-winning radio show hosts are back!

They appeared as guest stars on Fix Radio last month and the audience response was so big that now they’re back, permanently.

The Russ and Jono Fix Radio Experience will be heard weekdays 12-1pm and Saturdays 8-10am on Fix Radio London and Fix Radio Manchester on DAB, and around the world on the Fix Radio smartphone app and online at http://www.fixradio.co.uk!

The new show will feature classic bits like, ‘Sad But True’, ‘Dumb Crime of the Day’, ‘Probe the Globe’, ‘Lost in Showbiz’, the wayward newsreaders ‘Shanka & Edward’ and their new, film review feature, ‘Jono on the Commode’.

The Russ and Jono Fix Radio Experience, weekdays 12-1pm & a ‘best of’ show on Saturdays 8-10am! Listen live here from March 4th;

https://www.fixradio.co.uk/player/player-selection/

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Hot For Cleaner

17Feb19

Things didn’t go according to plan when one of my single workmates booked a hot cleaner.

He saw the image of a very attractive young girl advertising home cleaning services online. She was a lot more expensive than the other cleaners he’d got quotes from but he decided to book her to clean his flat anyway. He even took the afternoon off work.

In the days leading up to her visit, he got quite excited and showed everyone in the Fix Radio office her picture.

When the big day came, an hour before she was due, he got a phone call. The female voice on the other end of the phone said there was a problem and asked if it would be alright if they sent a different girl. Slightly disappointed, he agreed.

The “girl” who turned up was a large, middle aged woman.

Clearly this lady is a marketing genius. It was my friend who had been taken to the cleaners!

It reminds me of this scam from The Man Show with Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla;

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Mack Nuggets

16Feb19

I went to a radio station reunion this weekend. It was BRMB’s 45th reunion at Bacchus Bar in Birmingham. I worked there from March 99 to January 02.

MeBlondeOllieI caught up with James Blonde and Ollie Hayes who’ve got hairier and balder respectively…

MeLesRossEveryone has got older except Les Ross who should be 70 now but doesn’t look a day older than when I first met him twenty years ago. The thing is, back then I thought he was really old, now I’m five years older than he was then!

Here’s what I sounded like on BRMB all those years ago…

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Starbucks

Why do we have to speak Italian for ONE WORD?

That’s what happens when you order a coffee. I drink black decaf, so I don’t need to know the difference between a cappuccino, frappuccino, cup-a-tea-no, macchiato, mocha soccer, happy shopper, snotty, spotty moriarty, Russell Harty, it’s-my-party or farty latte, but I do have to order a decaf, “Americano”.

Well I’ve had enough of having to use these Italian passwords so yesterday, I just asked for a decaf “American”.

The girl behind the counter said, “Americano?”, and I said, “No, I’m Inglese!”.

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Blackfriars

Is it offensive to homeless people?

On my way to work the other morning, I saw two people sleeping rough at the South Bank entrance to Blackfriars station.

I say “rough”, they didn’t look like they were down and out. They had sleeping bags that looked brand new and nice backpacks that they were using as pillows. They looked more like tourists who’d decided to camp in the station instead of paying for an expensive London hotel.

I wonder what people who are homeless think of that? In fact, what do the homeless think of people who go camping?

I was talking about this in the office at Fix Radio. My friend Jon North summed it up best when he said, “To homeless people, camping must be the equivalent of blackface”.

Craic on!

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Mars Attacks

03Feb19

Alexa devil

Alexa doesn’t like me.

When we first got Amazon’s virtual assistant, about a year ago, she was fine. Now she’s gone off me. She prefers Julie’s voice to mine.

Alexa has started behaving like a moody teenager. Often when I ask her a question, she just ignores me. When Julie asks, she’s straight onto it. Now Julie has to repeat things I’ve just said!

I say, “Alexa, volume down” and nothing happens. Julie says, “Alexa, volume down” and down it goes. I ask her to play Fix Radio from Tunein and she plays ‘Hits Radio’. I’m sure Alexa knows that I’m the Programme Director at Fix Radio and enjoys frightening me. I’m expecting to hear Arctic Monkeys and on comes Bruno Mars. Fix Radio NEVER plays Bruno Mars!

If You think I’m reading too much into her behaviour, check this out. – We use Alexa to write our shopping list, it’s handy because the Amazon device sits on the kitchen bench and that’s where you are when you realise you’re running out of something. You just tell her what to add and then, when you’re in the supermarket, you open the Amazon Alexa app on your phone and there’s the full list. The other day I said, “Alexa, put orange juice on the shopping list”. Here’s what she put;

IMG_9708

As you can see, the second item on the list is “Echo juice”! First of all “Echo” sounds NOTHING like “orange”, in fact no other word rhymes with orange so the chances of her confusing it with ANYTHING else are slim. Where did she get the word echo from? Well, the name of the device she lives in is the Amazon ECHO!

Want more proof? How about this from today?

IMG_9562

BLOODY BRUNO MARS AGAIN!!!



 

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Mack Nuggets

02Feb19

Here’s what I’ve been up to on Fix Radio Manchester lately, including:

The start; Publicity Stunt ideas; The answer to the BIG question; Mission Impossible; Gaz climbs a crane; The UAE gender equality awards; A tribute to the inventor of Pot Noodle and The truth about The Manchester Evening News.

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Phonies

27Jan19

Why aren’t presenters on music radio stations putting callers on the air?

I read a tweet this week from @Aircheck, the social networking site for radio. They were asking if a person who calls in with traffic information should be referred to on the air as a “listener” or a “caller”.

I replied with,
“Why not just put the caller/listener on the air and address them by their first name?”

Radio is an intimate medium, in a world of hi-tech, it has the ability to be hi-touch.  Why not talk to people on the air?

I understand that it can be dangerous to put callers on live but it’s pretty easy to record a chat with them off the air while the songs are on and play them back a few minutes later. You can even coach them and edit the calls so they sound great.

Radio is sound, we should always be looking for great audio to play. Hearing a bloke drive a digger through the front of a Travelodge or the Little girl Calling 999 because her mother has collapsed or the latest crazy thing Donald Trump has said sounds better than me telling you what went on or what was said.

Having a caller at the scene of an accident describing what they can see, telling you how it’s affecting traffic and the best way to avoid it is far more compelling and real than hearing a presenter just give you the cold hard facts.

News people know this, that’s why their bulletins are full of clips of actuality. Why haven’t music presenters worked this out?  

And it’s the biggest names on the biggest stations that are the worst offenders, “Hi to Dave in Salisbury who’s listening while he washes his car, Sam in Edinburgh is decorating today and Jo in Poole is ironing”. There’s nothing wrong with that but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re short changing the rest of the people listening. Most of the content on some shows is just presenters reading out texts. Surely in an over-communicated multimedia world, radio needs to be more than that.

The big shows on national stations have producers and screeners whose job is to pre-read texts and take phone calls, then pass that information on to the presenter. A team of people are actually paid to take something that could be compelling radio and turn it into a cold, lifeless script.

I remember the day when everything changed. I was at BRMB in Birmingham in the late 90s when the engineer showed us this new screen that displayed texts that listeners had sent. Some of the presenters got really excited by this new way for our audience to interact with us. I remember thinking, why would anyone want to hear me just read from a screen instead of actually talking to the listeners on the phone?

Maybe some presenters don’t actually have anything to say. They read out listeners comments and opinions instead.

Do they keep listeners off the air because they’re so insecure, they don’t want to be upstaged by a caller who is more entertaining than they are?

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Mystery solved but it shouldn’t have take this long!

For weeks now, we’ve had this annoying noise in the hallway of our new build flat. It sounds like it’s coming from the wall that separate us from our next door neighbour. The builders have been, turned off all of the power in our flat and the neighbours flat but the noise continues. Last night, Julie went downstairs to ask the people in the flat below us if they’ve noticed anything.

As soon as they opened their door, she heard it. It was our noise, only much louder. The bloke who lives there said it was a bathroom exhaust fan and he’d reported it to the builders. He flipped the isolating switch and, silence!

It was them all along, the noise is in their ceiling which is our floor. It vibrated the wall and the vibrations made it sound like it was in the wall between us and our neighbours next door.

The thing I don’t understand is this; they’d reported it to the builders, when the builders got a report from us about a noise, why didn’t they just look for other reports of noise in the same building, work out that one of them was from the flat DIRECTLY BELOW US and check that out first?

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Mack Nuggets

24Jan19

Listen to what happened when Gaz climbed 150 feet to the top of a tower crane.  We broadcast from a building site in Salford. “Downtown” which is being built by McGoff Construction.

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In the 90s, the biggest commercial radio Breakfast Show in the UK was Russ & Jono on Virgin. They had millions of listeners and won just about every major award going.

Now they’re back and they’re on Fix Radio. All of their classic features have returned including, ‘House Of Crap’, ‘Sad But True’, ‘Dumb Crime Of The Day’, ‘Probe the Globe’, ‘Lost In Showbiz’, the wayward newsreaders ‘Shanka & Edward’ and new features including, a film review, ‘Jono on the Kermode’ – film reviews from the toilet (commode), and Mike the Australian radio consultant – who calls up to tell the boys if they’re ‘nailing it’ or if the show needs to be Fix-ed. Australian listeners may recognise Mike as the TV and radio presenter, Mike Hammond.

Jono recently opened up about his year-long battle with prostate cancer. In case you missed it this week on Fix Radio, here’s what it sounded like;

I hope you can listen to Russ & Jono every weekday between noon & 1pm, and Saturday morning between 8am and 10pm, on Fix Radio on DAB in London and Manchester, on the Fix Radio phone app and online here;
http://www.fixradio.co.uk/player/london/

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Jumping to conclusions can get you into a lot of trouble.

The weird noise in the hallway of our new build apartment has become even more mysterious. When the builders came to investigate, they switched off all of the power in our place and the noise continued, so it must be the people in the flat next door, right? Well they finally visited our neighbours yesterday.

They turned off all of the power in there and the noise didn’t go away, It’s not them!

Now I feel bad about giving them the stink eye every time I’ve seen them in the car park. How do you take back a scowl?

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This is what it sounded like when we launched a brand new radio station for Manchester this week.

If you like it, you can listen live here;
http://www.fixradio.co.uk/player/manchester/

I present the Breakfast show with the brilliant Gaz Drinkwater, weekdays 7am to 9am.

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The weird noise in the hallway of our new build apartment is still there!

The builders have been, switched off all of the power in our place and the noise continues. This confirms that it’s coming from our neighbours. The other side of the wall is their bathroom, what are they doing in there day and night?

The builders have now booked to go into our neighbours flat to investigate twice and both times as soon as they booked a visit to investigate, the noise stopped, so we called the builders and told them not to bother. As soon as the heat was off, both times, the noise came back.

Whatever they’re up to in there, they’re deliberately hiding it!

A surprise visit is called for, maybe a raid. Is a constant noise grounds for a search warrant?

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alan bennett

It was the coat that gave it away. It wasn’t even that nice a coat, a grey, rumpled overcoat that wouldn’t look good on anybody.

On Monday, sat opposite me on the 18:17 from London St Pancras to Peterborough via Hitchin, was the multi-award-winning playwright, screenwriter, actor and author, Alan Bennett.

At first I wasn’t sure it was really him so I Googled his name and found the picture above.  Sure enough it WAS him and he was wearing the same overcoat as in the picture.

I didn’t talk to him and he didn’t talk to anyone because he was extremely busy. At first, he was reading things from his phone which occasionally made him smile, then he produced a handful of what looked liked scripts from his bag, gave them the once-over, put them away then pulled out a laptop computer and started typing on it. He didn’t look anywhere near his 84 years of age. Maybe that was because of the boyish, slightly quizzical expression he had on his face as he looked at the screen.

The thing that struck me about him was although he was silent, he gave off a positive, happy vibe. It was quite a contrast to the rest of the people on the train. They were heading home from their jobs they hate in London to the houses they can’t afford in the Home Counties. The only thing they had in common with Alan was that their faces were as grey and drawn out as his overcoat.

I couldn’t help thinking, was Alan Bennett so positive and content because he’s successful or is he successful because he projects a vibe of positivity and contentment?

Or is it because he just loves that coat?

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The weird noise in the hallway of our new build apartment stopped!

We were disappointed because the builders had booked to go into our neighbours flat to investigate. We called the builders and told them not to bother because the noise had gone.

The next day, the noise was back. Was that just a coincidence or did our neighbours hurriedly disassemble their meth lab or doomsday machine?

I’ll keep you posted.

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The Heat is On

06Jan19

preheated oven

Every time I put something in the oven it reminds me of a classic George Carlin bit about the concept of a “preheated” oven.

George said… “It’s ridiculous! There are only two states an oven can possibly exist in, heated or unheated!”

I don’t get it either, surely, putting the food in AFTER you’ve heated an empty oven is a waste of energy. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to have the food in there from the start so it can absorb heat while the oven is getting up to temperature?

I think the whole “preheated” oven thing is a con. We’re being played by the makers of convenience food. Instead of the instructions telling you that the frozen pie takes nearly an hour to re-heat, they can make it sound more “convenient” when they print on the box that it takes, “forty minutes in a preheated oven”.

That logic makes more sense than what they expect us to believe which is that when the pie starts off in a cold oven and then has to deal with a warm oven, then finally a hot oven, it doesn’t know what to do!

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This is the strange noise in the hallway of our new apartment. It’s been going non-stop for over a month now. It sounds like it’s coming from the other side of the wall which is next door’s bathroom. We’ve asked them and they say they have no idea what it is either.

The builders came around yesterday to check it out and even switched off all of the power in our place but the noise was still there. The neighbours were out so they couldn’t check in there. They say they’ll make an appointment with them to find out more.

It MUST be our neighbours. What are they up to in their bathroom? If you have any idea, let me know.

Craic on!

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