How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 185.


I feel sorry for Ofcom.

They have to deal with complaints about radio stations from crazy people. Yes, the people who complain to Ofcom about what radio stations broadcast are all crazy.

With all the choices of what to listen to, these are the people who consistently chose to listen to stations that aren’t aimed at them. Instead of switching it off or re-tuning, they complain about it to Ofcom. Sometimes they didn’t hear the “offending” piece of audio but heard about it and that’s good enough.

Think about it, have YOU ever complained to Ofcom about something you heard on the radio? Do you know anyone that has? The answer is of course, “no”. That leads you to the logical conclusion that the kind of people who complain to Ofcom are not normal and have no friends.

A complaint went in about me in 2008 and as far as I know, it still hasn’t been resolved. It was about what I said on TFM Radio at the time. I used to do a daily bit about my neighbors. It was a surreal bit where I’d talk about the people who lived in my street. I never said where I lived and the things I talked about were all made up. For example, I used to say that the new people next door were rednecks and had a collection of tyre swans and broken kitchen appliances on their front lawn. The truth was they didn’t and didn’t even have a front lawn! It was all based on the fact that when they first moved in, they had a pick-up truck and scary dog. On the air, I called my next door neighbours “The Clampits” because they were like The Beverly Hillbillies. I’d never actually met my real next door neighbours but that all changed one Sunday morning.

I was upstairs editing some audio for the next day’s show when Julie answered a loud knock at the front door. There were harsh words in the doorway, then Julie shouted up to me, “Graham, Mrs Clampit wants to talk to you!”. Those were Julie’s exact words, that didn’t help.

The first thing Mr Clampit  said to me was that she never listened to the show. She said she listened to Radio 4. Then she said she wasn’t happy with the way I’d been talking about her and her family. When I explained that I wasn’t talking about her family because none of it was true. I explained that I was talking about an imaginary neighbour in a surreal neighbourhood. She was having none of it.

I don’t want to make anyone unhappy so I said to her, there and then that I would end the feature and she’ll never hear it on TFM again, even if she does listen. Then her husband came over and I told him that the feature would be ended immediately. He seemed OK with that and said, “We won’t be taking it any further”.

The feature was never heard again on TFM but by the end of that week, I was called into the office at work and told that an Ofcom complaint had come in and “The Clampits” were saying their privacy had been invaded.

So i was minding my own business, in my own home on a Sunday morning, a crazy person bangs on the door and demands to talk to me about something she said she didn’t hear on the radio. And HER privacy was invaded?

Craic on!

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