Anybody who’s grown up listening to commercial radio in the last decade will probably be familiar with Late Night Love, the rather cheesy relationship phone-in programme hosted by Graham Torrington. Networked across GCap’s commercial stations, it was like a cross between Jeremy Kyle and Radio 1’s Sunday Surgery presented by your embarrassing uncle and with the kind of people on the phone lines who most definitely should never have kids.
Needless to say it was, in equal measures, cringeworthy yet somehow brilliant.
When people found out I used to work in radio, one of the first questions I was always asked was “Do you know Graham Torrington?” Sadly, as the show was networked, I never got to meet the great man.
Which makes today’s announcement that Late Night Love is to be axed to be replaced by a new music show somewhat baffling. The show had fantastic brand recognition, even among non-GCap listeners. It retained a charm and distinctiveness in the world of commercial radio that few other shows had.
I have no idea what the show’s listener figures was like. Perhaps it had become the radio equivalent of Top Of The Pops – well loved by those who remembered it, but with an audience that had moved on, and was no longer culturally relevant in a digital world. Perhaps it was time to put the show out of its misery, as you would do to a family pet.
But even if that was the case, it still feels like a small part of the radio world has died today. Something that was different, irreverent and fun, and quite different from anything else on the air.
Perhaps, on the other hand, it just didn’t fit with GCap’s vision for the future. If so, it’s a very bold move. Hopefully it will be replaced with something just as distinctive because, while there are some talented DJs working in local radio, the last thing commercial stations need is another indistinguishable music show. Or perhaps I’m missing the point, and that’s exactly what it needs.