Source: Why Nick Grimshaw can afford to lose a million listeners
How does a breakfast-radio DJ do their show on the morning they’ve lost nearly a million listeners in three months? Chris Moyles would probably have let off some steam by going on one of his close-to-the-bone tirades, no doubt laying the blame with one of his endlessly scolded sidekicks. Capital’s Dave Berry would have been told by middle-management to mention nothing about it, heaven forbid he stop making those banal battle-of-the-sexes observations that have tested well with focus groups.
This morning, Nick Grimshaw, after hearing his Rajar fate, compared himself to Eldorado – the failed BBC cruise-ship soap from the 1990s. “It’s fine, that lost loads of viewers and it ran for like 20 years, people still reference it all the time. We’re the new Eldorado. Oh, apparently it just ran for one year. Oh dear.” It’s all part of his shtick – a breakfast show filled with pop-culture references and groaning self-deprecation, one that finds humour in the modern celebrity, the rise and fall of the once famous, and exploits it for all its worth.
I am woken most mornings, not by the radio itself but by the belly laughs of someone in my flat who’s already listening. Grimshaw’s show can be so quick, cruel and unexpected that it goes beyond the normal “did you hear about this” banter of breakfast radio and moves into genuine comedy. This comes from Grimshaw’s encyclopedic knowledge of and endless enthusiasm for all things pop, whether it’s a Little Mix video faux-pas or the love life of rapper A$AP Rocky.
It makes for a show rich in blink-and-you’ll miss-them gags. It’s at its funniest when it’s all falling apart. When him and best mate Harry Styles went on air the day after the Brits, coming straight from an after-after-after party without going to sleep, it was so good it made me late for work. Full of real gossip and slurs, it was a world away from the pre-packaged red-carpet chat that was going on at other stations.
For a show as obtuse, hilarious, and unrelenting as Grimshaw’s, 5.8 million listeners is actually pretty impressive. Finally, Radio 1 has found a DJ that can be both anarchic and on-message, one who gets the listenership, and talks to them rather than taking the piss out of them. At a publicly funded station trying to prove its worth, that’s worth a million listeners, easily.