Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Reggie's Autopsy: Radio - Gemma Cairney!

Welcome to my new blog feature "Reggie's Autopsy", all views expressed are mine. Yours are welcome!

As a media strategist one of my jobs is listening to radio shows to get an idea of a stations sound and know who does what so I can match the needs of clients to the right voice/spokesperson be it music artist, actor or brand.

After digesting an hour from one of my dj idols Trevor Nelson, I decided for the first time to listen to Gemma Cairney's Daytime Afternoon Show on BBC Radio 1Xtra and the new daytime format!

My first and only time of meeting Gemma was at the MTV Music Awards after party in Liverpool , where I was introduced by former executive Ray Paul to her as the new co-host to Trevor Nelson's breakfast show. Gemma came across as a warm, bubbly and intelligent lady as she answered my boring suck up and get to know ya questions. At a point, I could tell she had already forgotten my name and just wanted to enjoy the occasion so I re-aquainted myself with my bottle of Brandy and wished her the best of luck with the show.

The afternoon daytime slot in radio is regarded as one of the most difficult shows to do, it is the key bridge in the lead up to the 2nd biggest slot on the airwaves, the coveted "drive time show". Gemma's predecessor Max did this to great effect and ease, commanding healthy rajar's (people who monitor listener ship figures) and left me baffled along with many others about to her departure. But "the show must go on" and up steps Gemma Cairney...

Gemma brings a middle class edge to the show and at times a few slightly cringe worthy moments in her attempt to come across "cool" and "down with it". I felt it worked as not everyone who listens to urban music was born on a council estate or communicate in street slang and perfect tonic for the redundant professionals searching for employment.

Her enthusiasm in introducing the latest BBC cartoon "rastamouse" record was professionally handled, although was slightly hesitancy in informing us that the voice of the character was none other than Reggie Yates, Why? We all have GOOGLE, however I felt a historic moment like this deserved more razzle and dazzle since it is the most credible kids record since Bart Simpson's "Do The Bartman".

Gemma also interviewed Ashley Walters about the new sci-fi drama "Outcasts", it was informative and precise, although a slap on the wrist for not doing some research into the subject which she openly admitted to not knowing much about could have been a plus point.

I'm a massive advocate of good grammar on the airwaves regardless of the style of music you present. (at the age of 15 I used to present on a reggae pirate Vibes FM I was considered posh as I did not conform to the usual patois speak but gained many fans)

Gemma paints the image of a comspolitan / chic girl you would normally find hanging out at bars on The Kings Road or Tooley Street with a few of her phrases and reference points, this is good but maybe more suited for Radio 1. Barring the odd hiccup in pronunciation which maybe down to her slight lisps and might I say doesn't spoil your overall listening experience, my attention was kept aside from some of the very commercial records.

All in all she provides a great alternative and holds her own without a co-presenter and I expect her to make an easy transition to Radio 1. A thumbs up!!!

They say "changing from what we are used to is difficult" and I have to admit I do miss the sultry voice of Max.

Gemma Cairney presents the afternoon slot on BBC 1XTRA