While stocks last 

2 June 2008 tbs.pm/907

Is it too late to save the Whale?

Whatever James Whale himself might say, flogging double-sided bed linen, toasters and gold bangles is still a demotion from his previous radio presenter job on TalkSport; Bid TV’s advertised salary (circa £25k) is more in line with a salesman role as opposed to a TV presenter that supposedly reaches millions of viewers. But at least it pays the bills.

Let’s face it though, there are still rules regarding impartiality when it comes to the leadup to any election (mayoral, general or otherwise) and James Whale broke them, although sacking him was perhaps harsh given who he is and why they employed him in the first place (namely to have a presenter who’s controversial).

But the real issue here is the dwindling number of real opportunities in the radio and television industries, with groups such as Global Radio attempting to introduce more automation and networking shows whenever they can get away with it. This in turn slashes the number of real presenting opportunities on ‘grown-up’ radio stations.

There are significant differences between ‘grown-up’ radio and mainstream TV presenting compared with the experience gained from either student radio or selling toasters on a shopping channel, and it doesn’t just relate to differences in working hours or salary either.

Reducing the number of opportunities threatens the very core of the media industry in the long term, and relying on Big Brother plus other reality TV contestants is a quick fix that’s a poor substitute for finding real talent and nurturing it.