I finally get to meet one of my radio idols, and watch him broadcast his show
It is an all too sad truth that many people in my social circle may not be aware of who Geoff Lloyd is, or what he does for a living. However, when somebody says the name, I am instantly taken back to the many hours spent in my room listening to his old podcasts. Geoff is a radio DJ, and it was he who inspired me to first consider broadcasting as a future career. For the last 15 years he has been a notable figure at One, Golden Square, the building which has been home to Virgin Radio and now Absolute Radio.
He has had a number of different shows over the years, from Breakfast to Late night (where I first heard him), and he currently holds the coveted “drive time show”, which he renamed the Hometime Show, to reflect the less intense style of presenting. Joining him on the show is the award winning Annabel Port, who has worked with him for the last 10 years, and their producer, Gareth Evans.
Upon entering the studio, I was greeted by the team, but also by the sight of a large curry platter, in celebration of Geoff’s birthday. While I was aware of this before arriving, it did make me feel like I was invading a personal party, although everybody was incredibly welcoming and friendly. I was also amazed by how done up the studio was in terms of trinkets, flowers and photographs. The team decorate the studio every day for their show, then take it all down again after. Again, it was something I was aware of beforehand, but experiencing it in person is very different. It definitely makes the studio more hospitable, therefore I wholeheartedly appreciate why they do it.
In between songs, Geoff was stood at the microphone, energetically steering the show through the many topics he had, as well as slipping in the occasional endorsement and commenting on current affairs, prepared each day by Gareth. Off mic, he was a lot more relaxed, sitting reclined in his chair and enjoying the incredible birthday cake that had been made for him. It was here where I also took the opportunity to ask some questions.
Knowing how big of a Beatles fan he was, I perhaps should have seen the answer coming, but the most famous person he believes he has met is Paul McCartney; placing him above both Prince Charles and Kermit the Frog. It was interesting however to hear Geoff admit that he isn’t star struck by A-listers. Instead, both he and Annabel find themselves more in awe of minor celebrities like X-factor or Big Brother competitors, citing how they feel more able to relate to them, having watched their lives unfurl on their respective TV shows.
The position of ‘Broadcasting hero’ goes to Danny Baker, with Geoff stating he believes it near impossible to “walk into a studio with absolutely no content and produce gold”, yet that is exactly what Baker does. While he might have tried it when younger, Geoff admits the results would probably have been bad, said in a more colourful fashion. “Intimidating” was the word used to describe being nominated in the same award category as Baker, but Geoff is renowned at underselling himself, never accepting praise despite his numerous awards and nominations for broadcasting.
It would have been a wasted opportunity to not get Geoff’s opinion on what seemed to be the biggest broadcasting scandal of all time – the Russell Brand phone call. Geoff was very logical and actually raised many points I concurred with. Firstly, it was blown WAY out of proportion. Secondly, the pair apologised for their actions, so that should have been it, and everybody moved on. He was particularly praising of Lesley Douglas, who he felt was one of the best things to happen to the station and should never have resigned. The conversation started to move towards the culture of complaining, critiquing how people get unnecessarily indignant, and make invalid and petty claims of injustice because the platform exists for them to do so. Before it could get too involved though, he was back on air.
I also managed to ask him his opinions on music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, and whether he felt they threatened the traditional radio broadcast. His opinion on the matter was that it could be very damaging to stations that just pumped out music, and offered no additional entertainment value. Talk shows are unlikely to be affected, nor are shows like Ronnie Wood’s. This topic is something I plan to write an article for next month, so keep checking Voice for that!
Although brief, and during an incredibly hectic day for the show, I enjoyed being there to watch first hand how Geoff and Annabel bounce off each other, and create a show format that I’ve enjoyed listening to since 2007 withThe Geoff Show.
Geoff Lloyd’s Hometime Show can be heard Monday-Thursday from 5 till 8pm and 5 till 7pm on Fridays, only on Absolute Radio, and I urge you all to give him a listen.