Chris Moyles has come under a bit of a sustained attack recently, with the Guardian suggesting he's too old, and Gordon Smart filling a page announcing his departure. Today, Ben Cooper, deputy controller of Radio One, gave him the sort of backing that would have a Championship Manager packing up his office:
Cooper was asked at a radio conference today whether Moyles would still be presenting Radio 1's breakfast show in 12 months' time, after a front page story in the Sun nine days ago claimed that he would be dropped by the station later this year.
"Make sure that you keep listening and you will find out by listening every day," was Cooper's non-committal reply.
Pressed further, Cooper said: "We have got contracts to negotiate … I think he is a very good broadcaster and I want him to stay on breakfast so long as he keeps connecting with the young audience we want him to."
Yes, you wouldn't want to say too much if there's a contract up for negotiation, but 'tune in every day to see if he's still there' is a somewhat weak endorsement of the man's position. You could look in the Radio Times, I guess, but given the last-minute yanking of the Andy Kershaw interview, even that wouldn't guarantee his job.
Still, on the bright side for Moyles, at least there wasn't a hint that he might be yanked off mid-show.
Cooper was talking at Radio Reborn, which had earlier seen Paul Gambaccini relaunch his now slightly obsessive attacks on Moyles:
Speaking earlier at the conference, Gambaccini said Moyles "encouraged bullying" and caused "human suffering" after a show in which he changed the lyrics to two Will Young songs and sang them in an effeminate, high-pitched voice.
Cooper counters that if he thought Chris Moyles was a homophobic bully, he wouldn't put him on the radio. You wonder how loudly Cooper would listen to the small voice of doubt as he draws up the schedule.
The Great Gambo's attack might have had a bit more weight to it if he didn't seem to be moaning about Moyles every time he goes out in public.
And it's not as if Gambaccini isn't above a little lazy stereotyping himself:
If Gambaccini had a modicum of sympathy for Moyles, then it was because the Radio 1 breakfast show had been extended from two hours, as it once was, to three-and-a-half hours today.
"Traditionally it was two hours," said Gambaccini. "That's what killed [former breakfast host] Sara Cox because three hours was too much to demand of a woman who had never been on radio.
"Now Chris is told to fill three-and-a-half hours at a time when there aren't any new good records. The factors really are working against an artist who engages in what I call blog radio. Just open the mic and hope something interesting comes out."
I'm sure Gambaccini didn't really mean to make it sound like he was suggesting that it was unnatural to expect a woman particularly to make a long radio programme - but sometimes when you write these things down, they can look quite bad, can't they?
And the suggestion that there just aren't enough "good records" to fill a programme really is the elder statesman showing his age. You seriously believe that Moyles talks a lot because there simply aren't enough songs to fill until the next weather forecast? You seriously believe that, even if Moyles did decide to shut up, there isn't enough worth playing to fill the gap?