Oh Chris, no, no, no

BEFORE Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, there was another BBC broadcaster who got into trouble for saying something grossly offensive on the radio. His name was Chris Price.

Price covered Rochdale’s League Two matches for Radio Manchester until August, when he made a joke about an air disaster in Madrid which killed 153 people. Not surprisingly, he hasn’t worked for the station – or the BBC – since.

At the time, I made a (rather half-hearted) attempt to offer him some sympathy – not for his sacking, which was deserved, but for the global humiliation he faced for a comment made on a radio station with a signal which starts to fizzle out when you drive past Sandbach services.

A few of you thought I was too soft on him. After his latest comments on the Brand/Ross fiasco, I’m now inclined to agree with you.

This is Price, quoted in the Manchester Evening News, criticising the BBC over their treatment of him compared to Brand (who has since resigned) and Ross (who has been suspended for 12 weeks since the M.E.N.’s article was published).

“Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross are big, high-profile names and money-makers, so the BBC looks to have decided to keep them around,” Price said.

“They sacked me for something that was arguably less bad. It’s politics and it’s two-faced.”

Was what Price said “less bad” than what Brand and Ross said? I think that’s splitting hairs.

What is depressing is that Price gives the impression of someone who hasn’t really accepted that what he said was utterly inappropriate.

“I can’t condone what I said, but it only takes a second to have a brain freeze,” Price said later in the article. “My comment wasn’t a premeditated act – it was a live broadcast.”

Anyone can indeed have a brain freeze. Indeed, only this morning, I popped out to the shop and completely forgot to buy shaving foam.

But people who have the sort of brain freeze that Price suffered tend not to be suitable for jobs in live broadcasting. And that is why Price no longer works in live broadcasting.

Don’t get me wrong – live radio is a difficult medium to master. A few days ago, a one presenter had me in a fit of rage, for the relatively minor offence of becoming the 2,674,813th DJ in commercial radio history to play ‘Baby I Don’t Care’ by Transvision Vamp and follow it up by saying: “Ooh, Wendy James, eh?”

Doing live radio well is tough. Even doing it passably is a major skill.

Price’s point – or at least part of his point – was that Brand’s show wasn’t live, and that therefore there was time to edit out the offending part of the broadcast.

This is true. But if the pressures of live radio are too much for Price to bear without making jokes about plane crashes, then he’s probably better off out of it.

Anyway, while all this has been going on, does anyone know how the economy’s been doing?


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