A clear winner among radio lightweights
RADIO REVIEW:AMID THE excitement of the past week’s boxing, it was easy to miss the action in another arena, which saw two plucky contenders take a shot at the title. Ryan Tubridy (Tubridy, 2fm, weekdays) and Tom Dunne (Newstalk, weekdays) may not be gnarled old pugilists slugging it out for one last chance at the big time, but to borrow the terminology of the ring, they are definite underdogs in their division, perennial runners-up in the ratings. But with the top dogs of mid-morning radio out of contention last week – Pat Kenny and Ray D’Arcy were both on holiday – the other two had the rare opportunity to show their mettle without being bullied by the big boys.
It was, at times, a lightweight contest. Tubridy opened Tuesday’s show by asking whether his listeners had seen Ted, the new movie about a cuddly toy who comes to foul-mouthed life. It is a testament to his ability to gab inanely that Tubridy was able to spin out this gossamer-thin material. He chatted at length with one caller, Carmel, about the merits of the apparently crudely comic film, before musing on her relationship with her boyfriend and asking her advice on buying a new camera. (She was a photographer.) Who needs the Olympics when you’ve got this kind of excitement?
He also talked to Jason, a man who sounded as if he would like nothing better than for a soft toy to spring into life, having spent the last 12 years travelling the world with his Winnie-the-Pooh bear. He also took the bear to bed every night, something his wife had somehow learned to live with. By the time Jason told how he dressed Pooh in a tux on his wedding day, Tubridy spoke for us all: “This is getting weirder and weirder.” Maybe so, but it was as good as it got.
Child psychologist David Coleman discussed going back to school in his regular slot but, by its nature, this lacked fireworks. There was the de rigueur Katie Taylor piece, in the form of an interview with the mayor of Bray, the boxer’s hometown. Another novelty item, about a hermaphrodite pony, failed to make the basic grade of quirky, as the host engaged in an amiable but rambling chat with Gillian Bird of the DSPCA.
Even allowing for the August news drought, this was wispy fare.
Tubridy’s snappy, pally manner may not be to everyone’s taste; here, his style was not the problem, but rather the substance, or lack thereof. The presenter needs to bulk up his show if he is to be a contender.
There was no shortage of meaty subjects on Dunne’s show on Wednesday. The Newstalk presenter addressed the decline of religion, heard stories about traumatic adoptions, and discussed vivisection and veganism with an animal-rights activist. But, thanks to Dunne’s approach, at no point did proceedings sink into suffocating earnestness.