Ray Darcy is now on RTE, a radio show that I have yet to hear. It seems unfair to even contemplate criticising it. But my criticisms really have nothing to do with the style of show or any individual broadcast. It is more to do with the remit of the show, and how that is not being fulfilled.
One of the more remarkable things about Gay Byrne’s radio programmes were their openness to deal with social issue. They rarely presented solutions, and in many cases there weren’t any. But they gave a voice to those who otherwise would be happily silenced, and this is what made it great.
However, have a look at what the Ray Darcy show puts together. There is remarkably little contextual pieces, and by that I mean this show could be produced anywhere in Ireland, on any radio station. There is no unique stamp attached to it. It also covers none of the major concerns that might be held to exist; the economy, immigration, mental health, limiting resources, the marriage referendum. Imagine the kind of show that Gay Byrne would create today. He might ask those suffering poverty levels to speak about the experience, and how they are affected. He might speak to parents of gay children, or gay parents, and ask them their views about life and the referendum. The women who go abroad for abortions might be asked for their views. And those in Direct Provision, or even just those born abroad that now live here, would it not be good to hear from them?
But the show that is happening now is not giving air to these types of things. It seems to be a magazine show, one that isn’t really focused on anything. Think, for example, about asking a Dublin bus driver about life. Or a binperson, or a pilot, or any of these professions. They’ve seen huge changes over the last ten years, mostly moving to contract work and the removal of a sense of connection to the communities they serve. Do you honestly think that the Dennis O’Brien fuelled media circle is going to reach out to such employees? I don’t. Have a look at the Callan’s Kicks Parody here, illustrates nicely what I’m saying.
Anyway, feel free to click on the podcasts in the links above,. I’ve no doubt that they would be entertaining. But they won’t do more than pass the time, and there is little enough of that already.