One thing I like more than any other in radio is presenters who genuinely connect with their audiences. This can happen in music intensive formats with ease. Lots of people mistake long presenter links for personality and engagement – it isn’t. For me what works is simple. Personality.
Personality means that the listener has to be joined by a ‘real’ person. My favourite people are those who remain themselves and encourage their listeners to join them on the journey. In a small way I did that over the years, finding that it made listeners stay engaged longer which helped the bottom line. This extends to social media, where the ‘real’ (with a small ‘r’) presenters welcome listeners into their world. Radio’s about people.
One of the finest at doing this is tucked away in the wee small hours on BBC Radio 2, a place he’s toiled for years.
It defeats me that Alex Lester gets so little airtime in the daytime. The ‘Best Time of the Day Show’ has run in the small hours and has a club like atmosphere. Of course Alex does a wonderful job on the technical stuff – he’s a radio DJ! But he nails down the basics while doing something way more subversive. For example, having people write messages on the filthy backs of trucks, like WALLOP (We’re Alex Lester’s Lovely Overnight People).
The swirl of catch phrases, interactivity and an attitude that screams “We all know this is a crazy time to be doing anything” makes him one of the most impressive broadcasters on his network.
He’s also really good at supporting new people as they get into our ridiculous trade. I’ve lost count of the new starts who’ve become email friends with Lester over the years.
He’s a name that lots of people have heard – and few have actually listened to. He’s beyond excellent on the radio and really gets what makes it work.
For that reason he’s this insomniac’s December Radio Hero.