HE HAS thrice been sacked by radio stations. This time last year he was in the wars with talkSPORT: he now calls them ‘Squawksport’ and is now suing them.
But you cannot keep a good Jon Gaunt down, as he showed a Coventry Conversations audience at Coventry University last Friday night, when he returned to his hometown. writes John Mair
In just over an hour, he proclaims that the BBC ‘should be banned from the internet’, local commercial radio was ‘set up by furniture shop owners and car salesmen’, and that DAB is ‘a dead technology’.
SunTalk radio, the internet radio arm of the Sun newspaper on which Gaunt broadcasts every day for three hours is the future, he says.
Suntalk is deliberately broadcast on the internet and not on any broadcasting platform to avoid Ofcom regulation, he says: “We don’t need regulation, we have libel and slander laws in this country and the people are smart enough to see.” SunTalk is regulated by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and that is enough for him, he says.
Normally eloquent, Gaunt proves rather coy on the ‘commercially confidential’ audience figures for the internet radio service launched in April, and says that ‘audiences do not matter in the short term’. He adds, however, that at the Sun (where he is also a weekly columnist in the newspaper) he has access to some of the greatest journalists and columnists for his programme.
Gaunt is an internet radio convert, seeing it as the future and a democratising one at that; now the way in for the many students who might want to be in radio and become the next Jon Gaunt.
DAB is a ‘dead technology’ abandoned by commercial radio and the BBC (who trained him and employed him at four local radio stations) a behemoth ready for the slaying, he says.
For ‘Squawksport’ read ‘RadioFiveDead’ in Gaunt parlance. The BBC itself, which he claims to love, should be banned from the internet as ‘it is putting people out of business’.
Gaunt is full of advice for the journalists manqué present, inviting them to read all the papers every day, and t reveals a surprising penchant for the liberal leaning Guardian, ‘which I have read since I was 15. I still read it first. Now I’ve changed my politics, I want to find out what the liberals are thinking!’
Gaunt is nothing if not full of opinion. That, he says, is the basis of his success (he won three Sony Gold Medals in one memorable year) and of great talk radio.
He detects a climate post-Sachsgate developing, in the BBC and elsewhere, he says: a fear of stepping over the line and too much self-censorship as a result.
So, asks ‘Gaunty:’ ‘where are the new Richard Little johns and Jon Gaunts going to come from?’
By John Mair
John Mair interviewed Jon Gaunt for the ‘Coventry Conversations’ series at Coventry University. A podcast will be available very soon on the University website and on the Coventry University iTunesU site. He is a senior lecturer at the University.
Courtesy of Journalism.co.uk