THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 best radio shows

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 19 December 2003 10:45AM

1. Christian O'Connell, Xfm. 'Mould-breaking', 'standard-setting', 'pure genius': these are just some of the quotes made up by Christian O'Connell about his own breakfast show on Xfm. O'Connell, together with his newsreader-turned-sidekick Chris Smith, regularly break broadcasting boundaries, making this the second year running at number one in this list. In 2003 it won the best breakfast show award at the Sony Radio Awards and was nominated for the entertainment award. And it keeps pulling in more listeners.

2. Jono Coleman, Heart 106.2

Jono has found a niche at Heart 106.2, helping it to become the most listened to radio station in London. His "get up with a giggle" breakfast show, co-presented with Harriet Scott, has been instrumental in seeing Heart overtake Capital by the end of 2003 with the highest market share of any commercial radio station in London.

3. Chiller Cabinet, Classic FM

What's this doing here? A new show in the graveyard slot between two and four in the morning making it into the top ten. Featuring the latest in cutting-edge chill-out music, inspired by classical compositions, the Chiller Cabinet has achieved the near-impossible -- bringing classical music to new young listeners, with audiences up by 32% across both programmes.

4. Nick Ferrari, LBC

The controversial Mr Ferrari isn't in here so much because of his morning listener phone-in show alone (although he did win the ntl commercial radio presenter of the year award this year), but because of its high-profile contribution to a revival at LBC. The station is celebrating its 30th birthday this year; and under its new owner, Chrysalis, and with presenters such as Angela Rippon, Henry Kelly and Dr Pam, it is on the up.

5. Pete & Geoff, Virgin Radio

OK, so it's another breakfast show, but these two deserve it. Having built a loyal following and having won gold at the Sony's in 2002, Pete & Geoff were promoted to the breakfast show at the start of 2003. Their combination of witty banter with genuine warmth and a sense of whimsy pulled in another 120,000 listeners, according to the most recent round of Rajar figures. The Virgin breakfast show has finally emerged from the shadow of Chris Evans.

6. Bam Bam, Kiss 100

Bam Bam Breakfast is the number one show in London for 15- to 24-year-olds, with around 750,000 listeners tuning in every morning. Nominated for best breakfast show at the Sony's every year since it started in 1999, this is its third time in this list. This year Bam Bam was reportedly offered a £1.5m deal by Capital, but chose to stay at Kiss, where the show's success has helped the station to climb new heights.

7. Ricky Gervais, Xfm

Xfm is clearly good at picking a winner. As Gervais' TV fame has spread, so his Saturday afternoon radio show keeps making 'em laugh. With his writing partner, Stephen Merchant, and producer/straight man Karl Pilkington, the show is based on compelling drivel about the most mundane topics. Many think it's the funniest thing on radio and wish it was on earlier.

8. JK & Joel, Key 103 & The Hits

Yes, it's yet another breakfast show. But, hang on a minute, it's actually two breakfast shows for the price of one. JK & Joel simultaneously broadcast on Manchester's most listened to station, Key 103, and on the digital station The Hits. The show, which glorifies in its Lancastrian roots, has stayed on commercial radio, despite rumours about offers from the BBC.

9. Jonathan Ross, BBC Radio 2

There's just no keeping a good man down. It's impossible to list the best shows without mentioning Ross' Saturday morning slot. Especially this year when the show and Ross won gold at the Sony's. The show features radio's best-ever guest list and an eclectic mix of music, all brought together by the sharp tongue and infectious humour of the snappiest dresser in radio.

10. Party in the Park, Capital FM network

Capital's summer hit has now been rolled out into the regions, after six years of drawing listeners and crowds. Now one of the biggest one-day music events in Europe, Capital's website traffic doubles the day that the first artist is announced on air. The show not only wins awards and pulls in top artists, but also makes a lot of money for the Prince's Trust.

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This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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