Media: Double Standards - 'One of my "fans" thought I was Jerry Seinfeld'

The presenters of Xfm's and Heart 106.2's breakfast shows go head to head on funniest fan requests, their favourite rivals and the best radio ads around.

CHRISTIAN O'CONNELL BREAKFAST SHOW PRESENTER, XFM

What's the best bit about your job?

The chance I get (yeah, it's small) to try to make the world a better place. Just for a moment. Even gingers are welcome. To try to create a show where membership's a smiling face, brush shoulders with the stars, where strangers take you by the hand and welcome you to wonderland from beneath their Panamas. Club Tropicana drinks are free and so is my breakfast show.

What was the funniest approach you've ever had from a fan?

I was having dinner with a friend, and a woman at another table offered to pay for my meal if I let her sit in on the show. I didn't let her pay and she did come in on the show. And fell asleep. Another time, someone was saying what a huge fan of mine they were and could they have my autograph. When I spoke they were so disappointed. They thought I was Seinfeld.

Which of your rival stations do you like the most (and the least)? And why?

I think Geoff Lloyd on The Virgin Breakfast Show is good. Danny Baker and Terry Wogan are the classy ones. There is also a trend of hiring TV presenters and sticking them on breakfast shows. The shows are a result of producers and joke writers. They are formulaic and underwhelming, offering little more than radio by numbers.

How much do you have to understand about the commercial side?

I used to work in radio sales and I was as clueless then as I am now. Fewer people tuning in is good, yeah?

What distinguishes you from all your rivals in the mornings?

Small scar on upper lip. This is the result of a monkey knife fight I was involved in a few years ago in a Turkish bazaar. I still have flashbacks.

What's your favourite slot in your breakfast show?

I love "I'm a movie, I'm a movie, what movie am I?". This we do every week and the listeners call in and have to describe a movie in a sentence. My sidekick, Chris Smith, and I then have ten seconds to race each other to guess it. We are doing "Bounty Hunter" at the moment, which is fun too. £10,000 for the best celebrity you get talking to us on the show. Last year, the listeners managed to get Kiefer Sutherland to call live from Los Angeles, and the Krankies. A-listers through to Z -listers. Maybe someone will spot a celebrity leaving a sex club, eh Jamie?

Why did you decide to work in radio? And if you didn't, what would be your dream job?

It seemed better than doing a real job. This is my dream job. Sad but true.

Which other radio DJs have influenced/inspired you?

I have been inspired by Steve Wright, Chris Evans, Danny Baker, Chris Morris, Howard Stern and Jonathan Ross.

Do you have a favourite radio ad?

Impossible to single out just one as they are all so good. I guess the ones voiced by me cut through very well. I offer the client a warm presence that leaves the listener feeling spoken to rather than sold to. Look, I've got debts and need the cash, okay?

JAMIE THEAKSTON BREAKFAST SHOW PRESENTER, HEART 106.2

What's the best bit about your job?

The thought that, every morning, I am doing something that I would probably do for free! The idea of getting people up, keeping them informed, on time and entertained is really quite compelling. Also, working with a team of people who, from 5am every day, are creative, funny and feisty makes this job special.

What was the funniest approach you've ever had from a fan?

I was sent an e-mail asking me if I would say the word "cock" live on Richard and Judy.

Which of your rival stations do you like the most (and the least)? And why?

I am a big fan of Johnny Vaughan on Capital - he's a good guy and a talented entertainer. What I dislike is the fact that there are still some London listeners who don't yet know what they are missing at breakfast on Heart 106.2!

How much do you have to understand about the commercial side?

We recently hosted a big cocktail party for our client and agency comrades and that was a great opportunity for me to meet the people who make the commercial side of this business go round. Talking to them gave me an even greater understanding of how the audience, ratings and revenues all fold into the commercial radio mix.

What distinguishes you from all your rivals in the mornings?

The new Heart breakfast show is different from our rivals - we aim to be less laddish, more inclusive and entertaining and play the best music at breakfast. We take ourselves less seriously than our rivals and it's more about just having a laugh. You'll just have to tune in to find out for yourself ...

What's your favourite slot in your breakfast show?

My favourite component of the show has to be Harriet. That lady makes me laugh!

Why did you decide to work in radio? And if you didn't, what would be your dream job?

As a child, I was always listening to the radio, so when offered the chance to work at Radio 1, I jumped at the chance. When Heart offered me this huge opportunity with the breakfast show, how on earth could I say no?

Which other radio DJs have influenced/inspired you?

Any presenter who puts their listeners rather than themselves at the forefront of their show is a master in my book. The likes of Terry Wogan, Jonathan Ross, Chris Tarrant and Zoe Ball have inspired me over the years.

Do you have a favourite radio ad?

I didn't realise how funny radio ads now are, until I started work at Heart 106.2. My two favourites at the moment are the current Laguna ad and a Welsh bloke talking about broadband.