Media: Double Standards - 'I could have been a Para but I chose to be a DJ'

Breakfast DJs go head to head to discuss dream guests, why Terry Wogan is a god, and stick-fighting the team in only their pants.

CHRISTIAN O'CONNELL - The Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show, Virgin Radio

- Do you keep a close eye on your listening figures and would you like to see the Rajar system of measurement abolished?

That's for the bosses, as my focus is always tomorrow's show. That said, it's tough when you launch a breakfast show, as people will always flick around - you're new, they are making their mind up about you. Most breakfast shows go down to begin with when they launch. I hope to buck that trend.

- How closely do you collaborate with the commercial team at your radio station?

Very. I like to do good promotions and make them as entertaining as possible for the people listening who wouldn't enter a radio competition. The sales team at Virgin Radio are superb and the best I've worked with. That said, they would sell their own grandmothers and, indeed, many already have.

- What's the main point of difference between your show and those of your rivals?

It's very easy for breakfast shows to be negative. We take the piss but I wouldn't want our show to be nasty or overly cynical. We got a great e-mail today from someone who tuned in for the first time this week from Chris Moyles. They are now listening to us all the time and were late for work twice this week due to the show.

- Which part of the show do you look forward to presenting the most, and why?

I always love chatting to the callers. The banter with them and Chris, my sidekick, is live. You don't know what's going to happen.

- Which other radio presenters and shows do you admire and how have they influenced your style?

Terry Wogan is a radio god to me and millions of his fans. He's such a great communicator and so at ease with his show, so inventive and at times slyly subversive. Pure class. Mr Ross is just awesome - has he sold his soul to the devil to be that funny and smart? There is no-one quicker from mind to mouth than him. Damn him.

- Which band or song do you despise playing and why?

Scorpions' Wind of Change. Could never play it, reminds me of my German pen-pal. Enough said.

- Who is your dream guest?

Anyone who is a good talker and up for it. Some guests are very boring and cannot be arsed to be there, which is fair enough. Some ease into it and love it when they realise you're not out to stitch them up.

- How did you come to work as a radio DJ?

I was doing radio sales and I always wanted to be on the radio so my now wife suggested I try. One night, I got a little tipsy, approached the boss and told him I was a very funny man. He told me to go and audition in Bournemouth, as there was an opening there. I did and got offered it. I had never been so happy in my life.

- What do you normally do after the show has finished?

I encourage the team to attack me with sticks and I fight them in only my pants. It keeps me fresh.

- Do DJs need a good nickname?

I thought that was going to say: "Do DJs need a good kicking?" No, they don't.

NEIL FOX - More Music Breakfast Show, Magic 105.4

- Do you keep a close eye on your listening figures and would you like to see the Rajar system of measurement abolished?

You mustn't get obsessed with one specific set of figures, but if you use the last few books and look for underlying trends, then I think you get a pretty good idea of how the market is looking. TV can find out viewing figures by the next morning; it would be great if we could bring radio into line with this, as the current "just published" figures are really a few months old already.

- How closely do you collaborate with the commercial team at your radio station?

We really understand that we are all working for the same station (obvious as that may sound, it definitely was not always the case in my previous stations!) and if we all work together, we can create great commercial radio for our audience while keeping our clients happy at the same time.

- What's the main point of difference between your show and those of your rivals?

Magic's More Music Breakfast does what it says on the can ... we love music, play lots of it and respect it by not talking all over it. There is all the information our audience needs (traffic, weather, news) without the clutter. I like to think of Magic's More Music Breakfast as the Prada suit of breakfast shows ... clean, understated and classy.

- Which part of the show do you look forward to presenting the most, and why?

The nature of More Music Breakfast means we are not a show that is full of features ... so I have to say I get excited about just being on air, knowing I am helping people in this great city slowly ease their way into another working day.

- Which other radio presenters and shows do you admire and how have they influenced your style?

I was very influenced by top American jocks such as Rick Dees and the Z-100 morning zoo crew but, over here, I loved Steve Wright in the afternoon on Radio 1, Kenny Everett on Capital and Roger Scott, who was a legend on drivetime at Capital when I was about 16. I've learned a lot from Chris Tarrant, but I have tried to find my own style.

- Which band or song do you despise playing and why?

We just don't play bad songs. Simple as that. And that means I never have to play songs I hate ... heaven!

- Who is your dream guest?

A dream guest is someone who has something to say, nothing to plug, and doesn't worry about saying the right thing. Tends to happen when people get a little older and wiser ... Elton John and George Michael spring to mind. Both have been thoroughly fascinating, shockingly honest and bloody funny in interviews that I've done with them.

- How did you come to work as a radio DJ?

I nearly ended up as a Para engineer officer in the Army. Did the selection board and got the scholarship to university. Decided after uni, though, that this is what I wanted to do and sent a tape to a small station in Worcester called Wyvern and they took me on as a trainee.

- What do you normally do after the show has finished?

Normally spend an hour going over things with Richard Park and my producer Greg Clifford, prepare for tomorrow's show and meet clients to discuss promotions. I do a lot of voiceovers, so try to do voiceovers pre-lunch. I normally meet my partners on film and TV projects in the afternoons. And if I can end in time to go and pick my little girl Scarlet up from school, then my day is perfect!

- Do DJs need a good nickname?

DJs don't need to have a nickname ... they just have to be good on the radio. If they are good, people will listen and know their name. Easy.