MEDIA: STEVE PENK - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. Capital's post-watershed show suits Penk more than his Virgin breakfast slot, Mark Helm says

I was one of the 300,000 people who tuned out of Virgin when Steve Penk replaced Chris Evans in July last year. However, I decided to be as objective as possible and listened to his new show.

Penk first moved to Capital nearly six years ago from the breakfast show on Piccadilly radio in Manchester where he was regularly delivering three times more audience than his nearest rival. He was eventually lured to Virgin where he was offered a drivetime show. Fate took a turn and Chris Evans' departure created an opportunity for him at breakfast.

So what went wrong? In reality, I expect that Penk's humour was just not right for the Virgin breakfast environment - he is quite aggressive with his listeners and has an edgy sense of humour that is very different from your typical morning DJ. More Shock Jock than Rock Jock.

Last Monday, Penky made his triumphant return to Capital, appearing on London, Portsmouth and Birmingham FMs between 10pm and 1am. The post-watershed slot allows Penky to be released and do what he really wants.

So, what was it like?

It started well with sounds of Penky waking up from a horrible dream - just like Victoria Principle (Pamela Ewing) he'd dreamed away the whole of the last year and had never really left Capital!

He then introduced the show's unique selling point of providing tomorrow's news today by pulling out interesting stories from newspapers around the world. There would also be celebrities popping in and live sets with top musicians - not forgetting all the hot showbusiness gossip. Fantastic, I thought.

Well, reality soon struck. Within ten minutes he told us a story about how he almost never made it in due to an infection in his testicle. The story took some time to tell but if I mention the phrase "size of a Granny Smith apple", I'll let you use your imagination for the rest.

To follow this two callers were brought to air (Terry and Mick), both who had amusing testicle stories of their own. This was supplemented by a whole load of "news stories including a man being molested by a red-haired snow woman in China and music that was standard 15- to 34-year-old fare.

Penk will certainly get some cult listening (did I say cult?). His listeners (mostly aged 15 to 24) seemed highly amused but not so much as he was with himself! There are potentially some real gems, such as his phone wind-up (at 11.50pm) with a Mrs Blythe of Bexleyheath. I actually laughed at this poor lady with Tourettes syndrome ("you're a monkey's arse").

However, the show suffers from a distinct lack of celebrity gossip, rock stars and news. It does stand out from the norm, however, and its style of British humour (more Bottom than Carry On ...) has a certain saliency.

I wish him well!

Broadcaster: Capital Radio
Frequency: Sunday to Thursday evening, 10pm-1am
Audience: Rajar figures not available
Advertisers include: Vauxhall, Dr Pepper, Pizza Hut, Go

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