Scottie McClue - my radio hero.

A wild eyed young McClue at work
My radio hero.

This short blog entry is to celebrate 22 glorious years of Scottie McClue. He began on Red Rose Radio in 1992. The entry itself is too short, I could go on about this guy for hours. The impact of his act on my life is enormous.

I first tuned into Scottie McClue at the age of about 14 or 15. Initially I wasn't even sure if it was a 'proper' radio station, it was so out there. I'd grown up listening to Radio 4 when it came to speech radio and Atlantic 252 for music. Initially I wondered if McClue was on CB radio or something. He denies this but I'm sure he'd pop the odd light swear word in here and there.

At the time it felt so fantastically edgy to be listening to it. What I recall above anything else was the callers, they were so extreme AND YET so real. They reminded me of the people I'd grown up with. Relatives, friends, etc. They didn't mind their p's and q's. They just said what they liked.

They were precisely the sort of people you NEVER heard on the radio back then. Nowadays it's possible to forget how powerful that was. "Reality TV" has made much from the charisma of those who are prepared to "keep it real" and so forth. If this were the only thing that was great about McClue this post would end here and I probably wouldn't have been drawn down my current career path.

What still strikes me as brilliant is the fact Scottie McClue is a "character". He's a projection of a certain specific archetype. The loud-mouthed "know it all" windbag which us men turn into as we age, whether we like it or not, is represented by McClue.

Some people HATE this part of McClue's act. To a certain extent it's his raw honesty around this which has frustrated and confused lesser programmers in the industry. I've spoken with more than one of them about it and their response is always "but if it's a character how can you know what he really thinks?".

This fails to comprehend the beauty of the device. Firstly, as a caller, that McClue is a part played by an actor should not be relevant to you when the show is asking what YOU think about something. Secondly that you cannot be sure of what McClue really thinks means when you call him he's difficult to predict. That makes for an interesting listen. Far preferable to me than getting a load of callers smugly ringing in and agreeing with the host. Finally, that you can't trust he's telling you "THE TRUTH" is a great thing in terms of the wider media because it forces you to THINK FOR YOURSELF rather than just sit there nodding along and trusting the media.

That's what I did. I remember realising that McClue could not be serious about his political world view. There were too many inconsistencies. Already, as a teenager, I was being forced to think by his "act". The reason I think that programmers get a little worried here is because the next question to follow is, if McClue isn't taking his opinions on the radio too seriously what is everyone else there thinking? In other words, are the newsreaders also putting on an "act". The answer to that question is of course, yes, yes they are. They just don't admit it.

Perhaps nowadays the notion and value of a distinct media persona is more widely understood, Jordan / Katie Price being one example. In that sense McClue was ahead of his time back then. His enormous radio audiences are to me only a symptom of the fact that when his time comes and the rest of the world has caught up with his genius, he will be a huge mainstream success with what he does.

The new world suggests to me that those with his skill are about to be needed on a bigger scale than before. The online world is opening up new opportunities to do talk radio in the over regulated UK.

I get lots of people who used to listen to my old Kerrang Show asking me how to do talk radio. If you're one of them my advice is simple, - learn from this man, he's a master.


McClue tweets here:


Scottie McClue said…
WOW! This Guy Really Gets It While A Whole Industry Is Missing The Trick and sleepwalks on.

Scottie McClue Will Comeback Big Style Soon & Will Have The Same Mind-Blowing Effect On A Sleepy, Complacent, 'That'll Do' style Industry.
The current style of programmer has been hired cheaply to spend the day putting the same songs into a computer so that a presenter can say as little as possible about them when pressing next on the big button.
'Local' programming comes from one or two metropolitan centres and one or two conglomerated radio companies which are owned by people as far removed from their audiences in as many ways as possible.

However, You get out what you put in and reap what you sow.
The one thing we can be sure of is that if Scottie McClue appeared on their station today the audience would return in their droves simply because he is one of them. He identifies with them and they with him. He talks to them not at them and laughs and cries with them, teases them and makes them laugh at themselves and at humanity.

It's actually called proper communication with real people and it's a winner in every market and is as perennial as the grass and as we all know;
'Whoever Has McClue Has The Market'

Are You Listening Everyone?


Popular Posts