Listened In is 2ZY’s air-check blog. Every week, we listen to a random 20 minute sample of a station or programme in the news.

Steve and Karen and a Billboard

The latest battle of breakfasts has erupted in the North East. After months off-air (their gardens must be looking AMAZING) Steve Furnell and Karen Wight have arrived at Metro after being poached from Capital.

Our twenty-minute aircheck found a rich seam of listener interaction, plenty of laughs and some built comedy inspired by a Metro voice of the 80s.

WHO Steve and Karen

WHAT Metro Radio

WHEN 3 July 2012

0745 PROMO: Katy Perry competition

ID: Metro Radio. You can now get in touch through our iPhone app.

AD: Used Mercedes

0746  TRAFFIC: Metro Radio’s ‘continuous traffic watch with the Tyne Tunnel’. Steve introduces Captain Marky Mark who sounds confident and credible. And not in the studio. ‘Lorries leaving the town moor due to the hoppings ..’ his script drips localness. Then we hear where he is – on an airstrip somewhere, probably, but grounded. “The good news is we wIll be airbourne shortly … Starburst is ready to go.”

0747 Shine A Light/McFly

0751 Back Anno. Bed. Good reset, conversational weather, then into some interaction.

Karen: We’re talking life mottos, today. Glass half full or half empty, kind of thing. Buddha gets a mention.

Let’s get Denise on, says Steve: “What’s yours is mine and what’s mines me own.” You feel for her husband, they say.

“Let’s get Sandra on. How’s Consett looking this morning?” “I’ve got me washing out,” says Sandra, adding “You cant have a better tomorrow if you’re thinking about yesterday all the time.” And she has another one. “A great man is hard on himself. A small man is hard on others.” “I’m a small man!”, says Steve before going straight to Andy, who tells us to “Learn from yesterday, enjoy today, live for tomorrow.”

Glynis is up next. “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” It’s what her Dad taught her which leads into a nice chat about how you pick stuff up from parents. Glynis’s kids are already learning from her.

One last one from Sarah: “Take it easy, and if you get it easy, take it twice.”

Text solicit. What’s the phrase that you live by?

0753  Party Til We Drop/DJ X-Change

0755  Back Anno. “We should squeeze in the Rahman remix. We’ve remixed the early 80s Metro Radio Mr Rahman ad …”

There follows a great bit of built comedy. Mr Rahman was the star of a client voiced ad on Metro through the 80s. He famously had a factory ‘on the Western Road, near the motorbike shops’ which promised to replace zips in any garment for a pound. Steve and Karen have remixed his catchphrases, including his plaintive sign-off, ‘please come and see me.’

Beautifully made and very funny audio. And a good line from Karen off the back. “Mr Rahman’s not around any more. Which is a shame ‘cos I got a zip replaced recently and it cost me more than the bloody skirt!  Primani special.”

0759  ID: S&K with Gateshead College

ADS: PG Tips, Barrett Homes, Morrissons – selected packs of Haggis? No it’s Huggies, but the Chris Tarrant VO could be either, Confused, Sun holidays. DFDS Seaways, Empire Cinema, Metro Arena.

0801  NEWS: TOTH sounder; Steve intros ‘Simon with the news and it’s all about exam boards and what they may have been getting up to’. Yeah, says Simon, who two-ways in. Exam boards story.

Big news if you’re a Barclays customer. Chief Exec is gone. Chairman back. “Sounds like something out of Big Brother, if you ask me.”

Fruit shoot drink recall.

Sports tease – Newcastle Utd have sold a striker. Doesn’t tell us who. Guess we have to stick around until 0830.

Solicits for ‘Good News Day’ on Friday. Tell Metro your good news story and they will come and talk to you.

Spiderman movie is out – clips with Empire magazine guy.

Weather sounder ‘with Metro Centre – Enjoy summer more with a Citreon DS3.’

Pump Patrol. This is clever. Daily updates on who’s selling the cheapest petrol in the patch. Listeners asked to contribute via #metropp on Twitter if they know different. It’s the Shell garage on the Great North Road today apparently.

0804 TRAVEL: Steve cues in Captain Marky Mark who’s airborne.

“Over Great North Road looking down on the lunar landscape that used to be Town Moor ..”

SUMMARY

In twenty minutes, we heard traffic and weather, good listener interaction -which didn’t outstay its limited appeal, a well-produced music skit and a laugh out loud moment from Karen.

Mr Rahman was a highlight. I lived in Newcastle in the 80s and hearing him again brought up to date was a clever move, linking Metro into this idea of its own heritage, in a turbulent market – but not requiring any previous knowledge. An extra layer for the 40-something whilst remaining accessible for the core audience. And it was funny.

There was good visual writing, and lots of localness in the traffic junctions and a sense of urgency about their delivery.

The news at eight was well targeted to the audience – Fruit Shoot recalls and all – but wouldn’t one strong local story at eight really help nail this station’s North East credentials? The writing goes to extraordinary lengths to make the listener care – ‘Big news if you’re a Barclays customer’ – Really? But the two-way introduction from Steve, the solicit for good news day, and the Pump Patrol are all clever techniques.

Warm and funny, tight and effortless, you can hear why this is a breakfast show in demand.

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