Via Twitter, I've been watching (yes watching) quite a few snatches of LBC. It's a fascinating channel, with presenters ranging from Nigel Farage and Iain Dale on the Right to Maajid Nawaz and James O'Brien on the Left (though no Katie Hopkins any more of course). You know their views, and they aren't afraid to express them, but they also like engaging with listeners who disagree with them. It's open and healthy and democratic, and it feels like breath of fresh air in comparison to, say, BBC Radio 4 or Radio 5 Live.
Because of the range of views at LBC, and the undisguised nature of those views by the LBC presenters themselves, you don't find yourself repeatedly caught in the claustrophobic atmosphere of so many BBC talk shows where 'impartial' BBC presenters try to pretend that they have no views and yet can't stop them leaking out - a BBC problem made so much worse by the fact that, unlike LBC's presenters, most of the BBC's presenters seem to inhabit a narrow part of the political spectrum and to share a similar outlook on so many things.
Just imagine how much more interesting Radio 4's Woman's Hour would be, for example, if it (flexibly) alternated, presenter-wise, between days when Dame Jenni Murray, Jane Garvey and Emma Barnett were presenting and days when women with a very different point of view, say Kathy Gyngell, Laura Perrins and Jane Kelly of The Conservative Woman, were presenting. How much less stifling and agenda-driven it would feel if that kind of thing happened, and how much more interesting it would surely be.
While we're waiting for that to happen (yeah, as if!), here's a bit of recent LBC broadcasting (h/t Biased BBC):
And for more on Maajid's theme and a very clear example of the BBC's stifling uniformity of view, just try yesterday's Sunday on Radio 4.
By-and-large it consisted of lots and lots of talk of love and hope and interfaith harmony, and 'It's Nothing To Do With Islam', and the 'backlash', the 'backlash', the 'backlash', and everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, and (with one exception) the presenter (Martin Bashir) leading this congregation of like-minded people. It proved so unrelenting that I couldn't bring myself to re-listen to it in order to write about it yesterday.
And it was entirely typical, therefore, of Sunday to deal with the issue of Didsbury Mosque by talking to an outreach worker there, taking his every word on trust and sympathising with him about the 'backlash' the mosque has (allegedly) been facing - in other words, by taking the mosque's side. (Listen for yourselves).