I initially wrote this in the comments section of Andrew's blog entry on the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross furore, but as my comment is the 106th of more than 150, you might not have seen it. Oh, to have a readership of that volume...
So, lovingly reproduced here, my view:
If it had happened on commercial radio, the perpetrators would have been sacked on the spot.
And if the BBC do get rid of them, maybe they could replace them with career broadcasters rather than celebrity chancers who see radio as an easy, part-time payday.
You can add BBC local radio to the comment about the commercial industry, by the way.
Since I wrote this, Brand has quit. I've only ever liked him once, and I have to say I couldn't bear him on the radio. Don't believe the figures quoted; he had fewer than a million listeners at 9pm on Saturday nights, with his audience naturally preferring to get legless when he's on air (as does Brand himself, as he pre-recorded every programme he did) and download the podcast later. The podcast figures are the ones that bump up his profile, but podcasts are no good when RAJAR comes round.
My main gripe is that the BBC won't learn from this. In both Brand (comedian) and Ross (television host), they hired celebs for whom radio isn't and never has been their bread and butter, but a lucrative part-time job which pays for the holiday each year. If they don't see it as their main source of income, they won't treat it with the same respect. I've seen with my own eyes certain famous individuals who think radio is just about talking, and then they suddenly dry up when the red light goes on and develop an expression of sheer, inconcealable fright. This is why I also hate it when the credential-free likes of Aled Jones (singer) and Davina McCall (shouting hair product pusher) get Radio 2 daytime cover - on the grounds that what they lose in listeners they'll gain in headlines - instead of any number of professional, career presenters within the network (and not just Alex Lester, but the likes of Richard Allinson, Mo Dutta, Janice Long, Pete Mitchell).
Brand has resigned, but it's unlikely that an ambitious, talented broadcaster who has carved a fine industry-wide reputation will get a nice Saturday night gig to create their own national status as his replacement. They'll find someone else off the "trendy" list, for whom radio is something to toss about with, and wait for the figures to slump or the ego to take over, both of which seems to have happened in Brand's case.