Media Scene

Ginger's Bread

Peter Fiddick

Here's a funny thing. A guest DJ buys control of one of a country's only three nationally broadcast commercial radio stations – and no one seems to know whether it will make any difference to anything. Or even whether it was a good deal.

That, on the surface, sums up the reaction - or lack of - to Chris 'Ginger' Evans' coup in buying Richard Branson out of Virgin Radio, snatching it from the grasp of the leading player in the UK commercial radio market, the Capital Radio group.

One moment, Capital were simply awaiting a clearance from the monopolies watchdogs for adding a national network to their clutch of local stations; the next the buccaneering Branson had sold instead to Evans, in cahoots with an 'aggressive' London venture capital outfit and (providing most of the cash in the 85 million deal) a French bank.

It is, of course, all good fun. My, how we'd giggled when Evans appealed to Virgin's listeners for 50 million, to keep the station out of Capital's grasp. He was only there because he had flounced out of the most influential job in British radio: hosting the schedule-building breakfast slot on the BBC's pop network, Radio One, the most popular station in the nation. Wildman Chris, guesting on Virgin as a bit of opportunistic Branson snook-cocking at the Beeb, was having a giggle again!