A while back, when I still lived in the mysterious east, I found myself writing about one of the presenters on the BBC local radio station I favoured. BBC Radio Norfolk is a superb station, one with a rock-solid sense of identity and some excellent presenters. However, there was one I just couldn’t bear, a chap called Nick Conrad. I felt his style jarred. When I realised that he’d come from LBC, it all fell into place. What works on LBC doesn’t necessarily work in East Anglia. For the most part, I felt it best to offer my criticism by tuning out for the duration of his show, but just occasionally, I heard bits and pieces that reinforced my judgment. One day, I heard something so unintentionally hilarious, I felt I had to place it on record somehow. It being one of those fallow periods when I was without a regular radio column, I wrote about it here.
There was a follow-up. As an occasional contributor to BBC Radio Norfolk’s output, I knew people who worked with Conrad. One contacted me to tell me how unhappy Conrad had been at the piece, and I based this post on what I had been told.
So, you can well imagine that I was surprised to receive a message from Conrad today, two years on, via Facebook. I reproduce the entire correspondence here without comment. Make of it what you will.
Conversation started today
Hi Louis, Is there any chance you could send me your mob number as I would very much like to discuss a possible radio feature with you? Regards, Nick Conrad
Hello Nick. I’m not really interested, whatever it is. Thanks.
Here is a summary of what I was going to suggest, rather than call.
Today on the show we were discussing cyber bullying and its effects on youngsters. I explained to listeners about your blog and some of the criticisms about me that you’ve highlighted online. I of course protected your identity. I read your blog with disappointment BUT even though I thoroughly disliked what you’ve written (both about me and others) I’d defend your right to speak freely. I’d strongly argue your reputation came off worse!
With this in mind, I told listeners this morning I’d make contact with you and ask whether you’d be prepare to come on air and speak openly about why you aired you views online. The piece is designed to be mature and in NO WAY an opportunity for one-upmanship or abuse. This isn’t retaliation, public humiliation or a chance to defame you.
It would be of extreme interest, following our recent on air discussion, to speak with someone who has used the Internet to be so critical of me in such a frank and explicit way. We’d be more than happy to just use your Christian name or give you a pseudonym.
The crux of my irritation is – why a professional man like you gets such a kick out of writing such material? Why online, why not phone in and face me? And why waste such energy, time and effort in attempting to bring somebody down?
You may be surprised by my request but the programme is extremely open and honest and we draw on experiences. I intend to talk again on this matter live tomorrow and would highly value your input as part of an insightful discussion. Unless you choose otherwise I will endeavor to keep you identity concealed, as I’d would not want to provoke a counter reaction against you.
We’ve never met, you appear keen to court controversy and provoke a reaction from me. In return you’ll continue to receive a professional and warm welcome to the programme if you choose to take me up on this opportunity…
Even less interested than before, Nick. No light would be generated by us talking about this on air, only heat. You’re a radio presenter. I’ve been a radio critic off and on for the last 12 years. I write books. People review and criticise them. If you stick your head above the parapet, you must expect some arrows in your hat.
I “appear keen to court controversy and provoke a reaction from” you? I celebrate good radio and criticise bad radio, but I do the latter very sparingly. I wrote those posts two years ago. Since then, I’ve avoided your programmes actively. Check my columns in The Lady over the last 18 months. You’ll find them overwhelmingly positive. There’s too much good radio about to waste words on the dross, but just occasionally I hear something so buttock-clenchingly awful, I have to pass comment. So it was with you and your show.
Oh, and we have met, very briefly, back when I used to do bits with the great Bumfrey. Anyway, feel free to name and shame, and you’re welcome to use any of the above (I assume the courtesy works both ways?) but be sure to mention my books. If you can do the whole sequence over the Simon Bates ‘Our Tune’ theme, even better.
Ok, shame you don’t put your head above the parapet and have the guts to come on! You’re tone, wording and assessment wasn’t that of a critic it was that of a playground bully! Shame your reply to a pleasant invitation is equally as condescending and irrelevant as your original blog! A decent critic delivers his assessment with intelligence…..you can barely hide your jealousy!!!! I’m twenty eight! I’ve anchored national news channels, held shows on 5 Live and LBC. I have seven BBC Local radio shows and present on BBC 1, ITV and Channel 5. A worthwhile critic would come from a fellow professional who has some wisdom to impart? What on earth qualifies a failed writer, a failed broadcaster and a failed blogger to pass comment is beyond me!
Obviously none of that would have been said on air but maybe it’s something to chew on?! Now how long till you repost this and spill out more vile hateful bollocks OR……take my criticism, call it quits and accepts we have little time for each other.
Regards, Nick Conrad!
I’ve barely given you a thought in the past two years, whereas you appear to have been dwelling on the matter. I can smell a stitch-up a mile off, and I know what to expect from someone with a bee in their bonnet and the ability to fade me out. I shall post our entire correspondence on my failed blog without comment and let others draw their conclusions.