Would Kenny Everett be allowed to flourish in radio now?


Last week, I watched a wonderful drama about the life of the radio producer and broadcaster Kenny Everett.

For those of you born in the late 80s, or who aren’t from the UK, Kenny Everett was an amazingly creative radio broadcaster with an almost bottomless imagination. I never heard his shows on the radio. In fact, I never really watched his TV shows since my Mum thought he was a little vulgar.

He was an amazingly creative broadcaster who created a sonic world out of his imagination. All without digital editors, keyboards, and computer plugins – but a highly creative brain and some pretty deft production tools – using tape and multitrack recorders and pretty much any sound effect creating device he could find. And of course, a cast of thousands from one man’s voice.

There are numerous sites dedicated to him – this one seems a good starting place.

He made jingles for his shows. He wrote and produced promos. And he did it all himself.

And he broke all the rules. In fact, he was sacked many times for breaking those rules.

But how would radio in 2012 have reacted to this broadcaster? Would they have let him flourish or would they have trimmed his wings so that his creative expression was tamed? It’s interesting that the station that hired him after his sacking from the BBC was Capital Radio. Back then, when Capital started, it was a station that had everything to win. It took risks, had a range of shows from rock to classical, and it was huge. Here was a broadcaster that was also larger than life and took loads of creative risks.

What would Kenny have made with the laborious compliance process? Would it have curtailed his creative journey – or would the rules and regulations actually have helped him to refine his comedy?

One thing is clear – there is a real need for someone like Kenny in radio these days. Maybe someone to work in your creative or imaging department or maybe someone on air. Without people like Kenny, radio is slightly less interesting. If you have never heard any of his shows or production, you should take a listen – you might learn something.

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