The Radio1 DJ played a clip of presenter Becki Grahame from the ‘Mayhem with Matt and Becki’ show, reading out a text from an alleged ‘Toby Lerone’, in a discussion about listeners with fake names contacting radio shows.
The third-year English student said on air, ‘We have had a text in from Toby Lerone, who said that he can’t wait for X-Factor, even without Simon. So, we totally see where you’re coming from, it rules our lives…’
The clip was re-played by the Radio 1 show as it encourages listeners throughout the week to contact radio stations whilst pretending to be called ‘Toby Lerone’, or other names such as ‘Taffy Crisp’. Surge is one of many stations to fall for the joke, sweeping across the country in popularity.
When Moyles was played the clip, he commented, ‘completely oblivious’, in reference to the student DJs awareness of the blunder. He exclaimed, ‘What’s that? Surge? Is that student radio? Sounds like it. By the way, if its not, I’m not being funny, it just sounds like it, know what I mean…It sounds like she’s in a room where the window’s open.’
Moyles’ producer, Aled Haydn Jones, then commented, ‘apparently Surge is Southampton University’s student radio station’, before Moyles’ responded, ‘I’m so excited, here on student radio, where we have one microphone and it’s nowhere near me’.
The team on the breakfast show then continued to impersonate student radio stations, in their view by speaking and joking further away from their microphones.
Becki said: ‘I can’t believe what has happened. I only heard the morning after and couldn’t believe how far it had gone. I just originally thought it was a joke around the Surge office, and had no idea my voice had been heard on national radio.
‘As a small station, Matt and I are always keen to read out texts and emails as it’s nice to know that people are listening, so we didn’t bat an eyelid about this one. It popped up as we were discussing X-Factor, so I just read it straight out on air and didn’t even notice the ‘pun’, used loosely, in the name. To be honest I think barely anyone listening would. So I don’t really care that I said it, or feel like I was tricked.
‘Regarding Chris Moyles’ response, yes he is known for poking fun and obviously it’s a bit embarrassing to be the one on the receiving end, but I thought his comments went a bit far as he discussed student radio. To completely mock it seems a bit unfair, as obviously very few people can get a position at an established station like Radio 1. Young DJs have to start somewhere. I think someone in his position should be encouraging things like student radio stations rather than mocking them, and also remember that when he calls DJs ‘dumb’ that he is one himself.’
Ex-Surge Committee member Jason Allen commented, ‘I think it just sounds like there’s a window open because there is no compression on the mics at all, so doesn’t give it any oomph. The mic control at Surge has certainly improved recently with the installation of the third mic.’
Moyles’ comments annoyed some students involved with Surge Radio with one responding that, ‘the exposed brickwork isn’t ideal for acoustics, but it’s not like we have tens of thousands to spend a year. You don’t see us getting paid close to half a million quid to take the mickey out of student radio.’
However, others chose to see the comments as a joke, or constructive criticism. Head of News at Surge Abbie Chapman said: ‘if he found these problems, maybe it’s a tip for the Student Radio Award [entries]. We could use it constructively and realise that those in the business notice the tiniest things. Clearly we need to make sure we are producing to the max.’
Former Surge DJ Chris Stark now features regularly on Radio1’s Scott Mills show. He said, ‘just enjoy the little Surge mention on Radio 1, its all good,’
Surge stands for Southampton University Radio from Glen Eyre, as it was originally broadcast from the halls of residence until it moved to the main campus. The station broadcasts occasionally across the whole university, and a large part of Southampton, on 87.7FM. To listen online, go to http://www.surgeradio.co.uk/onair/listen/.
To listen to the clip on Radio1, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00y205z/The_Chris_Moyles_Show_With_Simon_Pegg_and_Nick_Frost/ and cut to approximately 2h47mins. To listen to the original Surge podcast, go to http://www.surgeradio.com/onair/podcasts/#recent|4