Sunday, November 05, 2006

Iain Lee vs Varinder

Anyone who has been listening to "the 3 and 1/2 hour, 3-6:30, Iain Lee Afternoon Wireless Show," (LBC 97.3, London; Sky Channel 0177; or via the net, at: ) for any period of time, during the last six months, will have heard of Varinder. Varinder seemed to fill a void amongst Iain's cast of characters, after Yasser stopped calling the show. Iain seems to have a soft spot for young, Asian males with high voices and confusing speech patterns. Recently, Yasser answered an appeal from Iain and finally phoned the show again. After that, Iain said that Varinder no longer was needed, because Yasser was back. There followed a feud that I suspected was more of a gag than a serious dispute. Varinder says he and Iain are "mates" again.
A couple of months ago, Varinder asked me why he wasn't in my top friends. I explained to him that I change them around, periodically and often do themed top friends. He didn't fit the theme I was doing, at the time. I suggested that he could do things to earn a place in my top friends, like mention me on air, when he calls Iain's show. That never occurred, but he's been complimentary and he, sort of, grows on you. Recently turned 19, Varinder has started attending university and appears to be studying film. He and I share some things in common. A love of films, cars, women, and Iain Lee's radio show. I felt like dedicating my top friend to him and the Iain Lee show, for a while and I know he appreciates it.
Iain and Varinder seem to have grown close after Varinder turned up, unannounced, at LBC radio's studios, one day. Iain put him on air, which led to Iain getting a lot of hassle from LBC management. Once again, radio management have needlessly panicked over nothing. One of the most successful radio personalities in history, Howard Stern, made a regular practice of having strange characters, from amongst his listeners, in the studio with him. After that day, Varinder acquired a level of access to the show that I can honestly say I am envious of. It's nothing against Varinder, but I wish I had the ease of access that he's enjoyed. For many of us, it's a struggle getting airtime with Iain. He and Iain even communicate off air and sometimes discuss what they will do on air. In other words, it's a similar arrangement to the one I have with Opal Bonfante. The only problem is that Opal's evil Station Manager, Darth Chris, isn't letting her put me, or anyone else, on air anymore.
By keeping his list of regular characters so tight, Iain may have inadvertently shot himself in the foot. Rumors have it that Iain's show is going to moved out of afternoon drive time, soon. Supposedly, LBC management think the show has a narrow cult appeal, more suited to another time of day. This misunderstanding on the part of management may be due to confusing the regular callers with the wider audience. The callers are always a small fraction of the people actually listening, anyway. Many people prefer to just listen, rather than go through the effort of calling a radio show and performing. Others are driving, or working, or simply can't get through. Possibly, if Iain had developed a wider range cast of character, from a more varied cross section of listeners, management might not have come to this erroneous conclusion. Iain, himself, may have started to suspect this, as he seemed to become a bit more welcoming toward older callers, in recent months.
I think Iain appeals to a similar audience as Howard Stern does. Howard did well in both afternoon drive, then in morning drive time, becoming the number one radio show in New York City. Iain has only been doing the afternoon slot for just over a year and he's pulled a new audience to LBC. Before Iain, I only listened to LBC a little. Iain got me to listen longer and to sample lots of the other presenters. Thus he not only increased the audience for his own time slot, but increased the audience for other shows on the station. Drive time is prime time, in radio, and a good time to pull new listeners. A lot of people listen to radio in their cars, while commuting, because you can't watch TV while driving. Thus Iain was situated in exactly the right time to build the station's audience. If management move him, they will be making a strategic blunder.
You can check out Varinder at his Myspace, . Leave him a comment and tell him I sent you. I am glad that he and Iain are mates again. I don't understand the appeal Varinder has for so many people, but he's certainly contributed a lot of time and material to Iain's show. Regardless if Yasser's back, or not, the young lad shouldn't be tossed in the rubbish pile.


Blogger Askinstoo said...

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6:44 PM  
Blogger Naive London Girl said...


I just recently started listening ot LBC. Thanks for explaining that history. I've been very confused as to what's going on.


9:27 AM  
Blogger JosephintheBracknell said...

You're welcome.

3:27 PM  

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