The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 May 2008

UK TalkSPORT Presenter James Whale Fired For Tory Advocacy


London Host Canned Over Conservative Party Support

After endorsing the Conservative Party's candidate for mayor of London, a longtime British talk show host has now found himself without a job, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

In what might be a violation of UK broadcast regulations, popular talkSPORT evening presenter James Whale apparently asked listeners on 20 March to vote for Boris Johnson. Johnson subsequently went on to win the election, becoming the first Tory London mayor in many years and stunning political observers worldwide.

Unlike in the United States, where the FCC (thankfully) does not regulate political content except in rare pre-election circumstances (mostly involving airtime for candidates themselves and campaign advertising spot rates), Britain's OFCOM bans "election bias", according to the Daily Mail report.

As it's not clear how opinion- based talk radio can be anything other than biased by its very nature, this flap appears especially strange on this side of the Atlantic.

OFCOM apparently hadn't finished investigating his remarks before talkSPORT pulled the plug on Whale, a move that is likely to generate more controversy than anything he'd said in March.

Interestingly, Whale is not known as a partisan suck-up, instead, his reputation is that of an independent conservative with strong Thatcherite leanings. He's taken on current Tory leader David Cameron many times for appeasing eco-cultists in Britain and flirted with running for London mayor himself under the banner of the obscure UK Independence Party.

While American stations normally remove fired hosts immediately from their websites, talkSPORT still shows Whale in their lineup, at least for now.

Here's his show profile:

You know you are in the presence of someone special when you look at the number of people James Whale has managed to offend over the years.

Whether you’re pushing 80 or still collecting My Little Pony, if you annoy Whale, he’ll soon let you know about it.

The outspoken and self-righteous late night king has developed a cult following over the years with his confrontational style that would have Attila the Hun running for the hills. James loves nothing more than verbally assaulting callers on his late night phone-ins and it seems people on the other end of the line can’t get enough as we’ve gone through eight switchboards in the last two years.

The late night mouth-of-the-south started his career at Metro Radio in Newcastle, before going on to cause many a producer loss of sleep at Radio Tees and Radio Aire Leeds. He also made his first break into television with The James Whale Debate in which voices were never raised and toys never thrown from prams as he chaired live studio discussions on religious and moral issues.

In 1993 he moved back to his native London to present Whale On for London Weekend Television, and 1995 saw the launch of The James Whale Show, which became cult late night viewing for millions.

James has won three Sony Radio Awards. He has written 2 books "Bald on Top" inspired by his own premature hair loss and "Almost a Celebrity" inspired by his own premature loss of fame.

As in America, UK talk stations also seem to hire hosts with controversial reputations, only to run for the hills and disavow that person the moment his or her program generates complaints.

Amazingly, another talkSPORT presenter, Alan Brazil, appears to have kept his job after a high- profile drunk driving arrest where he was caught on camera denouncing the radio station. Apparently, supporting Thatcher and Boris Johnson is a far more unspeakable crime than drinking and driving.

UPDATES: BBC, The Wilted Rose, Guardian

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  • Remember, all trends begin six months to a year before they hit our shores..

    By Anonymous hashfanatic, at 06 May, 2008 00:37  

  • Thanks for the reminder, Hashafantic: "Remember, all trends begin six months to a year before they hit our shores.."

    Boris Johnson, the semi-conservative Tory candidate for the London mayoral election soundly defeated Ken Livingstone, the very liberal crypto-Commie Labour Party candidate.

    So, what happens in the USA in 6 months? Could it be the general election with the semi-conservative Republican McCain defeating the very liberal Democrat Obama?

    And Boris Johnson will also move to slash immediately wasteful spending and bureaucracy and order a review of the capital's controversial congestion tax program.

    Hashafantic, let's hope your foresight continues.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 06 May, 2008 10:04  

  • I listened to talkSport for a number of years, mainly during the day while at work, until our office pulled the plug on streaming audio.

    I have listened to James Whale often, and liked the guy; opinionated and at times combative, he did a fine job for the station.

    He will be missed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 May, 2008 20:17  

  • Britain has a totally different view towards freedom of speech and is also much farther Left overall than the USA. I'm confident he would have been fine if he had endorsed Livingstone.

    YEY Boris! Bloody good news! Praise the Lord! Thank God! There is hope for Londonistan. What will Red Ken do next?
    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    elect a communist

    someone who will work full-time
    to destroy your country

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    expand the welfare state

    favor the immigrants
    till the natives vote you out

    USpace @ Lulu


    By Anonymous USpace, at 08 May, 2008 00:49  

  • talk sport is trash radio for thick football fans, it makes them feel important, James whale was too good for them anyway, it should be called new labour radio given the amount of government adverts, talk sport hypocritical fuckers

    By Anonymous harry1234bell, at 15 July, 2008 09:51  

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