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The day the junket died.


I've lost my broadcasting virginity and it's all thanks to Jo.

That's what I call her now: Jo. You may know her as Joanne Malin, the BBC radio presenter. But to me she's just Jo.

I was invited on to her morning chat show on Radio WM last week after writing a story in this newspaper about Broad Street. I suggested the selection of lagers, chips and mud-wrestling along the strip far exceeded the attractions of its restaurant scene. I may have mentioned the phrase "kebab hell."

This upset, among others, Allan Sartori, the boss of a local lap dancing club. When I met Allan in the BBC reception at the Mailbox, he was furious, jolly furious, although he didn't use the word jolly.

However, as much as Allan was angry at my take on Broad Street gastronomy he was nowhere near as miffed as I was with the lack of BBC hospitality. I've read the stories about pampered BBC executives, the chauffeurs, the taxis, the fine wines and expense-account lunches.

If truth be told, that's the only reason I agreed to go on Jo's show. I thought it was my chance for a slice of the corporation's party pie.

How wrong I was. I had to be at the studio for 9.25am. Would that be all right, asked Gary, Jo's producer, on the phone. Yes, fine. Then I waited. And waited. Gary was meant to say: "And we'll send round the Merc about 9-ish. Help yourself to the incar lobster."

But he didn't. All he said was: "Great." Great's no good to me, Gary.

So I made my way to the Mailbox and looked forward to the delights of the green room. Wossy has a green room; Jo was bound to have one, stuffed with Champagne and foie gras, and an indoor barbie for veteran chatmeister Ed Doolan. I did see Ed, but no Bolly, no goose livers, no marinated shrimp.

It was left to Allan, my on-air sparring partner, to slake my thirst with a cup of coffee from the modestly stocked studio cafe. "You haven't put anything in that, Allan?" I asked, joking. "Not yet," he said, not joking. Gary wouldn't even let me do an onair dedication, or select a playlist. After the show, a colleague asked if I got paid an appearance fee. Should I have done? I'd have settled for a Hob Nob.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 4, 2010
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