Radio Recap – 30 June 2024

SUNDAY, JUNE 30, 2024
“With radio, it’s the most intimate way of reacting and interacting with a listener. it’s just you, in a room, in the dark, talking to somebody, and you can’t fake it. It’s got to be as natural as you can be. So, yeah, I love radio. Believe me, I love getting up, being centre stage singing, of course I do. But there’s something incredibly comfortable and warm and loving about doing radio, and that’s what I want to bring to the Sunday show.” Michael Ball
Michael has spoken of his love for the radio often. In recent years, I believe his passion for it has grown. It’s his ‘comfortable place,’ the place where he can relax and just be himself. And his listeners adore that particular side of the man, the guy with the infectious giggle, who can blurt something out accidentally and then laugh at himself. Who isn’t afraid of making mistakes and loves making his audience laugh. It’s here on the radio that Michael has free rein to do that.
“Good morning, my lovelies. You know what?” I can literally hear the smile on his face as he adds, “You’re all that matters to me.” And true to his word, he plays Curtis Stigers’ “You’re All That Matter to Me.” You mean a great deal to your listeners, too, Michael. “Welcome to Love Songs with Michael Ball. I hope you’re having a gorgeous Sunday. I hope you had a gorgeous week. Thanks so much for joining me. I think I’ve got a lovely show in store for you.” This opening is pure Michael, genuine, our ‘regular guy,’ the scripted shows of the past weeks tossed to the wind. He’s b-a-c-k!
Lots of emails read so beautifully by Michael. I never tire of hearing his rich & resonant speaking voice. Also, so many lovely and touching voice mails from listeners.
Love Songs: (Robbie Williams) “Feel”; (Sister Sledge) “Thinking of You”; (Elton John) “Your song”; (Coldplay) “Feels Like I’m Falling in Love”; (Adele) “Chasing Pavements”; (Stevie Wonder) “Isn’t She Lovely?”; (Myles Smith) “Stargazing”; (Mariah Carey) “Always Be My Baby”; (Billy Joel) “She’s Always a Woman to Me”; (Perrie) “Tears”; (Madonna) “You’ll See”; (Mylie Cirus & Beyoncé “Most Wanted”; (Shania Twain) “You’re Still the One” – Michael’s favorite Shania song; (Maroon 5 “This Love”; (Mary Wells) “My Guy”; (Macy Gray) “I Try”;
Your Special Day. Michael speaks to Theresa on the Love Line, who’s English born but now living in Ireland (Michael caught the lilt in her voice). She and her husband Ian are celebrating their 24th wedding anniversary, but it’s also 34 years since they met “across a very sticky night club dance floor.” Michael wants to know everything about that first meeting (Love the way you think, Michael). Theresa says, “I went out that night with a couple of girlfriends, and I locked eyes with Ian.” Michael is literally melting at her words. “Oh,” he sighs softly, “that’s the way you do it.” They dated for a little while, but were finally separated by work. “We did that really old fashioned thing of writing letters,” (Michael is completely caught up in her story) “Then in 1996 Ian was transferred back to Dublin.” Michael asks her if the time apart made her realize he was the one. “Absolutely.” Theresa asks Michael to play Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” What an incredible segment this was, Michael completely swept up in the story of Theresa and Ian.
When Michael promotes the BBC being in Glastonbury this week, he qualifies it by saying he’s not there. He’s happy to be in the studio as he’s not a fan of a port a loo. Yep, our guy is definitely back, saying whatever he’s thinking! And isn’t it WONDERFUL to have him back?!
On the Love Line Michael speaks to Craig Widdop, who has been a full time carer for his mum who has dementia. His mum is one of Michael’s biggest fans. “A little bird told me,” Michael says with a giggle, “that I’m the only one – how can I say this delicately? – that she would have had a … liaison with.” Craig says that she used to tell his dad that he’d be # 2 in line if Michael ever came along, which sets off Michael’s wonderful laughter. Craig says he promised her when she was first diagnosed that she wouldn’t be put anywhere, and he’s come through for her. “You’re a good son,” responds Michael. “Is she around?” Turns out she’s right next to Craig, and he puts her on the phone. The brief conversation between Michael and Craig’s mum is so, so touching. At the end, Craig thanks Michael – his music and concerts have helped him through this trying time. Okay, I’m crying. And this week the box of tissues is handy – I came prepared. Then Michael plays Better Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Now I’m sobbing, going through tissue after tissue!
Michael welcomes us back to hour 2 of Love Songs, his voice warm and inviting. He reminds us that he wants to hear all our good news and – with a deep intake of breath – announces he has some good news of his own. He then tells his listeners about his granddaughter Gracie playing on the GB’s Olympic Rugby team in France next month. So lovely to hear him brag about her, such a proud grandpa, something we rarely get to hear first hand! Yes, this show is about his listeners, but it’s nice to be reminded that is also occasionally about Michael. Following in this vein, when promoting Radio 2 in the Park in September, he mentions his conversation with Scott Mills about doing a DJ set of songs from musicals. Oh how Michael wants to do this, and it sounds like it’s going to happen! Bravo, Michael. It will be spectacular, and we’ll, of course, cover it.
Michael speaks to Debbie on the Love Line, but when she says she’s calling from the Hoppycock Inn, of course Michael’s bawdy mind ‘goes there,’ which sets off his giggles – BIG TIME! Michael’s wicked sense of humor is on full display today, and I’m thrilled to see it back on the air again. Debbie says her mother Karen is an avid ‘The Sound of Music’ fan. When Michael calls Karen to wish her a Happy Birthday, she’s stunned to be talking to MICHAEL BALL! For a treat, Michael plays Julie Andrews singing the theme song from ‘The Sound of Music.’ “It’s not really a love song,” Michael says, laughing, “but who cares, it’s my show!” Now that’s the attitude I like to hear and want to hear more often!
Love Letters. Michael speaks with Laura, who talks about the last few years. She was stuck abroad when COVID hit, and she had to quit from her job. Her parents stepped in and supported her at that time. Now that she’s picked her life back up again, she writes them a letter to tell them how much their support meant to her. Before Michael gets them on the phone, he plays today’s theme song by Ellie Gould. When Jackie and Terry (Lauren’s parents) comes on the phone, again neither can believe they’re speaking to Michael! So adorable. Laura’s letter is incredibly moving, and she’s quite emotional as she reads it. These phone calls are the heartbeat of Michael’s new show, IMO. They’re genuine and touching, a ‘slice of life,’ in a way. And you can tell how much Michael loves these segments, these moments when he’s able to engage with people. I’ll say it again: it’s what he does best and why he loves the radio. He closes this segment by playing Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely?”
The Last Dance this week is for Hazel Taylor. Her husband Martin requested a song to represent their 40 years together. “Come on,” Michael enthuses, “let’s have a moment for Martin & Hazel and for anyone else who fancies a little sway around the kitchen.” The song? Aretha Franklin’s “I Say a Little Prayer for You.” Perfect, Michael.
So that’s it for today. But what a momentous show it was. After 5 weeks of feeling his way through a new format and a new show, Michael Ball found himself today, IMO. He was the guy his listeners loved on The Michael Ball Show, natural, funny, insightful, saying what he felt at any given moment and showering the program with his infectious giggle. I loved it. I REALLY loved it.
I have a secret wish list for Michael’s new show that I’m going to keep to myself for now, with this one exception: I wish Michael would do an occasional interview. Steve Wright did. I used to listen to Steve’s show as I prepped for Michael’s 11 AM show. He did interviews connected to particular love songs, and he even devoted an entire broadcast to a one-on-one interview (I wish I could remember who his guest was!) about the great love songs in film, interspersing their conversation with some of those songs. Michael could interview a composer or a singer connected with love songs and still give his audience the music they crave. We all know what a magnificent interviewer he is, how he asks all the right questions, how he turns the interview into a comfortable conversation. I’d hate to see those skills get rusty. Michael is a people-person, loves to engage anyone and everyone, something he does with perfection on the radio. Why not throw in an occasional interview? Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
Until next Sunday, my friends …
The Love Song of the Week: Ellie Gould’s “How Long Will I Love You?” Link to the video is below:
©DeborahFezelle2024 This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball & the MBFC