Stephanie Hirst has gone through a lot this past year and in doing so is a much happier person all round but this blog is not about gender, it’s about talent and bizarre decisions.
Stephanie is widely known for hosting the biggest breakfast show outside of London. She’s imaginative and creative and until recently, the entertaining ringmaster of a morning show that delivered big audiences.
Yes, of course she can also do a good music show but it’s not what she’s best at.
She’s at her best when delivering content that people like to hear.
Yet, despite being off air for nearly a year, and a track record of winning, there is little evidence of commercial radio waving new contracts in her face, which is bewildering to say the least, especially when commercial radio needs great talent.
There are perhaps a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly Capital are still paying her salary so until that runs out, they call the tune but there is life outside of Yorkshire. She can work elsewhere. She has a driving licence, owns a car, has sat-nav and can read a map and for those who worry about these kind of things, she also has ISDN, a full studio and even a great Internet connection.
Secondly, she wanted to take some time out of radio herself. Fair enough, but now she wants to return and commercial radio are strangely absent.
Instead, she’s having to trundle over to BBC Manchester to do a 90s show. It just doesn’t stack up.
While I’m at it, why is BBC Manchester airing a 90s show anyway?
Surely, management have much bigger issues to sort out than this. They’ve made some changes recently – some of them look positive – but a 90s show is neither demanded by the audience or a solution to their problems. In addition, the city is already stacked with stations playing 90s songs every hour of every day so it all points to creating a show just to have Stephanie on the air.
I’m therefore left to ponder
The 90s show is not exciting so perhaps this is all part of a wider plan. Maybe the BBC and Stephanie are using this as a trial run to see how things go, allow her to re-find her radio voice and then, if successful, move her up the schedule somewhere.
If I was going to hire her, I would allow her a wider playlist, give her a better time slot and above all, get her to talk to the audience in a way that delivers compelling content. She’s good at that!
Whatever the reason, I really hope this is not the BBC doing what I call – diversity box ticking bollocks. She’s deserves better!