The 800lb Gorilla in the RoomFormer commercial radio “Big Cheese” and latterly consultant of the moment to produce your strategic review document, John Myers, is obviously finding as the nights draw in that he can spend less time on the golf course and more time publishing some rather interesting pieces on his Myers Media blog.

In his recent post “The Elephant In the Room” Myers highlights a view he thinks is common place amongst the great listening public;

I find myself listening less to commercial radio for one very good reason:

They play far too many adverts

Myers goes on with a fascinating analysis of the issue, if you’ve not already seen the article, I’d recommend reading.


The problem that commercial radio has is nothing new. I’ve dug out from my archive an edition of BBC Radio Four’s Mediumwave, from 30th July 1995.

The special “radio” edition of the programme is hosted by “Capital Radio’s” Richard Park and included this report from Roland White from “The Sunday Times”.

 Download MP3

Park’s introduction into the feature posses the question

Ask any commercial radio listener what they don’t like and the answer is always the same…

leading into vox pops that all answer

..the adverts….

This feature also features, Mike Bersin “Creative Director Metro Radio Group”, Jimmy Hibbert “voiceover specialist”, Tim Denley “An Independent Creative Director” and Douglas McArthur of the “Radio Advertising Bureau.”

This feature highlights some issues still common today, sighting the lack of creativity of many adverts, stating that over a decade had past since the last good example of creative radio advertising, namely the Philips radio campaign featuring improvised sketches by Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones.

Douglas McArthur from the RAB makes an observation about the issues over the cheapness of radio advertising;

“You can’t expect to get a Michelangelo every time you invest £100. The area were we can improve the standard are in major national advertisers who use big agencies who actually have the budgets to be more adventurous.”

The report ends with the rose tinted spectacles looking back to a time when

The adverts were the best thing on the radio

accompanied to the soundtrack of the ‘Ovaltineys‘ song. Maybe something for modern day execs to think about in this new Product Placement friendly world we now have.


Photo Credits: “Spool #3” by Andrew Back
“The 800lb Gorilla in the Room”
by Jason Mrachina

Updated 27th May 2020 Replaced dead link with version