Chris Moyles, the once-self proclaimed Saviour of Radio 1, has had an interesting few weeks. When his radio comeback was announced in September, the announcement was almost overshadowed by two tiny words featured in Radio X's press release - "male-focused". In the fortnight since Chris returned to the airwaves, the words have continued to haunt him, and in his role as Radio X's unofficial spokesperson, Moyles has done his best to fight off critics, but sorry Chris, I'm just not buying it.
As a long-time Xfm fan, I was determined to give Chris and his merry band of male presenters a chance, but after two weeks of listening to half-hour long chats, predictable Absolute Radio-esque tracks and Vernon Kay offering insights like "When they asked if I wanted to do Radio X, I said 'Can I just play bangers?' and they said yes, so I'm here", I'm tuning out for good.
To mark nearly two weeks on air, Chris appears on the latest cover of NME - another well-known indie brand, that marked their new era with a Rihanna interview - and of course, he is forced to address the "male-focused" aim, but rather than making me feel better, his approach feels false and patronising.
Let's start with day one of Radio X, when after 28 minutes of talking, Chris played his first song, opting for Girls Aloud (geddit?? GIRLS ALLOWED... How funny...), but knowing Chris's often snarky, not exactly Mr Nice Guy style, it felt more like a smarmy swipe and patronising offering, than a genuine statement to female listeners. Why not go for a Yeah Yeah Yeah's track? Or play Florence And The Machine, Findlay, or another female act that Xfm previously championed? The radio history books won't record that Chris marked his comeback with a Girls Aloud song to heroically fight male focused dictates, they'll read that he kickstarted his indie radio show with a pop song most listeners would roll their eyes at.
His latest NME realisation felt like more of the same, and even worse, almost has echoes of the classic "well, I have black friends" defence people use when they're insisting they aren't racist.
"S***, maybe I'm a feminist. My manager is female, my assistant is female, my press person is female and my exec producer is female," he says, realising, after decades in showbusiness, that he's actually been helped along by plenty of brilliant women. It's as if we're all supposed to stop and applaud, before re-adding Radio X to our car radios.
But a cheeky aside in a magazine just doesn't cut it, and certainly doesn't make amends for the Radio X lads club Chris leads. He may have strong women supporting him behind-the-scenes, but they aren't around on the station's key shows. Instead, they're in the less popular weekend slots, apart from the only female weekday presenter Hattie Pearson, whose show starts at 1am. Perfectly good female presenters - such as Jo Good, Lliana Bird - have been bumped, and replaced by men in their '40s who give off 'DIY centre at the weekend' vibes. As well as being a huge step back, it's all very dull.
So much of the music world, specifically indie and rock music, is already male-focused, and that's not something radio stations should be embracing. It's almost as if everyone at Radio X HQ have had their heads in the sand this summer, as debates over where women are on festival line-ups, and open discussions about harassment at gigs have unfolded.
Men can be feminists, and it's fantastic when they are, but you don't become one automatically by making one comment in an interview, or playing a pop track. Men need to shout, and make as much noise as women when it comes to fighting industry sexism, not accept their pay packets and offer dismissive responses. You can keep your ageing lads, Radio X, and Johnny Vaughan with his "Great Britain needs great banter" line. It was fun while it lasted, but I'm off to BBC 6Music.