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27 September 2023

“Good Morning, this is Absolute Radio”; Frank Skinner and Dave Berry celebrate 15 years at Absolute Radio at Tuning In 2023

2023’s Tuning In event was sold out and packed to the rafters – and after a morning filled with commercial audio goodness, there was no better way to end it than with a fantastically funny and uncensored chat with Absolute Radio presenters Frank Skinner and Dave Berry. Audio journalist Miranda Sawyer led the lively discussion covering Absolute’s incredible 15-year span, questioning the presenters on their station highlights, dream show sponsors and what their listeners mean to them.

Frank kicked things off with an anecdote dating back to before he started at Absolute, quipping “I was offered a radio show by two stations. I looked at the playlist for the other one and Michael Bublé was at the top – I thought, I have to listen to it as well!” He went on to claim, “Absolute is a spunkier station, who have trusted me and allowed me to do what I want. They are ballsy and take risks – like taking me on!”

After being asked what they enjoy most about radio, Frank mused “There’s something about not being able to see who’s speaking which makes it more intimate – which is counterintuitive as you’d think it would be the opposite. I am more me on radio than I ever have been on TV or stage”. This lack of visibility is a strong selling point for Frank, “I know the audience is having a brilliant time – I won’t let anyone convince me otherwise”.

Dave focused on the audience experience, saying “I always want to be genuine – you need to be the real article or you’re not going to get that consistency or sustainability for your audience”. The theme of listener and presenter relationships continued with Dave stating, “It’s not about the songs for me – it’s the bits in between the songs”. The Dave Berry Breakfast Show has a long-standing relationship with its listeners, with every show putting the audience at its heart – not to mention Dave’s ‘5 Words 5 Grand’ game which listeners can now play on their smart speakers at home. This is what leads Dave to think that “the empty chair in the studio isn’t for guests, it’s for the audience”.

Frank also expressed his fondness for his Saturday morning audience, saying “we’ve got a funny, clever gang on Saturday mornings – about a million including the podcast – and they just really get it, which I love. We can go anywhere and they’ll go with us”. He reiterated this at the end of the session, saying his listeners are “just like my mates who have a Saturday morning get together”.

Turning the conversation to sponsorships, Miranda touched on Absolute Breakfast’s long-standing partnership with Wickes which is currently in its 12th year. Berry praised the company for being “the perfect sponsor”, going on to say “Wickes are great… there are a few things we can play with and often we come up with an idea which they then love to get involved with”.

Both presenters were quick to give stories about their favourite live music moments from the station, from Dave’s reminiscence of having Lewis Capaldi putting on an impromptu performance in the Bauer London office kitchen, to Frank’s fond memories of getting to take his sister to an intimate Tori Amos gig at a chapel in Soho. The nostalgia of special Absolute memories continued with Dave looking back on convincing Hollywood royalty Denzel Washington to ‘fire’ a member of the breakfast team, as well as Absolute Radio You for encompassing so many of his favourite moments.

One of Frank’s fondest memories took a different turn however, as he explained “we got nominated for best speech programme – even though our show is not a speech programme…and then we won it! It upset a lot of serious broadcasters which is always fun”.

But despite the on stage hilarity, the power of radio was centre stage, as Frank revealed that his true best moment was in fact “every Saturday morning when I get to say ‘good morning this is Absolute Radio’, I even get a tingle saying it now, I just love it”.

Frank Skinner is on Absolute Radio at 8am every Saturday morning and Dave Berry’s show airs weekdays from 6am.