Stuart Miles: interview
With crank calls, comic characters and listener requests, Gaydar Radio‘s latest show is as conventional as they come. But then host Stuart Miles does have a ’Blue Peter‘ badge
How much more mainstream can Gaydar Radio get? Not content with winning three industry awards, including BT’s Radio Station of the Year and the much-coveted Sony Digital Award, they now have not one but two former children’s television presenters on the payroll. Liam Dolan from CBBC joins the station later this month. But first up there’s Stuart Miles, who not only fronted ‘Saturday Disney’ for GMTV but was even a ‘Blue Peter’ presenter. It doesn’t get much more mainstream than that.
‘Well, I did leave “Blue Peter” in 1999,’ Miles points out. ‘It was quite a long time ago. It’s not as if I left children’s TV and jumped straight into Gaydar! Don’t get me wrong: “Blue Peter” was fantastic. It was a great launching pad. But I have done other things in between. I did “This Morning”, some work for Sky, and a dating show and a holiday show for ITV. The great thing about Gaydar is that they give you a lot of creative freedom, which you don’t always get on radio nowadays. And they’ve very good at what they do.’ He laughs: ‘I feel very privileged to be working for an award-winning radio station!’
In fact, radio was Miles’ first love. Long before he stepped in front of the cameras, young Stuart used to revise for his exams while tuned in to ‘Steve Wright In The Afternoon’. ‘I’m giving my age away now,’ he says. ‘But I used to love listening to Steve Wright doing all his different voices. It’s a wonder I got any revision done.’ Yet somehow he passed his exams and went off to Bournemouth University where he developed an interest in college radio, followed by a stint on hospital radio. ‘I actually fell into TV presenting quite by accident. I was working behind the scenes and it sort of led on from there. But I started in radio, so when the job at Gaydar came along it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get back to doing what I love.’
Miles presents ‘Your Choice Requests’ from 11am to 2pm, Monday to Friday. It’s part of what programme controller Robin Crowley describes as ‘a refreshed line-up and sound for 2008’. When I ask him how the new boy is settling in, Crowley says simply, ‘Stuart is great. He’s an absolute natural at the job, and completely comfortable with his sexuality, which is what Gaydar is all about.’
When he isn’t broadcasting, Miles works as a stand-up comedian, and has developed several comedy characters which he plans to bring into the show. These include Stella Ratner, ‘the people’s hostess’ and self-styled ‘queen of home shopping’. ‘And I’m going to be calling famous people up on their mobiles,’ Miles adds. ‘I have my little black book, full of famous people whose numbers I’ve collected over the years. I know quite a lot of people in the wonderful world of celebrity. Well, you know what celebrities are like. You meet someone once and suddenly they’re your new best friend. So I’ll be calling and asking them where they are and what they’re up to.’
He laughs: ‘Gaydar is a very interactive station. They’re very forward thinking in terms of how they use technology, and the listeners respond to that very directly, whether it’s in the chatrooms or through online forums. So this is just another way of making modern technology work for radio.’
And these aren’t the only tricks he has up his sleeve. ‘I’m working towards doing a show at Edinburgh this year. And I’m not really turning my back on TV. I love Gaydar but I’m busy working on other projects, too.’
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