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Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
DJ Simon Mayo quizzed

Simon Mayo became one of the most familiar voices on Radio 1, with a 15-year stint on the station.

The 43-year-old broadcaster who left Radio 1 in February, moves to the afternoon slot on Radio 5 Live covering news, politics and sport.

Mayo admits it is a gamble. "I'm just a music presenter. But I relish the opportunity to prove I can do something other than play Manic Street Preachers," he said in a recent interview.

Some people, however, see this as further dumbing down of news and current affairs.

Does he agree? Is he nervous about his new job? How did he feel about leaving Radio 1 after so many years?

To watch coverage of the forum, select the link below:


Highlights of interview

Pat Sissons, Southampton, UK

Simon, on Radio One if you're stuck for something interesting to say you can always bung a record on. Do you think broadcasting on 5 Live will be a bit like doing it without a safety net?

Simon Mayo:

If you are feeling rough and you are playing records for a living then you just play more records and that's fine. I don't think that is open to me here. So I am hoping that it will be quite a while before I am looking around the studio and saying "I could really do with a CD player". I am hoping that we are constructing a programme that I won't need a safety net - and it will just fly wonderfully.

David Murphy, England

Have you any plans in future to bring back the brilliant programme Confessions? If so when?

Simon Mayo:

Unfortunately it is not up to me. If it were up to me, I would because it was great fun to do and I think it had plenty of life in it. We did forty shows and then someone decided they had had enough of that and so it stopped.

The reason I think it could have carried on is that lots of other programmes have tried to copy what we did and just reinvented it in a slightly different format.

It would be great to do it again but I think it has had its day. We did it for four years, we did four books - it had its time and it is time to move on.

Donald Shelley, Grimsby, England

Has your much publicised spirituality and faith helped you in your career?

Simon Mayo:

Much publicised - not out of choice. No I don't think so. There are two ways of looking at it - has it helped my career - no I think it has hindered it. Has it helped me personally - then I think yes. But I think from a professional point of view, people use it to paint you into a particular corner and leave you there because they like putting people into a pigeon hole. So from a professional point of view, I don't think it has helped at all but from a personal point of view - yes it has helped.

Rupert Cousins, Oxford, UK:

Was your move from Radio 1 precipitated by the current play list policy?

Simon Mayo:

No, not really. I think he means was I driven out by the terrible music or I presume that is what he means. There were times - two or three years before I left - where I found the music more disagreeable. There was a time when you could go for hours without playing anything with a guitar in it and it was just wall-to-wall dance. But I think in the six months before I left it was actually becoming more and more enjoyable and there were more and more new guitar bands coming through and I was enjoying it as much as ever.

The reason for leaving was that I was only six months into a new two year contract with Radio 1 but 5 Live came along and said they wanted me to do afternoons and what did I think about it. I just had to sit down and make that judgement. Where am I going to have the most fun over the next two years - either staying at Radio 1 - and I knew I could do that. I have always been a "politics nut" - I did history and politics at university and had party political things on the breakfast show - I did something called the Minute Manifesto in the 1992 election and the 1997 election and I thought it would be fun to see what it would be like doing a three-hour talk show.

Ask me again in a couple of weeks and I will let you know if I was right or not. So it wasn't precipitated by Radio 1's music policy it was just precipitated by the fact that I had done it for 15 years and obviously I could have done it for a bit longer but I just thought this would be more fun.

Paul Hardman, Birmingham, UK

Simon, you said on your last day you "Didn't want to do a DLT". Was the switch from Radio 1 to 5 Live something you wanted to do, or something other people convinced you to do? Are you intending to take some of your excellent features from Radio 1 into the new show?

Simon Mayo:

What an astute man you are Paul! It had never occurred to me that this was a thing I wanted to do. But when it was offered to me I sat down and thought it through with friends and colleagues and in general the advice was "Go for it - what have you got to lose".

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See also:

23 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Sir Paul launches new Mayo show
16 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Mayo's Radio 1 farewell
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