James Blunt banned by radio station 'to give listeners a rest'
By Ciar Byrne, Media Correspondent, 29 May 2006
A radio station has responded to James Blunt's suggestion that anyone who does not like his music should simply switch off the radio, by banning his tracks from the
In a move that may be closely monitored by other stations, Essex FM announced that from today it would no longer play Blunt's hits "You're Beautiful" and "Goodbye My Lover".
The GCap Media station said it was responding to recent audience research, which revealed that listeners had tired of Blunt's distinctive sound.
"Quite often there will be popular artists that people are starting to grow weary of. This time, the number of specific comments about James Blunt were more than we have ever seen for one particular artist," Chris Cotton, the programme controller, said. "It was quite staggering. People said, 'Can you get rid of him?' 'Can you ban him?' Even people who say they are fans of his songs go on to express that they're sick of it."
Initially, the station will ban Blunt for a few days while eliciting feedback. But early indications suggest listeners are happy with the decision.
When the station announced its intention to ban the singer, the switchboard was inundated.
"The amount of feedback is enormous, so it looks like there'll be a pretty long-term ban," Mr Cotton said. "This does tend to happen when artists reach a certain level of popularity, when it becomes wall-to-wall coverage.
"He has a unique sound and is an honest songwriter. That's the sort of combination that makes someone stand out, but people also tend to tire of that sound.We don't have anything against James Blunt and we're pleased he has been so successful, but we really need a break."While his songs have been very popular, there is a tremendous amount of industry pressure to play certain artists frequently. Often this can be out of step with the audience's tastes, which results in songs being overplayed. We're happy to stand up to this pressure. We encourage other radio stations to take the same step."
Blunt's music has been labelled too bland by many people, but last week he was given the music industry seal of approval when he won two Ivor Novello awards.
"You're Beautiful" was voted international hit of the year and most performed work at the ceremony, which recognises songwriting talent.
Accepting his award, Blunt said: "To all those bastards who don't like my music - you're all adults, you can switch your radio off."
I have done that a long time ago, you knob!