The long-planned NME radio station has set a launch date of June 2nd. Or, rather, it hasn't, it's set a launch date of June 24th, but will be doing "test transmissions" prior to those dates.
Still, they've got a big name signed up: Ricky Gervais. He's signed up for a two-hour programme. Just the one, mind, although they look set to play it again and again.
Gervais is a slightly odd choice for the show - admittedly, he was a big hit on XFM and then with his podcasts, but even when he was on XFM the music was hardly the key factor in the mix. And is Gervais all that NME? Eddie Izzard - we could understand him being chosen; or the Mighty Boosh. But Ricky look-I'm-having-a-laugh-with-Bono Gervais? Ricky Night-at-the-Museum Gervais? It's not even as if he's at the top of his game any more - indeed, if he was, chances are he'd be too busy to be NME's launch monkey.
And should it be a comedian anyway? If the NME is meant to be IPC's way of owning music, why is it launching with a big splash with a comedy bloke?
Actually, what does it say about the confidence in the team that, effectively, the launch message is 'we don't think any of our regular stuff is strong enough to be of interest, so we've hired in some entertainers to get us going'?
There's a reason that Gervais has been persuaded to take part - it looks like a called-in favour:
"Hearing Ricky, Steve and Karl in action again will no doubt keep me on my toes," he declared.
"I used to bury myself hearing Ricky and Steve on air in 1997, fearing we would lose our licence each time they went on," he continued. Having Karl on board has only made matters worse. I look forward to some compelling radio."
What better way to launch a brand-new radio show than reviving an eleven year-old programme. We hear Round The Horne is going to be on at lunchtimes.