England’s smallest county has been rocked by news that one of it’s favourite radio disc jockeys is to have a government banning order slapped on him.
Roberto Persani has been broadcasting to Rutland and Stamford for just over seventeen years and currently anchors the hugely popular Rutland Radio breakfast show between 0600 and 1100 every day. Usually, this unassuming pillar of the community has cut an uncontroversial figure but in recent years, in the run-up to Christmas, he has unfortunately taken to tunelessly singing ‘Sleeps To Santa’, twice every weekday morning and to add insult to injury has now invited DJ Newbie, Joseph ‘Bad Boy’ Begley, to sing along with him every Saturday.
Declaring that ‘the people of Rutland have suffered enough’, local celebrity author, Sir Gerald Rennett, started a local protest group, attracting so much popular interest that the issue was discussed at a special meeting of Rutland County Council, held in Oakham Museum this month. Sir Gerry of Burley, as he is commonly known, famous for such marvellous works of fiction as The Returning, Telstar and the political best-selling short story Hanging Day has been reported as saying that Roberto’s radio audience had already been battered by terrible Terry Wogan impressions, videos of Rebel Persani and Bad Boy Begley ‘dressing’ Christmas Trees and even the sight of a scantily dressed Roberto lounging in a deckchair outside the Oakham Studio during Rutland Radio’s ‘Beach Week’. “Enough is enough,” thundered Sir Gerry during the interview. “Rutland is home to old, frail and easily confused people as a quick glance into any Council meeting will immediately show you, and they need protection from what I understand are known as ‘Shock Jock broadcasting tactics.”
However, help is now at hand for the hapless Rutlanders. A Change 38 petition, last week, achieved the requisite number of signatures to compel Parliament to debate the issue and the protest group, headed by Sir Gerry, RATS, (Rutlanders Against Tuneless Singing) are confident that a banning order will soon issue. Senior political sources have privately admitted that they listened in to one of the Sleeps To Santa sessions, online, and found it ‘profoundly disturbing’. Conversely, the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, told the Shadow Cabinet that he ‘rather enjoyed it’, thus confirming a widely held view that whilst the leader of the Opposition may have the full six-pack, he is definitely lacking the plastic thingy that holds it all together.
As for the eponymous Shock Jock himself, Roberto admits that he’s bewildered by his new-found notoriety. “I’d been reliably informed, by Sir Gerry, that he represented exactly one-third of my total listenership,” he said, rubbing his hair-piece in amazement. “To find that 100,000 people across the UK have heard my singing is a bit like the X-Factor, Strictly and Bake-Off all rolled into one. It’s a dream come true!”
A dream for some maybe. A nightmare for the rest of us.