Cash out

For over ten years now, I have been a big fan of the Radio 5 Live programme Up All Night. Broadcasting between 1am and 5am, Up All Night is a gift to nightowls, students, truck drivers, and anyone else who might find themselves awake at these unsociable hours.

One of the real highlights has been Cash Peters’s ‘Lovely Slot’. The slot was ostensibly about US TV, but it was more often about Cash Peters’s crazy anecdotes about living in Los Angeles.

It was brilliantly entertaining radio. Cash Peters is a loud and colourful speaker, and somehow had amazingly funny and witty things to say about LA life every week. No doubt, he can’t have been everyone’s cup of tea. But I would always sit up in my bed to listen. So many times I have tried to drift off to sleep with the radio on in the background, only to be thwarted by Cash Peters!

The slot was made all the more brilliant by the fact that it was anchored by Rhod Sharp. He is perfectly cheerful, but more proper and BBC-like. Rhod Sharp had terrible trouble keeping Cash Peters on the topic of US TV, which was all part of the fun. They seem like chalk and cheese characters, but had built up a great rapport over the years.

The problem, for me at least, was that the slot was broadcast at 2.40am on a Wednesday morning. Since I stopped being a student bum and got myself a job, that has become just about the least accessible time for me. So I have heard very little of Cash Peters’s lovely slot over the past couple of years.

Some insomnia brought about by the Christmas holiday meant that this week, for the first time in a very long time, I was awake to listen to Cash Peters. So imagine my shock to learn that it was the very last edition of the slot.

Even though I almost never managed to listen to it, I am deeply saddened that the slot has now finished. It was a real bright spot in the radio schedules; a reminder that radio can be risky, different and even — gasp — entertaining. It will no doubt make way for something bland and compliant.

Cash Peters has written an account of 15 years doing his lovely slot. It’s long but well worth a read.

How little the slot was actually about TV has been underlined by the revelation that Cash Peters didn’t even own a TV when he first began the slot, and seemingly doesn’t care much for TV anyway. In a way, it is incredible that the slot lasted 15 years in the first place.

It sounds as though Cash Peters will try to get an independent podcast off the ground, which is great news. (I could never quite understand why Cash Peters’s slot wasn’t offered up as a podcast as some Up All Night segments are.)

Rhod Sharp has also hinted that Cash Peters will be back on Up All Night in the new year doing something different. Let’s hope it happens.

In the meantime, here is a video Rhod Sharp has posted of the two of them meeting face-to-face for the first time to look back on 15 years of broadcasting brilliance.

Update: Part two of Rhod Sharp’s interview with Cash Peters.

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