Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Nolan in radio battle with himself

By Lesley-Anne Henry

He's long been boasting about hosting the biggest radio show in the country.

Now there is finally some tough competition for outspoken king of the airwaves Stephen Nolan - himself.

The Belfast-born shock jock has been going head-to-head with his own phone-in show while he stands in for Victoria Derbyshire on Radio Five Live.

It's the second time the presenter, who already has his own weekend talk show on Five Live, has taken over the prime time BBC network slot, which directly clashes with his hugely popular Radio Ulster programme.

During a previous stint on the Victoria Derbyshire show in August Nolan was out on the ground covering the Manchester riots when a pre-recorded interview was aired in Northern Ireland, meaning his distinctive voice could be heard on two separate stations at the same time.

The presenter has always insisted he would be torn if forced to choose whether or not to move to England permanently.

He already presents his Monday morning Radio Ulster programme from Manchester and is expected to be commissioned for more television programmes during the next 12 months.

Although he declined to speak publicly about his heavy workload, BBC sources have said Nolan thrives on the challenge of working on both stations.

"He enjoys the challenge of covering international stories he can get his teeth into while working on Five Live," one colleague said.

Figures from audience measurement body Rajar (Radio Joint Audio Research), which were released in the summer, put Nolan well ahead of any other radio show here with an average weekly audience of 138,000.

His closest rival was the BBC's flagship Good Morning Ulster, which had 104,000 listeners a week.

Profile

Stephen Nolan started his radio career at the Belfast commercial station, Citybeat. He was later poached by the BBC and has been presenting The Nolan Show since 2003. In 2005 he was also given a phone-in show on BBC Radio Five Live.

The outspoken presenter has won 12 Sony awards, including seven gold.

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