If anyone sees Green Day drummer Tre Cool wandering around his North Beach neighborhood this week, be sure to give him a little cuddle. Over in the U.K., the heads of one of Britain's most popular radio stations, Radio 1, have decided that Green Day is no longer worthy of broadcasting. The station's head of music, George Ergatoudis, told Music Week magazine: "The last Green Day project simply wasn't good enough" to play, before (possibly) throwing his head back and cackling like a Bond villain (because that's what mean British people do -- obviously).
This isn't about hating on just Americans. In the same interview, George and his colleague, Nigel Harding (who's Radio 1's music policy director), also passed cruel judgement on some of their country's most popular rock acts. Muse, for example, was talked about like naughty kids getting a time-out. "Their last single was the first one not playlisted by Radio 1 in a
decade," Ergatoudis sighed. "The door remains open to them, but we'll have to think carefully
about their next album."
Now, before we go any further, here are some fun things you should know about the U.K. and its media system. Radio 1 is a BBC station. And the BBC is a public service broadcasting organization. And in the U.K., having media outlets that aren't funded by advertisers is considered so important that -- you probably won't believe this -- if you own a television anywhere in Britain, you have to pay the government an annual license fee of £145.50 ($235-ish), to pay for the BBC to exist. And if you don't pay,
the Queen comes to your house and spanks you you get fined
What this means is, in addition to not having to clutter up its channels with annoying commercials, the BBC is supposed to be a standard-setter for all media in the entire country. The Corporation has six major national radio stations, all geared toward different demographics. Radio 1 is, by-day, pop music and big hitters, and after 7 p.m. goes into specialty and alt-mode. Put simply, it's the BBC's young-people channel.
Now, Radio 1 is a great radio station (especially late at night), thanks in large part to the station's smart and passionate DJs. The problem with the station, however, is that the people running it frequently act like they're deciding on the nation's school curriculum, not merely how many times they should play One Direction and Drake in a day.
Before the Internet, during the 1970s and '80s, Radio 1's influence on British culture was absolutely enormous. Any time the station banned a song, for example, that single would go straight to No. 1 ("Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood being the most famous example). George Ergatoudis' tone in the Music Week
interview suggests that he still believes Radio 1 wields this kind of power. Truthfully, he should be grateful that young people are still listening at all, given how many online alternatives they now have.
In 2013, leaving bands off Radio 1's playlist -- especially when the band in question is as huge as Green Day -- makes very little difference to the band, or its fans. For Ergatoudis to go and talk to a music business publication about this decision like it's actually monumentally important just makes him look pompous and out-of-touch -- which is the opposite of what he thinks he is. So on second thought, don't bother cuddling Tre Cool -- we're pretty sure he and the other members of Green Day aren't going to lose any sleep over this.