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LBC's Iain Dale keeps 'black book' of banned guests and says Nigel Farage is 'very good broadcaster'

LBC presenter Iain Dale has said he has a “little black book” containing the names of people he will not have as guests on his talk radio show, with Tommy Robinson among them.

Dale was speaking alongside fellow LBC presenter James O’Brien at a question and answer session hosted by Lisa Aziz, a presenter on the new LBC News station, at a media event in London this afternoon.

“Everyone has a different line to draw on freedom of speech,” said Dale, who hosts a three-hour show from 7pm Monday to Thursday on LBC.

“I have a little black book of people who I won’t have on [my show] and every time I get a new producer they have to learn that list.”

Dale did not reveal who had made the list, but said Tommy Robinson was someone he would not allow on air with him as a result of the English Defence League founder’s views.

But he said it was different for elected politicians, with Dale having previously interviewed former British National Party leader Nick Griffin who spent five years as MEP until 2014.

“With elected politicians, I don’t think you can no-platform [them], even if they are very objectionable,” he said, although he admitted there “are politicians I wouldn’t want on”.

Press Gazette asked Dale and O’Brien what they thought about sharing a platform with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

LBC presenters Iain Dale and James OBrien talk on a panel at Mindshare Huddle in central London on 14 November 2019. Picture: Press Gazette

The politician has his own hour-long show on the station from 6pm Monday to Thursday and 10am on Sundays, but is on hiatus during the election campaign.

O’Brien said he doesn’t like sharing a platform Farage and has never heard his show, which began broadcasting on LBC in 2017.

But Dale, who said he had known Farage for about a decade and considered him a “great character”, said the politician is a “very good broadcaster”, whatever people think of his views.

“He can do the radio bits: going up to the news, teasing ahead,” said Dale, unlike some other political figures who had come in to do demos for LBC.

Dale said Farage’s interview with US President Donald Trump, which aired last month, had been a “legitimate scoop”.

“He got six genuine news stories out of that,” Dale said, with the interview making headlines across the UK news media.

“It gave LBC more publicity than any other thing we have probably ever done. That is what Nigel Farage has brought to LBC.”

But Dale said there were people on radio that he could not listen to, pointing to “shock jocks who rant on for hours” about topics like immigration.

O’Brien said he believed LBC presenters “need to start admitting when we are wrong more,” adding that “standing up and saying you are wrong” went some way to diffusing the problem of echo chambers.

He also said there should be a Corbyn supporter among LBC’s presenting line-up because even though he is regarded as politically left – although he says he does not think so much in those terms – “I can’t get the leader of the Labour party to talk to me for love nor money”.

“It might be nice to have someone who is putting out the case for Corbyn,” he said.

Dale revealed that he knew of “two or three people who are known for being ‘Corbynistas’ who demoed [for LBC] and they couldn’t cut it”.

He also said he was aware of three ethnic minority women had been offered jobs at the station but turned them down “because it wasn’t right for them at the time”.

O’Brien also spoke of the problem of “false equivalence” in broadcast journalism, where two sides of a story are presented even when the facts strongly support one side against the other, and took aim at the BBC’s coverage of climate change in recent years.

The pair were speaking at the annual Mindshare Huddle in central London.

LBC is part of Global, which also owns Heart, Capital and Classic FM. LBC has 2.2m weekly listeners, according to the latest RAJAR audience figures.

Picture: LBC

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