It’s a loss. Unquestionably. But that in itself is puzzling. People come in and out of our lives all the time. We move on.
Shaun has been part of my life since 2009, when I first picked up a DAB radio from an Amazon flash sale. We’d not had DAB for long up here in the North. People still talked of transitor radios and turning on the wireless. Thankfully he knew that.
When I tuned to 6music for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it’d be for me. I was the target audience and liked the music. But what about the presenters? Where would they fit on the popular music spectrum that extends from Radio One at one end to, I suppose, Radio 2 at another?
The truth is they fit perfectly in that middle space. Friendly, but too much. Knowledgeable, but not as the expense of interest. Popular, but without sacrificing substance in favour of style, or even a broader audience.
This applies to Shaun more than most.
He’s been a mainstay of my time listening to the station, and one of the reasons the dial has barely shifted – and certainly not for anything other than a temporary aural excursion. Middle aged shout outs have made me smile for years – in fact from long before they seemed like they could be written to describe my own life.
Presenters have been and gone on 6. The loss of some has been felt more than others, but genuinely, I feel bereft at losing Shaun. The closest I’ve got to feeling like this previously was when Adam and Joe went their separate ways. Even that was different. Their departure was elongated. We kept hoping for a return. With Shaun we know we’re not getting that.
If we are honest with ourselves, we probably knew that the move from breakfast marked the beginning of the end; a changing of the guard. Being the consummate professional, Shaun has given his all to the afternoon slot, but his wit and dour and deadpan, yet enthusiastic observations on life never felt like they were quite in the right place.
Like a shark swimming, confused, into a British harbour town, Shaun was edged from the place he should be, and was doing his level best to see it positively.
As yet, we don’t know what Shaun’s next radiomove will be. I am hoping beyond hope this is simply because of his current contractual obligations to the Beeb. Rockanory suggests a link up with Absolute Radio. Perhaps that’s a more comfortable fit in 2021.
Because that’s the other thing. Six is changing. We are hearing more diverse voices, covering a more eclectic mix of music than a station that previously had its foundations firmly in the British rock and indie scenes. This is undoubtedly a good thing.
But change is uncomfortable. We crave the familiar, and there is nothing more familiar that the sound of a warm, welcoming northerner somehow achieving that trickiest of tasks and making their show sound like it is being broadcast just for you.
I’ll be sticking with the new 6. I like the music they play and enjoy listening to fresh voices playing fresh sounds. It’s one of the few things that still makes me feel young.
The startling this about that is that with each day that passes, it is less true. Eventually that means I’ll no longer be target audience and I’ll have to find a new home. Right now, I’m not prepared to take that step. Though I might venture out to wherever Shaun W Keaveny does sit himself down, with a gentle sigh. After all, I know it’ll be familiar and welcoming, wherever it is.
For now I’ll end with a simple thank you. Thanks Shaun. Thanks Matt. Thanks to the whole team for making me feel at home for the last nine years. The self-deprecation and belly laughs really did help.
Keep up the work.