Nolan can be shouty and sensationalist but his shows are compelling

Morning View
Morning View

Whatever you think about Stephen Nolan (and few people are either unaware of the broadcaster or, if they are aware, neutral about him), he has been a one-man force in local television and radio.

Nolan came to prominence with his evening chatshow slot on the radio station CityBeat, and then moved to Radio Ulster, where he brought alive the slot after the 9am news.

In a way Nolan represents a phenomenon that a traditional newspaper like this should deplore, representing sensation over dull but important fact-based reportage.

He also has a shouty tendency to simplify issues and bully powerful entities into explaining themselves on his show, or be mocked for their ‘silence’. This can mean people in authority go to him before less aggressive media.

But the relationship between Nolan and power is finding its own equilibrium. Some bodies stay away from his programmes — the DUP and Sinn Fein for example.

That the two big parties can do this yet his shows still thrive is testimony to Nolan’s appeal. Audiences know his shows will be a mix of knock-about and serious stuff.

However some abuse directed at Nolan on social media has been sinister, and much of it comes from republican anonymous twitter accounts: so-called Shinnerbots.

NI’s media output must be much more than Nolan but he gets people talking about current affairs and has earned his place in the local conversation.