Presenter Profile – Load of Bull’s Karen & Luke

Luke Crawford and Karen Bayley are Brum Radio’s dynamic duo who take a sideways and irreverent look at Birmingham life in their weekly show ‘Load of Bull’ which goes out every Tuesday between 5-6pm (UK time) and there’s also a podcast. Have a read below about them, their show and their other thoughts…

How did you get to know each other?

Luke: We met when I attended Karen’s stand-up comedy course at the Mac in Birmingham. It was all laughs and friendship from day one. We just clicked – like Ant and Dec, Morecambe and Wise and little Jimmy Krankie and the other one.

Where did the idea for Load of Bull come from?

We both love Birmingham and feel hugely proud and protective of it. We both find ourselves defending the city and its accent as we travel around the country for work and play. So many brilliant things and people have hailed from Birmingham and we wanted to celebrate them. From the Jewellery Quarter to the Bullring, from UB40 to Beverley Knight. We wanted to celebrate the lot!

We also noticed that so many local radio stations were becoming less local and no longer were they getting behind Brum and Brummies, which was something we wanted to change. We also do chat a lot of bull and with Birmingham’s mascot being a bull, what better name could there be for the show?

The show is very positive about Birmingham and ‘of’ the city. How important is it that Brum shouts about itself more?

With radio becoming less local we felt a call to action and wanted to change this, so we did. We created a show that celebrates Birmingham, its people and everything it has to offer. We’re always interested to hear the everyday stories of Brummies and get behind the initiatives and successes that they create. If we don’t shout about Brum, who else will? Birmingham is an amazing city, its vibrant and steeped in culture. It deserves to be on the world stage!

Has a show with a very positive attitude been important to put out for people during the pandemic?

We’ve loved being able to broadcast throughout the pandemic. It’s allowed us a lifeline and escapism and hopefully it’s provided our audiences with this too. It’s been a chance to forget about the real world and continue to celebrate the amazing resilience and optimism of the city. We hope our silliness and randomness has lifted people’s spirits in the same way that it’s lifted ours. But let’s not forget Karen’s rants. She can’t keep positive for that long!

How has the pandemic been for you both personally? For Karen as a vaccination volunteer and for Luke with a wedding to plan, amongst other things?

Luke: The pandemic has been tough going. Cutting family ties and staying home just isn’t in my nature. I, as well as most people, am a social creature and it’s just not in my nature to isolate. I’ve been hugely proud and amazed at how people have pulled through in the face of so many challenges. I was supposed to get married in 2020 and so those plans were halted and moved to the summer of 2021. I’ve been lucky really – lots of people have had to rearrange big events numerous times.

Karen: It’s been hard, really hard. Losing my job from day one has been really hard on my mental health. As a comedian, I am always away weekends, up and down the country. During the first lockdown I was in bed by 8pm. But vaccinating has been fun, and a way to keep busy and make a contribution to people getting back to normal, whatever that is.

Both of you come from teaching backgrounds. Is doing the show a kind of release from that world?

Luke: It’s a huge release! I adore teaching but my first ever passion was for radio, hosting my first show on Birmingham’s BRMB aged just 20. I love talking and entertaining and actually find so much content from my work in schools. It’s also been brilliant for stand-up comedy as well providing a lot of content for our radio show! Radio allows for personality where school doesn’t always. I feel very lucky to be able to educate and entertain!

Karen: Whilst I don’t teach anymore, I do however see this an extension of my comedy career. It’s great to be on air and make each other laugh.