Sex and Radio 1
Andy is a bathroom fitter. He's young - a keen Radio 1 listener with a wife and two small children. I spent some time with him recently - not because he's doing my bathroom - but because I went to talk to him while he was doing a job near Basingstoke and I wanted to get his thoughts on what we do journalistically.
Broadly, he's a fan, but one thing does make him very angry.
Your editorial line - he said, accusingly - is promoting sex. "You are always going on about STI's, condoms and safe sex... and giving the impression everyone's doing it with multiple partners. But you don't talk about monogamy or abstinence!"
This got me thinking: sex is one of the Radio 1's audience key concerns; with the western world's highest rates of teen pregnancies, huge rises in STI's and spiralling depression - often caused by relationship or self image issues - it's hardly surprising we get more listener interaction on these issues than any other. The appetite for these stories is huge.
So am I some sort of latter-day Paul Raymond - presiding over a sleazy world of promiscuity and porn, surrounded by page 3 wannabes whilst signing up kiss-and-tell stories to shame the News of the World? No, clearly not. That never has been or will be, part of the brief (no pun intended).
But what we are providing is public service information in any area where many young people feel they are seriously uninformed. The reality is that for many of our audience, sex - often risky, sometimes disastrous - is a regular part of their lives.
It's not our job, I believe, to preach, to stand in judgement or to make moral judgements. It's not a role I seek or am qualified to do - nor would my staff want to. It is our job to make the best information available to our young listeners aged in their late teens and early twenties so they can make informed choices if they wish to. We even have a specialist youth health reporter, Helen Neill, to help us to address this editorial area with real focus.
I said this to Andy - he thought for a bit and said, smiling, "but you could tell them about abstinence and being faithful to one person couldn't you? There are some young people like that, you know".
Maybe he's got a point.
(PS: Click here to find out more about Radio 1's 'Bare All' campaign.)