THE problem with journalists is they think they are experts on everything. Give a hack a newspaper column and he (it’s usually a he) will think he can run the country. Indeed, the UK is currently undergoing a real-time experiment to test that very hypothesis (the answer so far, forgive me for editorialising, is not well).

From newspaper to broadcaster isn’t quite so large a leap, so perhaps it should be no surprise that Times Radio, launched on Monday morning at 6am, with Aasmah Mir, formerly of the BBC, and Stig Abell, who has both the Times Literary Supplement and The Sun on his CV) in the driving seat, arrived with a sense of safe-handed competence.

The big coup was getting an interview with Boris Johnson, someone who, of course, was fired by the Times newspaper for making quotes up. Lying, I think that’s called.

Nothing much has changed. Johnson gave us his usual empty bluff, bluster and baloney over new spending plans and the shake-up of the civil service. “Briefing against Sir Mark Sedwill? Not me, guv.” (That might not be an entirely accurate quote, but if it’s good enough for the PM … )

Mir and Abell pushed Johnson a little, but not too much. You don’t want to alienate the PM first time round, I guess.

Read More: Can new thinking come from familiar voices

Still, a solid start, but listening to its first day did give a clear insight into the challenges Times Radio will face. First of all, it feels more than a little south of England in its tone (because that’s where most of its contributors are), and it is overly obsessed with politics (albeit politics as it happens in Westminster and Whitehall and not Holyrood or Stormont). How it will deal with a big international story remains to be seen.

Plus, does it have to be so newsy? Newspapers can sometimes be guilty of believing that readers are primarily interested in the op-ed pages, yet most of us buy them for the crossword, the sport and the TV listings.

And maybe most problematic, after a while it did begin to sound like just another talking shop. There is life outside the broadcasting studio, after all. Even in the middle of a pandemic.

Listen Out For: James Naughtie’s Letter to America, BBC World Service, 6.50pm

In the first of eight essays, the veteran broadcaster reflects on where the United States is now.