I know exactly why Jeremy Hunt MP did this, and so do his sniggering colleagues.
Jeremy Hunt loves BBC Surrey by nickwallis
But that doesn't mean it isn't strange and wonderful to have your name mentioned by a Secretary of State in the House of Commons.
He said: "There are numerous examples which we've heard this afternoon, across the country, of where BBC Local Radio has filled a gap that would not have been filled by anything else, and I think in line with what other Hon. Members have said I do need to mention the excellent work done by BBC Surrey, which I visited recently, including the excellent Nick Wallis breakfast show." - Jeremy Hunt MP, Thu 1 Dec, 2011.
The mention, whilst extremely welcome, was gratuitous. Members of Parliament know that if they namecheck a specific local newspaper in the House of Commons there is a 99.9% chance they will appear in the paper they have mentioned (probably with a photo), and the coverage of their mention will almost certainly be favourable.
I haven't heard the full debate on BBC Local Radio that led to Jeremy Hunt mentioning my name, but as he infers in the above clip, his parliamentary colleagues were almost certainly queuing up to mention their local radio station because they knew by doing so, they would make the bulletins on the radio stations they mentioned. Hence the knowing laughs in the background when Jeremy Hunt mentioned BBC Surrey.
It's not a conscious or pre-meditated "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours", nor does the extended coverage of the mention come from any pathetic sense of gratefulness on behalf of the publication or media outlet which gets its brief moment in the spotlight. It's just the way these things work.
If someone who has a high profile endorses your work it is likely that people who already like you will be interested in it. Report it. Make a trail using it. Put it on the cover of your book or your billboard, RT it on twitter. Write an article about it. Anyone in this situation who gets all bashful is a fool.
The important thing to note is why my name was mentioned by a Secretary of State in the House of Commons. Although it may have been done for cynical reasons, it didn't happen spontaneously.
The debate in the chamber was about the future of BBC Local Radio, and it was called by the veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell. He has concerns about the scale of cuts an internal BBC review (called Delivering Quality First or DQF) is going to impose on BBC Local Radio. Where did his concerns come from? Not out of thin air.
Since I started doing my show, I have been in regular contact with an extraordinarily committed listener who goes by the name of Darcy Sarto. He is passionate, articulate and very funny, and he cares an awful lot about BBC Local Radio. In his spare time he is involved with a group called the BBC Local Radio Forum, which has lobbied incessantly to get all the people who say they care about BBC Local Radio to do something about it. He is very well aware of the potential implications of DQF for local radio, and he sees it as his business, as a licence-fee payer and listener, to be an advocate for BBC Local Radio.
Whilst chatting (off air) with Darcy about DQF, I suggested the biggest problem that BBC Local Radio had was not enough movers and shakers listen to it. For many and varied reasons, a lot of influential people listen to BBC Radio 4 and/or 5live.
If there were a "Listen to BBC Local Radio Day", which simply asked everyone to try their local BBC station for a few moments, whether it be MPs, local councillors, charity bigwigs, NHS chief executives, police chiefs, business owners, shop workers, commuters, schoolteachers, mums, kids, celebrities, whoever - then it would raise the profile of BBC Local Radio, prove to people who'd never listened what a vital job BBC Local Radio does and it might even get us a few more regular listeners. It would also be something that the BBC hierarchy could get behind - why wouldn't they support a listener-generated campaign to ask everyone to tune in to BBC Local Radio?
Darcy agreed and suggested the date - Thu 1 Dec - the birthdate of the founder of BBC Local Radio, Frank Gillard. Poetically resonant and conveniently within the timescale of the current BBC Trust consultation into DQF. Perfect.
I am ashamed to say I did very little thereafter. Darcy and his friends did all the running - they got to enough MPs to get the debate called, and they ensured that the biggest news story coming out of DQF was the effect it may have on local radio. It won some significant public statements from people within the BBC, not least Mark Thompson, the Director General, and Caroline Thomson, the Chief Operating Officer who told the Voice of the Listener and Viewer group that the BBC had been "surprised" by the response to the Local Radio proposals.
Before we go any further, I need to state, for the record, that I have no opinion on DQF, nor on the way the BBC chooses to go about setting its budgets. I know that if there is a reprieve for BBC Local Radio, some other department will lose out. It's not my place to pontificate even if I did have an opinion.
If, however, you have a view on BBC Local Radio, and you want that view to count, please contact the BBC Trust. They are reviewing the proposals in DQF, and as a licence-fee payer, what you have to say will make a difference.
Here's the link. You have until 21 Dec 2011 to make your contribution. Please spread the word.
In the event, not many MPs attended today's debate, but the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, given his brief, was more or less obliged to do so. I have no idea of his real feelings on BBC Local Radio. Although he says I'm "excellent", I have no idea how many hours (minutes? seconds?) of my show he has listened to.
But he knew he would hear lots of other MPs talk passionately about their radio station, and so he made sure, at the very least, that he knew my name.
And please be in no doubt that however cynical I may seem, it was rather thrilling to hear it said in such a rarified setting.