I must admit that I’ve just watched Matthew Paris destroying a DAB radio with a sledgehammer with a wry smile – he complains that as a platform it’s restrictive, poor quality and desperately under-supported: and I must say I agree. DAB has for many years been ‘the next big thing‘ and it’s just not… our ‘standard’ is UK specific, it’s already out of date and the DAB set they want you to buy will cease to function the second you take it out of the UK – and even when you’re in the UK you’re lucky even in the largest conurbations if you can find a strong signal.
Of course that’s not even the half of it: the biggest problem with DAB in the UK is the people that run it, DAB is to quote a good friend of mine, the same shit in a different bucket. Other than the ludicrously over-priced-per-listener BBC6 what’s new on DAB? A couple of awful automated stations, and ummm.
Yeah. Nothing else – no strong return to localism and specialism, just the continuation of creeping blandness. What we need is a new approach to radio; radio is in a world now where it’s competing with people who can stream personalised playlists direct to their work computers, where they can carry 50 or 60 thousand songs with little no worries in their iPod will thousands of playlists and genius suggestions ready to fulfil their every entertainment need. OFCOM seem to think that a bland bowl of crap will fight this change in listening habits – they couldn’t be more wrong. There needs to be a complete, radical overhaul of digital radio, it needs to be upgraded and then given hundreds of strands of new content delivered not by mega-conglomerates interested only in ad-revenue, but my real radio people able to balance the financial realities of running a radio station with the passion of local and specialist programming if radio in the UK is going to survive the full transition to digital.
I’m reliving my childhood at the moment, listening to BFBS on a Saturday afternoon while playing with my favourite toy, I’ll admit the toy has changed – it’s now my MacBook rather than my Lego, but I’m struck by how little has actually changed: this is still a radio station playing a really wide selection of music: not pandering to the chart or stuck so deep in the Labrini girl past that it sounds the same every day.
BFBS was really the first radio station I properly listened to; I learnt about timing, talking up to vocals and trimming jingles, the technical stuff I practiced over and over in my bedroom. But more importantly than that I learnt a key aspect of good radio – personality matters. ‘That was – This is’ radio dominates the dial these days, the only place you don’t hear it generally is tiny indies and the BBC, my issue with this is that there’s now no stepping stone from the indies to the mainstream, and the BBC are slowing replacing radio talent with celebrity and thinking that it’s the same thing.
Radio is a technical medium: the very best in the business have always been technically superb – whether it’s Kenny Everett, Noel Edmonds, Chris Tarrant, Bruno Brookes or Tommy Vance – all of them have one thing in common, they were superb producers who knew their kit, who understood timing and who could blend entertainment with technical interest in both the studio production and the music itself.
Radio should make you smile, it shouldn’t just be about cramming in a liner card read before thumping out another set of adverts. Automation is often blamed for this, but the computer playing the music isn’t the cause – it’s laziness and a dogma like format that’s created slaves to the playlist. You can’t listen to commercial radio now without hearing songs cut short, vocals crashed and links rushed; the talent these days is fading away – and once it’s gone so will the ability to learn from it. So stand up for your local radio stations, get involved and don’t put up with generic gobs on sticks who don’t entertain you and don’t care about the importance of being technically good.
It’s with the deepest sadness that I’ve just learned of the death of Chairman Humph. Humphrey Lyttelton died today at the age of 86, and we’re all mourning his passing: radio four and modern jazz will never be the same again.
So as the bumblebee of time crashes into the paddling pool of fate we say goodnight to chairman humph, long may he be remembered
More sad news this morning as it was announced that dear old fluff freeman had passed away, I have many happy memories of him, and he’s yet another legend lost from our airwaves.
Posted in Radio
And so another broadcasting legend has passed, it was with great sadness that today we were told of the death of Nick Clarke; he’s always been such a consummate broadcaster, and in a industry where it seems nowadays you have to be brutally boorish just to get a foot in the door he stood out as someone who was a great broadcaster in his own right, a beautiful voice and a incisive mind that put most journalists to shame… He’ll be sadly missed.
Posted in Radio
Spotted this in Media Guardian today, headlining a story about how Capital is hemorrhaging listeners, and I couldn’t help but giggle at the photo, I mean how long is it since the radio cafe closed? When did capital last use that logo? Are we actually using a photo that’s about 10 years old? – Come on Media Guardian, do try harder!
Went out this lunchtime with some radio chums from the station Dave lovingly referred to as “the evil ones”, hopefully this new found chumminess will lead to a new radio gig, it’s about time I did something different in radio, so I’m looking forward to finding out more about what the opportunities are at this particular radio station. More to come about that soon.
In other news, business is booming once again, the good times are back – and with that comes all the fun and games of running hardware, sorting out invoices, banks, and all the other shit that goes with running a business… loving every minute of it frankly..
Oh, and I heard a great rumour about myself today, which I couldn’t help but have a giggle about, apparently I’m presenting on a radio station t’up north, and I’ve recently been fined by the radio authority for saying “bollocks” on air:
Just to clear that up I haven’t been on the radio t’up north for over 6 months, and I’ve never sworn on air… and the radio authority wouldn’t fine me, they’d fine the radio station, so there, sorry to piss on the bonfire – still it’s nice to be talked about.
Posted in Radio
Somebody just said “Fuck” on radio 4’s Today programme – to put it in context they were talking about a book, in which the word “fuck” appears on the cover, and throughout the book, but still… It does seem strange when the calming and dulcet tones of radio 4 are interrupted by the word “fuck”, not that I have a problem with “fuck” (it’s one of my favourite words) but it just sounded so out of place.
Fuck is such a versatile word though, you can use fuck as an adjective, as a noun and as just about every other pre and suffix in the English language, and it’s only the British who manage to use “fuck” as such a versatile word, the American’s really don’t get it, they use it, but when they do it loses all it’s classiness. It’s a bit like bollocks, another archetypally British word, don’t we have such a fantastic langauge?
Posted in Radio
Tagged Fuck, Language, Radio
Many years ago I used to like Steve Wright, when he used to do the afternoon show on Radio 1, I was young: I can only apologise…
Then he moved to Breakfast, where he was crap, right royally crap, and was rightfully replaced by gingernuts, I’m not quite finished confessing though, so don’t go away (in best “dj” voice) Then I would occasionally catch Steve Wright on radio 2, which I didn’t think was too bad, not as much of the sycophantic crap, half decent guests, and music that wasn’t all that bad if you could excuse the occasional odd song. But more recently I’ve had Steve Wright invade my personal radio space, the radio I didn’t want changing, and I talk of late night radio 4, when it becomes the world service for a few short hours in the morning…
And as much as I’ve tried, I hate it: It’s crap, him on his own, being the worst smashy and nicey stereotype imaginable, canned laughter, obviously pre-recorded interviews, big gaps, crap selection of music and what makes it most offensive is that it’s in the middle of the world service – what should be quiet news and information, soothing deep voices telling me about world affairs has been replaced by the worst mix of old and modern music voiced-over by an obnoxious dj… *gah*
Danger Danger, High Voltage… I told you it would happen, and now it’s landed, it’s infectious, it’s hilarious, and it’s all over the place: I guarantee you that flashing bra’s and jockstraps will be all over the country by summer as Electric Six bring Danger Danger, High Voltage to the UK!
Posted in Radio
Tagged Music, Radio