Category Archives: Radio

Long Wave Is The Home Of Hit Music

long wave is the home of hit music - atlantic 252 - long wave radio from irelandHappy September to you.

Today is the 15th anniversary (I think) of the launch of the now defunct Atlantic 252. I only mention this because it strikes me that the radio landscape in the UK has changed dramatically since it launched. I am no expert but, if I recall, there was something about DJ’s having to stand-up when presenting (which made it sound very American). Gary King was the first voice (Mine is the first voice you will ever hear…on Atlantic 252) but I remember it for Charlie Wolfe and Dusty Rhodes (whose web site I can no longer find) and was Rusty Nails a presenter or did I make that up? It was pop music on very heavy rotation, small amounts of talk and this hiss and crackle of long wave. In 1989 it was exciting and different and, the fact it was really are Irish radio station, gave the feel of a pirate broadcaster. Long wave really was the home of hit music (even if only for a little while).

And for Atlantic 252 fans, a couple of quick links:

Long wave radio Atlantic 252: Born 1st September 1989. Ceased transmission 20th December 2001.

On this day…

2006: Technology Overkill?
2003: Listen to Musak in August
2003: Now Reading
2002: The Joy of September

Digital Radio Lust

Adot’s Notblog discussed the concept of tivo for radio a few Fridays ago. This reminded me that only last weekend I had picked up a leaflet for Pure Digital’s Bug in a store. You will be aware of my love of radio and my delight at Pure’s other products: the Evoke-1 and the Tempus-1 (actually, I never mentioned that I also have a Tempus-1). The Bug looks cool (it’s designed by Wayne Hemingway) and has a host of features (including some recording capabilities and radio rewind). I am not sure if I’ll actually invest in it (given I am running out of rooms to put digital radios in) but I will be keeping an eye out on the products that Pure come up with. I think Pure (or Imagination Technologies as they are also known) have some really imaginative products of high quality. They only lack one thing in their range: I wish they’d come up with a small, nicely priced portable radio that included FM for times when you can’t get DAB reception.

Elsewhere: Here’s my comment on notblog:

I know it’s not for the car and it’s not available in the US but Pure Digital’s ‘The Bug’ has those features for the UK digital radio market. It’s designed by Wayne Hemmingway (of the Red or Dead fashion label). Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these (or – at least – one of the other Pure models with the same feature) for exactly the reasons you point out.

Posted by: Jon on May 28, 2004 08:04 AM

archived here

On this day…

No other posts on this day.

It’s A Takeover

As each day goes by I have a new found respect for the talents of Chris Moyles on the Radio One breakfast show. I’ve noted before that he’s the first presenter in a long time to get me to switch back to Radio One but almost everyday I find myself hooked into something about the show in a way I haven’t been hooked on the radio for a long time.

I’ve worked in radio. I understand the ‘magic’ of the medium. I know not to believe everything but sometimes, with Moyles, I wonder. His spontaneity seems so genuine and so well-done it is – almost – believable. I have a new-found respect for his talents as a broadcaster and, as very show passes, I see why he’s where he is.

Last Friday I was listening as he trailed the Radio One 10-hour Takeover that happened on Monday. I was almost sucked into the belief that, on the spur of the moment he decided to try the system but my understanding of the medium knew that it was unlikely. The beauty of the web is that now you can find out how it was pre-planned and read all about the technology behind it. Hopefully, and I say this meaning no disrespect to Matt, not to many people will read it and the magic will be maintained. In a similar way I hope not too many read the next part of this post so the mystery can be maintained.

I have to say that the concept of the 10-hour takeover is nothing new and, in many places, it’s as well staged as Moyles pretending to try to break the system without any planning. Most radio stations have some “you say it, we play it” mentality at some point of the day. In fact, my parents received some calls for Beacon By Request years ago when their home ‘phone number was similar to that of Beacon’s Shrewsbury call-in line. Digital station, Core, claims to be driven by listener’s requests (and will even text you back to say that song is being played).

Depending on the size of the station and the number of listeners at any one time the whole listener jukebox is, most likely, something of a con. There are so many requests that stations can, pretty much, stick to their playlists while actually playing the requests. They can filter out the material they don’t want. On smaller stations I imagine they’re making up the requests so, again, it can conform to their playlists (which – like them or nor – are a vital part of their identity). So, all in all, I wasn’t excited by the 10-hour takeover whatsoever but when I read items like this from David at Fuddland (via plasticbag) it strikes me that The Frog Chorus can’t have been anywhere near Radio One’s playlist for many years. So, hats off to Radio One and the technology team behind it.

I wonder what impact – if any – it will have on Radio One’s programmers? From what I have seen the selections were older-hits and often, like The Frog Chorus, a little off the wall. Did the broadcast teams actually select the most ridiculous tracks suggested? And what does this do for Radio One?

Next time, however, let Chris Moyles appear to break it. That would be even better radio.

UPDATE: The full 10-hour takeover playlist is available on the Radio One site.

On this day…

2005: Vacillation’s What We Need
2004: Google Mail Controversy

Similarities At BBC Radio

I don’t often talk about radio. It’s been one of my passions since I was a child, but there is not a great deal to say on a day-to-day basis. Yet, last week Lesley Douglas, the new controller of Radio 2, announced a few schedule changes that included Dermot O’Leary joining the network for a new music show.

I find this odd. For the last few years, I have been a Terry Wogan listener because I couldn’t stand most of the rest of the frantic morning shows, and he’s the best in the business. Last month, I switched back to Radio 1 where Chris Moyles surprised me and has been very, very entertaining. I do miss Wogan and I find it hard to make that choice in the morning.

Over the last few years, Radio 2 has been re-positioning itself to attract new younger listeners. This is good because it allows Radio 1 to be squarely aimed at the youth market. But where do the Radio 2 listeners go? The BBC doesn’t seem to be providing them with a choice – and isn’t that the BBC’s public service job? Radio 2 is becoming a thirtysomething station. The BBC introduced 6music which seems – to me – to be a thirtysomething station. Where do the fiftysomethings – who don’t want speech – go? The BBC is missing something here and while I, personally, like the changes to Radio 2 (and the imminent arrival of Mark Radcliffe to late nights – his true home – is to be celebrated by street parties in my opinion) where will I go when I start complaining about the loud music of today’s youngsters?

On this day…

2007: I’m Silent. You Are Not.
2004: Defining Your Own Space
2003: Freddie, Will and George
2003: And The Years Pass

Worthy of Comment

Media Guardian carried a story about Telford FM today:

The authority today ruled that the Midland News Association, the owner of the Shropshire Star and several other papers in the area, would not be allowed to buy Telford FM on public interest grounds

Media Guardian

Sadly, no time to comment.

On this day…

2004: Kew Garden’s Winter Wonderland
2003: Gay Life in Britain

Do I Hear Fi?

I made reference to Eddie Mair’s departure from the radio show ‘Broadcasting House’ some time ago. Back then it was not clear (at least to me) that he was staying with the BBC and continuing his work on Radio Four’s PM. It’s good news he’ll still be on the radio.

There is also good news about the Sunday slot. Fi Glover is rumoured to be coming back to UK radio (after some time writing another book about radio in the US) and taking up the post Mair will leave vacant in the new year. Her style is very similar to that of Eddie and I believe her slightly irreverent ways will keep listeners tuned. Great news.

On this day…

2005: Regent Street Lights 2005
2004: Great London Food Market Revisited
2003: Heavenly?
2003: Another Month Another Man
2003: Bring A Smile
2002: Fly Accipiter, Fly

Libby Purves – Radio: A True Love Story

Radio: A True Love Story book coverLibby Purves loves radio and anybody who loves the medium will enjoy this book. It’s autobiographical but not an autobiography. It focuses solely on Libby’s life with radio: from building her own transistor set to hosting flagship Radio Four programmes Today and Midweek. Libby’s delight with sound, and particularly voices – is unmistakable.

This book is not a history of radio nor is it a manual or how-to guide. It is, however, filled with delightful personal anecdotes about speech radio spanning the corridors of the BBC World Service in Bush House, through the early years of BBC Local Radio (she worked at Radio Oxford) to the heart of BBC Radio at Broadcasting House. Libby’s joy in talk radio is clearly with the Radio Four style and her attitudes hark back to Lord Reith and the BBC’s founding fathers. This is not a criticism for it makes an interesting backdrop to today’s radio services. Not for Libby the shock-jock approach to the ‘phone-in nor the music driven disc-jockey speak but the (apparently) slower-paced world of radio documentaries and features and the fast-moving news and current affairs departments are her chosen arenas. The book is filled with personal stories and she paints superb pictures of the characters that inhabit the world of the wireless (management, production staff and presenters). The book is also an appeal for speech radio which, she feels, is too easily overlooked in a BBC obsessed with television ratings in the digital era. Yet the book has hopes that this unique brand of public service radio will survive.

Radio: A True Love Story
is an engaging read. It doesn’t overpower the reader with names and places but peppers the tales with personalities who add colour to the tale. Libby’s love of the medium comes through loud and clear and that is what makes this a joy to read and recommend.

On this day…

2006: Some People Are Helpful

Hooked on LBC

Last week I discussed the re-birth of London newstalk station LBC. Despite the fact that it’s not been that great and has had a whole pile of technical problems, I’ve been addicted for a week. So what if the news station doesn’t actually talk to that many news makers and the air seems full of journalists slapping their backs while gathering opinions from other journalists. So what if most of, what little real news there is, seems lifted from Sky. The whole thing has been addictive and if they keep this up I am convinced their audience will be huge. Not very well informed, but huge. Robbie Vincent has some interesting points in Media Guardian this week and it’s good to see a journalist of Brian Hayes’ standing tell the breakfast show presenters to stop interrupting each other. Regardless, I will be listening in the morning and that’s what they want from me.

On this day…

2005: Daily Links
2005: For The Love Of London
2003: In News
2003: Low Low Cost

Our Radio Rocks

I am quite excited by this new radio. It’s a wireless one (so, what, I hear you ask). But it’s a wireless radio that you link to your computer. Internet radio around the house on a proper tranny (the radios, not the tall people in stilettoes).

The GlobalTuner InTune200 is a small portable radio that connects to a computer wirelessly, providing access to any music on the PC or to thousands of internet radio stations. [BBC News]

On this day…

2003: Go, Yahoo!

Jeremy Vine

At the end of last year, I wrote a few words about the departure of Jimmy Young from BBC Radio 2. His replacement started yesterday and, unfortunaelty, I was working and unable to listen but I thought I should post a link to this review of the show at The Guardian.

On this day…

2006: Brokeback Mountain
2006: Gotta Go Back In Time
2005: 2004 In 100 Pictures
2004: Hello Dermot and Mark Fans
2004: Oops, She Did It
2003: Poison Find
2003: A Blog?