Radio Radio

13Feb12

Today is World Radio Day – and I love radio.

According to the slightly underwhelming official website “World Radio Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of radio, facilitate access to information through radio and enhance networking among broadcasters.” So given that I’m unlikely to enhance much networking or facilitate any significant access I suppose I should at the very least raise some awareness about the importance of radio by bringing your attention to three very fine pieces of radio I’ve heard in the last few weeks.

BLOG - John Peel's Shed

First up we have John Peel’s Shed, broadcast just before Christmas but which I listened to on Christmas Day whilst others played board games elsewhere in the house. John Peel’s Shed was, I presume, an abridged version of John Osborne’s show, (not sure what to call it really so that will have to do), where he tells of his success in winning a competition on John Peel’s Radio 1 show and how radio has affected his life.

In essence it’s a sweetly poetic homage to the joys of radio and how the world of the wireless saved John from a life in which Mike Baldwin was a role model because, “He’d go to the bar, he’d order a scotch, he’d pay the barmaid with a fiver and tell her she could keep the change. To me that was the epitome of success.”

Although the show is no longer available on BBC Radio 4, the five episodes of John’s radio show on Future Radio are – they’re over here and they’re well worth a listen, serving the memory of Mr Ravenscroft very well indeed. In addition if you get a shift on you might be able to get tickets for the national tour of John Peel’s Shed.

[This would be also be a good point to promote his excellent book ‘Radio Head: Up and Down the Dial of British Radio’ which I presume sits beside, as it were, John Peel’s Shed.]

BLOG - Tiger

Second on the list was this wonderful wonderful piece of radio featuring Judith Kerr being interviewed by Nina Myskow (her of  New Faces infamy). It’s a quietly affecting piece of radio which has been so very beautifully produced. If these fifteen minutes don’t convince you to investigate further then you’re a fool.

Food For Thought featuring Judith Kerr

And finally comes the brief return of Alan Dein.

Alan Dein makes very good radio indeed which if you’ve been paying attention I’ve mentioned before now, so it was great to hear him reprise the superfine Don’t Hang Up with Don’t Log Off, exchanging anonymous phone boxes with “a series of nocturnal excursions via Facebook and Skype”. Quite how such great radio can be made with so little smoke and so few mirrors is a testament to Alan Dein’s talent.

Both episodes are pleasingly still available on the BBC Radio 4 website as podcasts over here – and as a treat for you all I’ve kept an episode of Don’t Hang Up on Soundcloud.

Don’t Hang Up – Night Lines

Disappointingly radio does seem to be increasingly marginalised in favour of the magic lantern however occaisional glimmers of hope do appear – this story in The Guardian for instance suggested “the rise and rise of radio” with media historian David Hendy commenting that, “I think there is a deep, natural, human desire to be accompanied by sound, whether music or voices. It stops us from feeling alone. Radio has intrinsic qualities that give it a good chance of surviving.”

However this comes on the back of The Guardian reducing their excellent radio review column to just the one appearance a week – a case it seems of one step forward two steps back. All three of the programmes mentioned above were reviewed in Elizabeth Mahoney’s column. Thankfully I was already aware of two of them – but for pointing me in the direction of the Judith Kerr programme I shall be forever in her debt. I’d like to think that those in charge of such decisions at The Guardian will see the error of their ways however if like me you’d like to encourage them why not join the people over at In The Dark who are rallying folk together to help overturn that somewhat short-sighted decision.

[ps Almost as soon as I’d published this I realised I should have also mentioned Elizabeth Mahoney’s piece on the 70th anniversary of Desert Island Discs and pointed you to the excellent archive now available on the BBC – probably too mant highlights to mention however I’d give John Peel, Kathy Burke and Betty Driver’s programmes a listen although not before Mr Danny Baker, who’s absence up until now on a post about great radio is frankly unforgivable.]



2 Responses to “Radio Radio”

  1. We loved John Peel’s Shed too!


  1. 1 “You Wait Four Years For A Bus And It’s Late” « dig your fins

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