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Music

Music radio - what's the point?

A place to discuss music.

Postby Dave » Fri 11 Nov 2005 18:35 GMT

A propos of the "Radio 2 vs Radio 1" topic, Savannah Alan posted this:

(...)who was it that decided that such a wonderful medium as the radio should be relegated to simply pumping out music and adverts to the people? It is a perfect vehicle for talk shows, documentaries, dramas, educational programmes, yet all we get is non-stop music.
If I want to listen to music, I have CDs and tapes galore - and then I know it's what I want to listen to. I just think the whole radio scene is a massive wasted opportunity. We used to have a radio station in London (I can't remember what it was called now), who's mandate was that they didn't play music. It was a wonderful station but when their license came up for renewal, it was refused :(

Just my tu'penny's worth, but music I can easily arrange myself - and I don't have to listen to some DJ's inane patter. Topical conversation, news and fiction I can't.

I have a couple of reservations about this.

First reservation is that sometimes it's nice to be pleasantly surprised by the next song that comes on, especially if it's something you haven't heard before. (How else are you going to find out about something new?) Unfortunately, that depends very much on the radio station - some of the London local stations are so heavily dominated by their playlists that after a while you tune onto a different channel to escape the tedium. When we got back to London after a four-year gap we found that Heart 106.2 was playing virtually the same songs as when we'd left. At least the BBC has the resources to be able to afford to play different stuff reasonably frequently.

Second reservation is that there are some exceptions. Having said that, the only ones I can think of offhand are BBC Radio 4 and the World Service, although the East European radio stations used to make for some pretty wild listening in the late '70s and early '80s.

Third reservation - not every music programme on the radio is inane. I'm thinking about programmes presented by people like "Whisperin'" Bob Harris - presenters who really know and care about music and who are able to talk knowledgeably and interestingly about the background to the music they're playing. I grant you, there's a lot of dross out there, but there's a fairly large spectrum to choose from - not all of it is useless.

I suppose we with roots in the UK are spoilt. For all its faults (and it has dumbed down in the last 15-20 years) the BBC is a wonderful resource and one which we ought to protect - if for no other reason, then at least because it helps keep other broadcasters up to the mark, or somewhere close to it.
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Postby Savannah_Alan » Fri 11 Nov 2005 19:10 GMT

DrDaveHPP wrote:For all its faults (and it has dumbed down in the last 15-20 years) the BBC is a wonderful resource and one which we ought to protect - if for no other reason, then at least because it helps keep other broadcasters up to the mark, or somewhere close to it.


I agree. I used to complain about the license fee and the BBC, but having experienced a few years of commercial television and radio, I will never complain about it again.
Even TV is getting ridiculous here where it seems we have about 45 seconds of television squeezed between 5 minutes of commercials. It is virtually at the point where there is absolutely no point in watching.
Bill Bryson said it best: "You don't watch American television to see what is on, you watch it to see what else is on." And the most annoying thing is that they all time their commercials precisely so that if you "flick around", everybody else is on their commercial break as well :evil: . It is so intense now that often when the commercials come on and I flick around to avoid them, I leave what I think is the right amount of time and return to my channel only to find that the commercials have finished, the 90 seconds of programme has played and they're back into commercials again! These things apply to radio as well.

While there are some very few exceptions, I find that there seems to be no middle ground. The stations like radio 4 and the world service, while very good at providing some talk radio, are often too "high brow" for the average punter. There is a whole middle ground of talk radio going to waste IMO.

Of course, like everything else, it's obviously driven by the profits, but I think it's a shame and a waste to use radio solely for music.

Alan.
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Postby Mike » Fri 11 Nov 2005 19:23 GMT

Alan has a valid point in part - and I understand where he's coming from. But there are multitudes of radio stations out there, and though most of them sound like the rythmic thumping of a Vauxhall Nova with the windows down at the traffic lights in Thurso on a Saturday night, many others do offer more. And thanks to the internet we are no longer limited to those few stations routed to us via our nearest mast.

We have never had it so good. Online, we can potentially access more radio stations than we will ever get round to listening to.

Like Dave, I think the BBC has given us a great deal, although I'd rather have my scr*tum removed, and turned into a transvestite's handbag, than listen to Radio One.

But where would music be today without the likes of the late John Peel?

I confess, I mostly listen to local radio stations. I mean really local, not regional. For a couple of hours every evening, our regional station - Moray Firth, or Furry Mirth as it is better known - gives way to local radio. In my case, this is Caithness FM.

And at this level, it is all voluntary. Granted the music tends towards C&W, but some of the non-music stuff is brilliant.

Where else would you hear this, on a "Top Team" type quiz programme?

"The buzzers arnae workin' the nicht. Sorry listeners. Teams, for the benefit o' the listeners, if ye ken the answer, jist pit yer hand up."

Mike


BTW, I'm not making that up. I actually heard that on my way up the A9 a couple of years ago, on a very snowy night . . .
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