Listening to the radio at work

In case you missed it, I am a postman. I start work at 6 am and get home any time between about 12 noon and 2 pm, very rarely earlier, even more rarely later.

The first 3 hours (more or less) is spent indoors, in the office, preparing mail for delivery. The soundtrack to this activity is the office radio. There is some sort of precedence over who is allowed to touch this radio, and change the station that we listen to.

All I can say is that of the radio stations we tune in to on a regular basis, there are only a couple that I might tune into at home.

These two are Absolute FM (formerly Virgin) and Radio Jackie.

Permission to choose a radio station is a special treated, awarded on the occasion of someone’s birthday. They can choose a different one, or play a CD brought in from home. Woe betide anyone who brings in a CD which is in anyway unusual, that doesn’t preatty much represent what we have to endure most days anyway.

So, Absolute Radio, Absolute FM might be chosen two or three times each year. Genuinely, a birthday treat.

Radio Jackie is on more frequently. It is our local station for south-west London and north Surrey. The breakfast show presenters are nothing special (the fairly ubiquitous bloke with ditzy girl combo) and the travel news might be of local interest, but at least their choice of music is better than most.

The other stations often listened to are Heart FM, Magic FM and Smooth FM. Their playlists are all dire, displaying no imagination whatsoever. The adverts are repetitive and annoying.

A couple of people in the office listen to their own entertainment, putting on headphones and listening to their iPod, or whatever. I tried that, but it didn’t really work for.

More rarely (thank goodness), as mentioned before, we are subjected to Capital FM or Kiss FM. Not my cup of tea at all.

But, when I’m out on delivery, when I’m on a street where there’s not a lot of loud traffic, I listen to my MP3 player. I used to wear a headset and listen to the radio, but the cable gets caught on things, the plug gets yanked from my ear and, probably worse, I can’t hear members of the public when they address me.

So now, I download recorded radio programmes and listen to those as I walk around. These are mostly music programmes from BBC Radio 2 or 6 Music but sometimes shows from Radio 4. Ironically, some of the best music documentaries are on the speech station Radio 4, so I’ll take those too.

So (and I’ve commented on this before) in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to Gideon Coe (6 Music), Bob Harris (Radio 2 Saturday/Sunday show and his Country programme), Desert Island Discs (Radio 4), Cerys Matthews (6 Music).

So far, I haven’t tried listening to recorded, serious talk shows, such as a drama or a political documentary: I suspect they would need deeper concentration that I can manage whilst walking around the streets, trying to avoid obstacles and to deliver at least most of the mail to the right place.


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