Radio Ga Ga and Radio Academy

It’s my nephew’s birthday soon and his mother, my sister, claimed that he was unable to find a copy of Queen’s Radio Ga Ga online. Well, I had no such problem: there are several versions available to download. So this very lucky 16-year-old-to-be is receiving a CD featuring ten versions of this song. Vocal and instrumental, live and studio recorded. At the end of the process, I was a bit fed up with listening to it.

But, really, it’s not a bad celebration of the medium that we all love.

Certainly, a lot of radio out there is ga ga, blah blah nonsense: pap, bland, background noise. 

But when radio works, it can be fantastic. The song itself acknowledges the famous Orson Welles version of War of the Worlds that scared America to death in 1938 as well as the rallying speeches from Winston Churchill during the second world war.

So I just hope young Rob will enjoy the CD that I nurtured into existence.

I am not a pa id-up member of the Radio Academy but I have been to a few of their events and I do enjoy listening to the podcasts. Or Radio Talks, as they call them. The latest is very interesting…

Helen Thomas is the multi-award winning Executive Producer of The Chris Evans Breakfast Show. Richard Steel, the Executive Producer of Dave and Lisa at Capital FM, is also at the top of his game but works within a commercial radio framework.

Listen to the Radio Academy Radio Talk right here.

Now, I can listen to Chris Evans on Radio 2, no problem, though I’m not able to while at work, and when I’m at home at that time of day, I usually listen to 6 Music, or to something recorded earlier.

But Dave and Lisa on Capital FM leave me cold. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the music they play, but the ‘banter’ between the records sounds, well, forced, contrived, unnatural. While listening to their producers on the Radio Talk, I did laugh at the following exchange…

<Spoiler alert don’t read further if you plan to listen to the whole Radio Talk>

<Also, transcription is not my forté, so apologies for the mistakes, but you get the idea>

Helen: If you’re hearing a presenter ramble on, I can’t stand hearing links that just are never ending, you know, presenters in search of a punchline, I can’t bear that…

Richard: I hate that.

Helen: Never open the microphone…

John: You can hear them vocally searching…

Helen: Yeah, it’s a night… and it’s a tense listen. As a listener, you get tense listening to that. You know, I strongly believe you shouldn’t open that fader unless you know exactly what you’re gonna say, and every link should have a beginning, a middle, an end: as a presenter, you know exactly where you’re going with it, how it’s going to end, what the record’s gonna be, how that’s gonna work […]

Richard: You’ve got to remember your audience as well, haven’t you? And at what point they’re listening. So, the Breakfast show, a lot of people are busy getting their selves ready for their day, they don’t need anything too complex […]

Well, a few quick points:

I know it’s a spontaneous discussion, but Helen the producer was veering towards the rambling there!

And listening to Dave and Lisa, I would say a high percentage of their links are aimless and I lose interest well before the next record or advert, so, sorry, Richard, you’re not doing such a good job of producing, there.


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