BBC News – George Entwistle named next BBC director general

Congratulations to George Entwistle, named as the new Director General of the BBC.

I’ve read this news in several places online, and I’ve even looked up his Wikipedia entry.

He’s been the producer and editor on several TV shows. He’s been the Head of TV Current Affairs, he was the Acting Controller of BBC Four for a while and he became Director of BBC Vision, that is, of TV, not radio.

Radio doesn’t appear in his CV at all as far as I can see. So that bodes well for us radio fans, then. We can hope that, at the very least, he is capable of tuning into the correct radio station, unlike his predecessor, Mark Thompson.

So, yes, Congratulations – but we’ll be watching you, George.

BBC News – George Entwistle named next BBC director general.

George Entwistle named as new BBC director general –

George Entwistle – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

George Entwistle Named New BBC Boss – Sky News.

Jubilee controller George Entwistle appointed BBC director general – Telegraph

GLR – Where are they now?

It’s a well-known fact that GLR was probably the best radio station that there has ever been. Ever. It went off the air in March 2000 but its memory lingers on. Here’s a quick update on some of the old GLR presenters: where are they now? Most of the updates come from Twitter.

David Hepworth has announced this week that the music magaize The Word will publish its final edition next month. It’s been going for nine years, and I feel slightly guilty that I haven’t bought every edition nor subscribed to it. But then, I haven’t been buying or subscribing to other music magazines either. There’s just too much other stuff going on, I haven’t got the time. It’s one of those magazines that I really enjoy when I do dig into it. Crikey, it takes all week for me to get through Saturday’s Guardian newspaper.

Danny Baker usually broadcasts on BBC London 94.9 on weekday afternoons and on 5 Live on Saturday mornings. But he’s taking a couple of months off as he is working with Jim Henson’s company writing the scripts for their new project, “No Strings Attached“. And we mustn’t forget, his long-awaited autobiography will be published… eventually.

Gary Crowley has been sitting in on BBC London for the last couple of weeks and continues to present his Saturday 1970s/1980s show there.

Jeremy Nicholas continues to speak after dinner and to present some funny items for the BBC East Midland local news. His main job is to be the stadium announcer for West Ham. But just last night, he was the announcer at a Twenty20 cricket match at Trent Bridge. His book “Mr Moon Has Left the Building” is a fantastic read, very funny, even for a non-football fan such as me.

Emma Freud is currently working on the latest Richard Curtis movie “About Time” which I have traveled into the future to watch, and I can highly recommend it. She is also a regular contributo to Radio 4’s Loose Ends, and her recent interview with Simon Le Bon was fantastic, very funny and one that I, unusually, listenedto a second time. And I’m not even that big a Duran Duran fan.

Not to be outdone, Gideon Coe recently reported that he is to be the DJ at his son’s school’s Summer fair. Oh, OK, he still presents a great show on 6 Music at 9pm Monday to Thursday.

Radio 2 – Is It Worth It?

1982 and I was briefly, but genuinely concerned that I might be called up to fight in the war against Argentina over some roxcks in the Soth Atlantic that we call the Falkland Islands and they call Malvinas.

Like many, I suspect, I was torn between seeing the need to defend ourselves against the Argentinians and wondering why the heck we thought some islands thousands of miles away belonged to us in the first place.

It was many years later that I came to know the song Shipbuilding and I like every versiuon I’ve heard so far, especially Tasmin Archer’s, though that one seldom gets played now.

“30 years on from the Falklands conflict, Annie Nightingale considers the impact of the war through the song Shipbuilding.”

BBC – BBC Radio 2 Programmes – Is It Worth It?

In June 1982, I happened to be on holiday in Plymouth when the first ship from the Falklands Task Force returned. Despite my anti-war feelings, it was no doubt a moving experience, especially knowing how many service personnel would not be returning.

Return of the first Task Force ship from the FalklandsWhat a shame the photograph has faded after 30 years, even if the memories haven’t.

PS I just found out that one of my favourite new bands The Unthanks will be recording Shipbuilding soon. Something to look forward to.

RIP Robin Gibb

Robin Gibb died on May 20th after a long illness, at the ridiculously young age of 62.

I heard the news on the following Monday morning and was affected far more than I expected to be; more than I had been by the death of any other ‘celebrity’, famous person, pop star or  other prominent figure. Although we knew he was ill, the news came as a real shock.

The Bee Gees were my very first favourite group, in the late 1960s, from about the age of 12 onwards. Their 7-inch singles were the first new records I bought: Massachusetts, World, Words and so on. I suspect I heard their records on some of the old pirate stations, Radio London and Radio Caroline, and later on the then brand new BBC Radio 1.

I spent much of the day listening to old records and even watching videos on YouTube. It was great to hear Vince Melouney, one of the very early members of the Bee Gees, speaking on the Radio 2 news.

All that nostalgia and sadness. I usually listen to Danny BAker in the afternoons on BBC London 94.9. On this Monday, Gary Crowley was sitting in and he paid tribute to the group, playing a few of their somgs. he also invited stories from the listeners:

Here’s my Bee Gees story.

I listened to Paul Gambaccini last night presenting an appreciation of Robin Gibb. I think he explains very well why Robin’s passing meant more than that of, say, his brother, Maurice, sad thought that was at the time.

You can hear Spirit Having Flown: An Appreciation of Robin Gibb on the iPlayer until May 31st.

Another programme to look forward to is also on Radio 2, next Monday, 28th May. “In a special tribute to the late singer, Robin Gibb tells his own story in words & music drawn from over 40 years of BBC archive, & featuring rarely heard Bee Gees performances.”

Robin Gibb at the BBC – BBC Radio 2.

And of course, their music lives on in our hearts and in many, many media formats.

Thinking of Robin’s family and friends at this sad time.

Sony Radio Academy Awards 2012: Winners and nominees in full – Media News – Digital Spy

I can do no better than point you to the full runners and riders from last night’s Sony Awards. I tied watching online, but it was decided that a sound-only stream would be provided, such is the nature of radio.

Sony Radio Academy Awards 2012: Winners and nominees in full – Digital Spy.

I blogged when the nominations were announced on March 30th. So how did my preferences get on? All I can say is: this is why I stay out of betting shops.

Very surprised and disappointed that Kiss Breakfast with Rickie, Melvin and Charlie won the Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus). Partly becaus it has no appeal to me and partly because: does it really attract over 10 million listeners?

Best Music Programme went to Fearne Cotton on Radio 1. I’ve not heard the show and have chosen not to because, whenever she’s on TV, at Glastonbury, say, she tends to over-use the word ‘amazing’ – to the point ehere nothing is amazing. It’s like having a boss whose every job is ‘urgent’. In the end, none of them can be, you just do what you can.

Adam and Joe won silver for Best Entertainment Programme. Hooray!

Chris Evans, Lauren Laverne and Christian O’Connell won gold, silver and bronze respectively for Music Radio Personality of the Year. Can’t really argue with that.

Jools Holland is Music Broadcaster of the Year. This is one show that keeps me entertained whjile at work, well, for an hour a week, anyway.

Danny Baker won Speech Radio Personality of the Year for his 5 Live show. And as I write, I’m listening to him on BBC London where he is berating the folks there for not being in raptures at his success, and for not putting this show forward. He just played an old GLR jingle by way of making some kind of point.

Best Comedy went to Mark Steel’s In Town on Radio 4. I do like Mark Steel but so far, I’ve managed to miss this particular show. I’m sure I’ll catch up with it on Radio 4 Extra.

A Tale of Two Cities got the bronze for Best Drama. When I first mentioned it, I hadn’t heard it. I’ve since heard one episode, and regret to say, I didn’t get on with it.

And UK Station of the Year is BBC Radio 6 Music which is terrific news. And to think a couple of years ago, it was under the threat of being closed down due to some misguided management at the BBC.

It was good to hear Tom Robinson accept the award for Best Use Of Multiplatform or Social Media for Now Playing @ 6 Music. This is a great little programme that invites listeners to take part and help build the playlist. It’s one of those programmes that you’ll love one week and turn off the next. But as I always say, it’s good to hear the unexpected, even if you don’t like it.

Saturday Live, Bob Harris Country, Cerys Matthews, Mahalia Jackson

Saturday Live is growing. From the coming weekend, it will be 90 minutes each week, so it’s not only more of the same but also it will include what used to be Excess Baggage, which is no longer a separate entity.

As explained before, I usually listen to the programme a while after the broadcast, sometimes maybe weeks after. The benefit of this is that I can fast forward through those segments that I’m not particularly interested in. It has to be said, though, that this is a very rare occurrence.

Right, this week’s first long-lengtyh, extended Saturday Live will include the usual features: this week’s Poet is Luke Wright and the Inheritance Tracks are those of Cilla Black. Guests include David Cassidy and Patrick Duffy, ideal for those (like me) who were around in and still have affection for the 1970s. Presenter Richard Coles will be joined by Sian Williams.

Saturday Live on Radio 4.

My workday experience was enormously enhanced yesterday and today by listening to Bob Harris Country. I’m a little bit behind with the show, so I’ve only just caught up with his 1960s Special. And to use one of Bob’s own favourite words, it was ‘amazing’! At several points during the show, I thought he’d been cherry-picking from my parents’ own (albeit limited) record collection. Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash were all available at home during my childhood.

Usually, Radio 2 shows are up on the iPlayer for 7 days, until replaced by the following week’s show. But the good news is: as I write, there are many previous programmes up there. Which is good news for me. Bob alluded to a previous programme from a few months ago, a 1950s special. Well, I missed that at the time, but I now look forward to hearing it. (That one was 27/10/2011, by the way.)

Bob Harris Country on Radio 2.

On last week’s Loose Ends, Cerys Matthews poke about the documentary she’d made for Radio 4, called ‘Conjuring Halie’, about the delightful gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson. I can’t recommend this documentary enough. I’ve often said that despite being the nation’s major speech station, Radio 4 does come up with some of the best music documentaries.

Conjuring Halie is repeated on Radio 4 tomorrow, Saturday 5th May at 3.30pm, and will be on the iPlater for a week after that.

Conjuring Halie – Mahalia Jackson – on Radio 4.

Loose Ends on Radio 4.

And finally: if you donated material to the national archive and then, thirty-odd years later, find one of the items up for sale on eBay, you’d be a bit miffed, right? Well, this happened to J. David Goldin, from Connecticut. But he did the right thing: he tracked down the thief, who is now serving time.

Read the full, heart-warming story here in the Washington Post.

Sony Radio Academy Awards – Nominations Announced

Always an interesting event, the Sony Awards. When the winners match my own personal favourites, they’re spot on. When they give the prizes to programmes or presenters or radio stations I’m not that fond of, I have to wonder, what is the point?! But of course, that’s the nature of any awards ceremony.

The full list of nominations can be sound here:

Sony Radio Academy Awards | News | Sony Nominations Announced!!!.

And this is a list of those I’ll be rooting for:

Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus)
Heart Breakfast (London) – London’s Heart
KISS Breakfast with Rickie, Melvin and Charlie – KISS
I hear these at work sometimes, not impressed by either
The Chris Evans Breakfast Show – BBC Radio 2
I managed to put this on on my birthday, much to the consternation of my colleagues, but it was the best morning’s radio in the office for a very, very long time
The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show – Absolute Radio
This comes on sometimes, and I’ve always liked Christian O’Connell, whether on Xfm or Absolute.


Best Music Programme
Fearne Cotton – BBC Radio 1
In Tune – BBC Radio 3
In: Demand Scotland – Bauer Radio Scotland
Michael Bublé – Magic 105.4
I’ve not heard any of these, so by default…
Steve Lamacq – BBC Radio 6 Music
would be my choice, although I rarely hear a whole show.

Best Entertainment Programme
Adam & Joe – BBC Radio 6 Music
At its best, this is a very funny show, and even when it’s not, the music is great

Music Radio Personality of the Year
Chris Evans – BBC Radio 2
Christian O’Connell – Absolute Radio
I think it’s between these two
Gemma Cairney – BBC Radio 1Xtra
Never listened to her
Huey Morgan – Wise Buddah Creative for BBC Radio 6 Music
Lauren Laverne – BBC Radio 6 Music
Both play some good music (Lauren maybe a little heavy on the hip-hoppy side for my taste), but this is the ‘personality category

Music Broadcaster of the Year
Jools Holland – BBC Radio 2
Mark Radcliffe – Smooth Operations (Productions Ltd) for BBC 6 Music & BBC Radio 2
I enjoy both of these programmes
Mistajam – BBC Radio 1Xtra
Never heard him
Sean Rowley – BBC Radio Kent
Not heard him here, but enjoyed his shows on GLR and BBC London
Tom Service – BBC Radio 3 for BBC Radio 3, 4 & 6 Music
Probably heard him, but sorry, doesn’t ring a bell

Speech Radio Personality of the Year
Alan Brazil – TalkSPORT
Alan Robson – Metro Radio
Danny Baker – Campbell Davison Media for BBC Radio 5 live
Richard Bacon – BBC Radio 5 live
Toby Foster – BBC Radio Sheffield
I’d vote for Danny Baker, even though I usually miss his 5 Live show, while hearing his BBC London one most days, but I don’t hear any of the others at all, so I may be missing something

Best Comedy
Adam & Joe – BBC Radio 6 Music
My favourite from this list
Another Case of Milton Jones – Pozzitive Television for BBC Radio 4
I found this a bit hit and miss, to be honest
Down The Line – Down The Line Productions for BBC Radio 4
Mark Steel’s In Town – BBC Radio Comedy for BBC Radio 4
The National Theatre of Brent’s Iconic Icons – CPL Productions for BBC Radio 4


Best Drama

A Tale of Two Cities – BBC Radio Drama London for BBC Radio 4
Damn, missed it, but as it’s my favourite Dickens book, I’m sure I either would have loved it, or been terribly disappointed
A Time to Dance – Sweet Talk Productions for BBC Radio 4
North by Northamptonshire – BBC Radio Comedy for BBC Radio 4
On It – Woolyback Productions for BBC Radio 4
Use It or Lose It – Falling Tree Productions for BBC Radio 3

Station of the Year (1 Million plus)
BBC Radio 4 Extra
BBC World Service
Radio City 96.7
I enjoy both of the BBC stations but don’t get to hear Radio City in my neck of the woods

UK Station of the Year
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 6 Music
Kerrang! Radio
Again, both of these BBC stations are on my presets, and I’ve heard Kerrang a few times but, well, maybe I’m just getting too old for too much of what my wife calls the screaming meemies, that is, very loud, guitar-based rawk music