BBC Radio 6 Music – New Trail

Wow this has got to be the most exciting news today. The BBC have produced a new trail for BBC 6 Music. Well that’s terrific. The complaint a few years ago was that 6 Music wasn’t being given the publicity it deserved. Well, now that’s it has been ‘saved’ by us, its audience, and it’s going from strength to strength, does it really need these glossy adverts?

I was alerted to it by a tweet from Lauren Laverne, which is why I have chosen this link:
BBC Radio 6 Music – Lauren Laverne

I have no idea how much these things cost. But it does make me wonder how much spare cash there is sloshing around the BBC. One  day, they have to save money by running down all the local radio stations. Hence, we no longer have Danny Baker on BBC London, for example. Then this ‘cross-promotional’ budget seems to be a bottomles pit of our licence money.

And not only trails. I read the other day that following Mark Thompson’s ‘Delivering Quality First’ initiative, the number of ‘executives’ and ‘managers’ on six-figure salaries has increased rather than  gone down as was, I believe, intended.

Well, that’s my rant for the day. I’ll be back with something more positive later.

Meanwhile, I trust you like the new trail.

Save The Treehouse!

Just when you think the BBC would want all the good publicity it can garner (in view of the Jimmy Savile mess)…

And remember Mark Thompson’s famous initiative, “Delivering Quality First”?

Well, guess what the BBC has gone and done now.

As Danny Baker tweeted this morning:

So. Just been told the BBC London Show – the Treehouse – is to be shut down after all. Saves BBC money apparently. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrYJMkr_I8s

You don’t need to watch that YouTube video, of course, it’s the Zane Lowe TV Promo for his BBC Radio 1 show. One bugbear is that while the BBC claim to be saving money, they’ll waste millions of pounds on tails and promos such as this.

If only GLR had been given some publicity, back in the day. If only BBC 6 Music had been given a decent marketing budget. Then maybe beither would have been threatened with closure, due to audiences being too small.

Anyway, back to Danny Baker. he broadcasts on BBC London 94.9, Monday to Friday, 3pm-5pm. No idea what the audience figures are, but it is without doubt one of the most creative shows on radio at the moment. And, I’m sure, one of the cheapest. I don’t think they’ll be saving much money. But I’m not an accountant, I don’t run the BBC.

Following on from the Candyman’s initial tweet, the following ones appeared:

Danny Baker: Also. I am being “inducted” into The Radio Hall Of Fame next week. Big honour. BBC salutes by cutting five sixths of my shows. #IronyNotLost

Yes, next week, the Radio Festival takes place in Salford, and one of the highlights will be the induction of Danny Baker into the Hall of Fame. So of course it makes sense to axe the show this week. It remnds me of a few years ago when Jonathan Coleman won a Gold Sony Award for the Heart FM Breakfast show – and he was sacked the following week.

Danny Baker: BBC asked me not to say anything just yet about axing best show on British Radio. Why? Because it’s embarrassing? Because they’ll look bad?

Yes: once again, BBC’s management look bad. Why, it was only a short while ago I was writing in a similar vein about Mike Harding.

Ross Noble: How can the BBC axe our greatest radio talent @prodnose show.after recent events they should be celebrating what they do well.


Stephen Fry:
Next week @prodnose is inducted into Radio Academy Hall of fame. Not surprising, he’s the best. Today the BBC are axing his show. Dickwits.


Gideon Coe:
There are quite a few wonderful things on the radio and several of them are presented by, or indeed influenced by, @prodnose

Yes, I know: Danny Baker’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There’ll be people out there dancing around their living rooms at the news. But my theory is, if you don’t likea radio (or TV) show, then just don’t listen. There’s plenty to choose from. Too much, in my opinion. But it’s a sad day when one of my personal favourites disappears.

So, obviously, as I write this, I’m listening to what may be the last programme. the first record: Radio Ga Ga.

Irving Welsh: @stephenfry @prodnose Outrageous. They have their heads up their arses. Next thing they’ll be harbouring necrophiliacs. #vivadannyb

Rob Brydon: Glad that BBC are axing @prodnose Danny Baker’s daily radio show. I’ve had it up to here with his wit, warmth and originality.

Apparently Amy and Baylen are paid £50 for each show. As Danny said: the BBC probably paid Jimmy Savile more in 6 months than his radio partners have earned in the last ten years.

Keith Waterhouse: @prodnose: there is an old English expression to sum up the ludicrous #EndOfTreehouse… the expression.. Oh yes.. It’s Bollocks!..

Well, I’m sure there’ll be another Campaign to Save Something from the Mindless Morons that pass for Managers at the BBC, so keep an eye on the internet.

But most importantly, listen to and enjoy the show while you can.

Read this in the Telegraph.

This is what the BBC itself says.

This is from The Guardian.

Welcome to London 1958

So, the Tour de France is over and I think we all did very well. Congratulations to Bradley Wiggins for becoming the first Brit ever to with Le Tour – its 99th outing. And also to Mark Cavendish for winning the final stage on the Champs Elysées. And to me for watching more of it on TV this year than, probably, ever.

And now of course we’re into tthe Olympics. We’ve already watched the Mens’ and Womens’ Cycling Road Race out on the road near Hampton Court and we’re looking forward to the Time Trials on Wednesday over at Hampton Court Palace. We have tickets for the Water Polo (yes, honest) in a couple of weeks’ time. Other than that, we’ll watch some of the other sports on TV until interest waivers, or naff or inept commentary or inane or disrespectful interviews drive us away. Yeah, well, I mean, it was amazing.

But what’s going on on radio? There’s a ‘new’ Tony Hancock sketch on Radio 4 Extra which I’m looking forward too.

BBC Radio 4 Extra – Hancock’s Half Hour, Welcome to London 1958.

The Proms are in full swing but I have discovered that listening to a classical music concert while I’m out walking the streets doesn’t really work. The volume has to be quite high so you can hear the quiet passages and then of course, it’s far too loud during the loud sections. But at home, I’ve enjoyed again some Beethoven symphonies so far and some strange music by Sibelius.

BBC – Proms – BBC Proms homepage.

If you’re quick, ie, within 10 hours or so of pressing the ‘Publish’ button on this thing, you can listen to a dramatisation of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I haven’t heard it yet: I’m saving it for a rainy day.

Treasure Island.

 

 

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 – Guardian.co.uk.

George Entwistle – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

George Entwistle Named New BBC Boss – Sky News.

Jubilee controller George Entwistle appointed BBC director general – Telegraph

Danny Baker

Danny Baker broadcasts on BBC London 94.9 every weekday afternoon from 3 to 5pm. I listen to the show most days and i have been known to participate once in a while.

There is also a Danny Baker Show on BBC Radio 5 Live every Saturday morning. I don’t usually listen to this one because in its early days, there was too much football for my taste. Plus, there’s only so much Candyman magic anyone can take.

A while ago, Dan suggested he might be sitting in for Chris Evans on the RAdio 2 Breakfast show for a couple of weeks in April. Well, we now know this was either a hoax, or wishful thinking, maybe a genuine mistake or possibly a fishing expedition.

Instead of Danny Baker on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show, while Chris Evans was away watching a game of golf, we had that Richard Madeley off TV. I wouldn’t have been able to listen anyway, most days, but I know at least one person who had to turn off the radio and play a CD on the drive to work instead.

One of my pet peeves (if you’re interested) is that Radio 2’s bosses think that you can take a ‘celeb’ off the TV and think they’ll be good on the radio. A few are, but by and large, they just can’t do it. The sense of intimacy that we like radio for is just not there with some people.

But back to Danny Baker. His radio career started with GLR back in 1988. Banging on the desk in the studio (until the producer, one Chris Evans told him to stop), he declared himself the new sheriff in town. Before that, he was a TV presenter. Not only famous for the Daz adverts, he reported for, amongst others, Janet Street Porter and with  Michael Aspel on the Six O’Clock Show in the London LWT region.

From GLR, he moved to Radio 1, Talk Radio (with his friend Danny Kelly), to Virgin Radio (with one Chris Evans) and then back to GLR’s replacement, BBC London. He returned there despite having been told by one radio controller that he’d never work for the BBC again. He returned to present the breakfast show; his co-presenters greeting him each day with ‘Good morning, Candyman’. This greeting is the preferred option with co-hosts and with listeners, even now his daily show is on in the afternoons.

A few years ago he became DJ of the Year at the Sony Awards – at a time when he was not allowed to play records during his show. The irony of this accolade, and the not so subtle message to BBC London management still raises a smile.

The show would be nothing without the listeners who, given the most obscure and unlikely subject matter, come up with some very funny and/or fascinating stories. He can now play music and comes up with some great stuff. Currently, at the slightest excuse, he will play some (or all) of Bernie Winters’ flop 1972 single It’s Bernie. This theme is likely to become the modern equivalent of one of his worst ideas ever: The Cats v Dogs Superbowl. Believe me, if you don’t know already, you don’t want or need to know its details.

Yeah, I know Danny Baker isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think he suffers a bit from the hanging out with Chris Evans and Paul Gascoigne a few years ago. All I would say to anyone is, give him another listen.

Danny Baker on BBC London 94.9

Danny Baker on BBC 5 Live

Danny Baker on Wikipedia

By the way, he’s currently writing his autobiography, so that’s something to look out for as Christmas approaches.

Jarvis Cocker, Joe Strummer

It seems a bit strange to write about Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Supplement programme on 6 Music, just after it’s finished for a while, but it was good and when he returns in September, I’m sure it will be just as fantastic. I love his selection of music, nothing too taxing, some relaxing tunes, and all delivered in a very relaxed manner.

The final show in this run was broadcast on 1st April, and the last song played was David Bowie’s Laughing Gnome, which made me chuckle away. Until, that is, it stopped mid-song. Yet again, the iPlayer did not deliver the whole programme. Grrr, as they say.

His guest on the show was Kathy Burke, there to promote her new TV series, Walking and Talking, to be shown on Sky Atlantic in the Summer. I won’t see it, as I don’t subscribe to this channel, but it sounds fun, and I’m sure I’ll catch it on DVD at some point.

Anyway, she told the story of when she was a teenager, and she bumped into Joe Strummer at Euston Station. She asked for his autograph on her music paper, but he then berated her for cutting the word Clash onto her arm. Since that day, she’s not cut herself and certainly hasn’t had a tattoo.

But it reminded me that a long time ago, at a Save GLR gig in The 100 Club in London, I met Joe Strummer too. I asked if I could take his photo, and he said, “Yes, but you’ll have to take the lens cap off first”.

He really was a top bloke: great music as well as providing health and photographic advice.

This year is the 10th anniversary of Joe’s death and to celebrate, we can look forward to the Strummer of Love, a festival to take place in Somerset, in August, just before what would have been his 60th birthday.

But back to Jarvis Cocker. He’s back with Pulp and currently touring America. Well, he kept that under his hat! Pulp are triumphant at Radio City Music Hall.

Meanwhile, as far as we 6 Music listeners are concerned, we’ll have A Month of Sundays with Karl Hyde after which we can look forward to John Cooper Clarke in the 4pm-6pm slot on BBC 6 Music.

So farewell, then, Mark Thompson

Yes, Mark Thompson has announced that he is stepping down as Director General of the BBC.

That news is a fantastic birthday present.

Just a few weeks ago, he admitted that the BBC had got it wrong on women, “that the broadcaster does not have enough older female newsreaders and presenters“.

No. I’d say he‘s got it wrong. After all, who’s in charge?

And I’d say he’s got it wrong in so many other ways too.

He totally underestimated the popularity of BBC local radio. The BBC Trust has forced you to reconsider making huge cuts to local radio which would result in a much less local service. Making us wonder, what’s the point of having local radio at all?

Before that, he wanted to shut down BBC 6 Music. He thought it was just another pop station. But the great British public stood up and told the BBC Trust what the pioneer DAB digital radio station means to them. So (until the next useless out of touch DG comes along) 6 Music has been saved.

Great to see Broadcasting House being refurbished of course, but why was it so over-budget? Who’s in charge? That’s my licence money he’s been wasting.

This big move to Salford: I don’t know but I suspect the BBC will live to regret that decision. London is the nation’s capital, an eighth of the population lives within striking distance. It’s the cultural centre of the nation, whether you like it or not.

Selling off the iconic Television Centre. I don’t know but I suspect the BBC will live to regret that decision too. In the same way they now regret erasing all those Doctor Who tapes. Because we need more empty office blocks in London. If this building is no longer needed for producing programmes, surely it can be turned into a money-making tourist attraction? Decades of history available, radio,  TV, film, documentaries, technology, props: it would appeal to everyone.

But I can’t resist this opportunity to recall the first time I became aware of Thompson’s existence, back in 1999. The BBC radio station for London, GLR, was threatened with closure. The campaign to save the station ultimately failed but Mark Thompson’s true colours came to the fore:

IN THE light of the BBC’s recent “Train Week”,
viewers and listeners may be interested to hear the
unexpurgated opinions of Mark Thompson, the
corporation’s grandly titled director of nations
and regions, towards rail safety.
Thompson aired his views during a recent staff
meeting at Greater London Radio – which, unhappily
for him, was secretly recorded. The main topics on
the agenda were the proposed reduction of music on
GLR, and Thompson’s Guardian article criticising the
station for playing “pop” music on the day of the
Paddington train crash. Also on the panel was Jane
Mote, head of London and south-east regions…

GLR staff member: “If you turned on GLR in five
years’ time, what would you want to hear?”
Jane Mote: “Mark’s not going to give you a schedule
now because there isn’t a schedule.”
Mark Thompson: “I could do, I could do.”
JM: “No, please! [Thompson laughs.] Paddington
train crash!”
MT: “YES, lots of train crashes please!” (MT carries
an laughing.)

Later in the meeting, Thompson returned to the
subject.
JM: “I think music is an expression of cultural life in
London and therefore it has an important role to play
and…”
MT: “I just want to hear about train crashes.”
JM: “…and Mark just wants death and gloom.”

Thompson seemed to find this all vastly amusing,
apparently regarding the Paddington disaster as
nothing more than a way of jacking up the ratings for
extended news coverage. But he was rather less
amused when staff challenged him about the
Grauniad article in which he revealed that he had “hit
the roof” when he heard a pop song on GLR on the
morning of the crash.
The song in question, Mambo No 5, was played
on Kiss FM at 8.31 that morning and on Capital
Radio at 9.01am – but it wasn’t played on GLR at all
that day, not least because GLR was too busy
providing, er, extended coverage of the disaster. It
transpired that Thompson is so incompetent he hadn’t
even tuned his radio to the correct station!

That’s from Private Eye No 993 Friday 14 January 2000.

Mark Thompson will not be missed.

But on a more positive note, what else did I get for my birthday? Well, a couple of CDs related to radio shows that I like. What a lovely surprise!

The Old Grey Whistle Test 40th Anniversary Album

and

World Routes on the Road

Celtic Connections 2012

Celtic Connections is, I believe, the first music festival of the year. Actually, it’s described thus:

“Scotland’s premier winter music festival. Held in Glasgow and featuring favorite acts and the best new talent in more than 300 events over 18 days including concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, club-nights, and talks.”

I’m in England so I don’t see or hear much about the festival, but I did catch some of the output on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 3.

But again <rant mode on> radio is treated badly compared with TV.

As I write, just one of the Radio 3 programmes is still available on the iPlayer. This is due to the default 7 day limit. However, there is a lot of video available. Which is great. Much of the festival was shown on TV in Scotland. but not here in England. So while it’s great to see it online, it would have been nice to see some, at the time.

This morning, I listened to Gerry Rafferty Remembered, a tribute to Gerry who died about a year ago. I was surprised that I recognised so many songs, even though I haven’t heard them for many years. But it was a lovely show, very respectful, and I’ll keep it for a while, even if the BBC can’t.

I’m also (very belatedly) listening to the four World on 3 programmes broadcast on Radio 3. There were two programmes on Radio 2, but I only heard one of them.

It’s possibly a moving target, but this is the BBC’s Celtic Connections homepage so nip over there, and catch at least some of it while you can.

Radio receiving equipment

The first wireless (yes, it was called ‘wireless’, in those days) I can remember is a big old wooden one that my parents hired from Radio Rentals. I loved playing with the dial, tuning in to foreign stations, not really knowing what I was doing. My Dad listened to the BBC Home Service but while he was at work, my Mum would listen to the Light Programme. The Third Network was too posh for us: they played classical music which, sadly, meant nothing to my parents.

In early 1965, my Nan gave us a large item of furniture that she had no use for. It was a radiogram. A combined radio and record player. Well, at this point, we had no records at all, so for that reason, and probably, it was far too big for our house, it was taken away again.

Smaller radios were becoming available, and more affordable, so eventually the rental wireless was returned and for the first time, as far as I’m aware, we owned our own in the house. I used to listen to the pirate stations, Radio London and Radio Caroline but if Dad caught me, he’d retune the receiver. I really think he thought that if I were caught, I’d be sent to jail, merely for listening.

Well, it got to the point where I wanted to listen to the wireless. I swapped my beloved train-sets for a small, portable transistor radio that I could listen to in the privacy of the room that I still shared with my sister. It was at this point that I listened to Fab 208, Radio Luxembourg, under my bedclothes.

I admit, I did watch a lot of TV as well. It was exciting when we installed our first television set. Of course, it wasn’t ours, it too was rented. It was Pay-As-You-View. There was a meter attached to the back which we fed with 6d coins (six old pence is 2½p) and each tanner would provide us with half an hour’s viewing. Needless to say, the picture would disappear half-way through Doctor Who almost every Saturday afternoon. there was enough money in the meter for Dad to get through Grandstand on BBC TV and the wrestling on ITV. But not enough for Doctor Who. Just saying. But I did then, and still do, prefer the simpler medium of radio. Some say the pictures are better. Some say you can do other things while listening whereas TV demands your full attention. You’re free to use your imagination more. I don’t know, all of the above, maybe.

But now with my first radio under the pillow, I could go to sleep listening to music from Luxembourg and if the atmospheric conditions allowed, the American Forces Network (AFN) from Germany. This was all on the long-, medium- and short-wave bands. Plenty of French stations to choose from too, although I usually moved on by them.

But, now, much as I enjoyed the listening experience at the time, I do occasioanlly yearn for my old train-sets.

So, this takes us up to about 1970. VHF radio was new (now called FM) and for a while it was a technology that remained strange to me.

Saturday Live 11/2/2012 + Feedback 10/2/2012

I try to listen to Radio 4’s Saturday Live live on a Saturday, but usually don’t manage. I work most Saturdays, so the only way I can then hear the programme live is by using my phone (it has an FM radio) with the headset (which also acts as an aerial). When I have the headset on, it’s difficult to talk to people in real life. Plus, having the wire dangling, albeit tucked behind shirt buttons, isn’t ideal.

So I record the programme and listen to it later in the day, or more usually, later in the week.

Today’s programme was presented by Anita Anand rather than the usual Rev Richard Coles (he seems to have a lot of holidays).

In today’s programme, Christy Moore talked about his music and his influences and performs a song, a couple describe building a boat from scratch, Alison Bennett talks about their precious object, a coloured blanket,Matt Harvey performed a couple of poems and Rob Bryden chose his inheritance tracks. Intrigued? Well, listen to the show which is available on the BBC iPlayer for a week.

This was a fairly typical show, including some comments from the listening public. One reason for listening live is so that you can, if you choose, send a text message or a tweet.

BBC iPlayer – Saturday Live: 11/2 Christy Moore, Matt Harvey, build a boat couple, matchmaker, Isle of Wight blanket, Rob Brydon’s Inheritance Tracks.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of iPlayer, I’ve commented before that its radio programmes are abused, not presented at their best, they’re truncated, they include news bulletins that are out of date, trails for other programmes that you’ve missed…

And, oh, the irony… I listened to this week’s Feedback on the iPlayer and the programme finally got going after the end of Last Word, the preceding programme, a preview of Feedback itself and a plug for PM. Irony? Yes, the treatment of radio programmes on iPlayer (compared with TV programmes) is one of the subjects under discussion this week. In particular, they mention The Brian Matthew Story which I wrote about a few days ago.

There’s also a discussion about Saturday Live, what people like and don’t like. The poems are a bit hot and miss, but it would be a shame to see them disappear completely.

I’m not entirely convinced by the excuse given out for this cheap and tawdry service. And why, after hearing 58 minutes of an hour-long programme should I have to get in touch with the BBC, tell them it’s been truncated, wait for them to fix it, then go in and try to pick up the final couple of minutes? By that point, the seven days may have expired. Well, we’ll see. Having a buffer before and after each programme, annoying enough though that may be, would at leats ensure we receive the whole of the programme we’re interested in.

And finally, on a different note, I thought this infographic on the history of radio was quite interesting.