BBC News – Record ratings for digital radio stations

Here’s the news article straight from the horse’s mouth:
BBC News – Record ratings for digital radio stations.

But in summary, BBC 6 Music, the Asian Network and Radio 4 Extra have all gained more listeners during the last three months.

Absolute Radio has the highest proportion of listeners tuning in via digital means rather than analogue, FM.

In London, Capital Radio beat RAdio 1 at breakfast time. Chris Moyles’s final quarter saw a continuing decline in his audience.

Overall, it appears that radio continues to attract more listeners and for longer periods each week.

I’ve never been asked but I know my listening habits are well above average. As I’ve said before, there is literally not enough time for me to listen to everything I want to. Yes, I still find time to watch TV, but that is seldom as satisfying. Homeland is great, though, very intense.

But given the time constraints, I’m afarid I didn’t even try to listen to Radio 2’s collection of Beatles programmes broadcast during October. As big a Beatles fan as I am, after all this time, i think I’d rather listen to their music than listen to even more people talking about them and their stories and their influences.

Last weekend’s Bob Harris show was brilliant, from my point of view. He played records by so many of my favourites: Frank Zappa, The Shadows, Steely Dan, Ruarri Joseph, Sam Cook, Tasmin Archer, John Lee Hooker, not to mention studio guests Robert Cray and Martin Stephenson. Here’s the playlist. Never let it be said that Bob Harris doesn’t play folk music! As I write, there is a day and a half to listen to the programme on the iPlayer.


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.


Capital FM – Saturday morning

We had the ‘pleasure’ of listening to Capital FM in the office this morning. Not my choice, but that of a younger chap, and someone else who likes to think he’s a younger chap, and who pretends to like the music offered. I’ll make no pretence: I can’t stand it, it was not a pleasure, but then, the music isn’t meant for me. I’m an old fart, I’m set in my ways.

But what make me think that Marconi would be turning in his grave, and probably regretting that that trip to the patent office, was the inane DJ chatter between the records. Inane? Is there a stronger word? Because it really was diabolical. They were talking about how you take a shower. Or a bath. Or a bath-shower.

It was bad enough being at work on a Saturday; it was bad enough that there was much more mail than we had on Friday. We start work half an hour earlier on a Saturday, and today, we left the office to deliver the mail half an hour later than yesterday.

So that’s a whole extra hour preparing mail in the office.

And all that time, Capital FM. Dire.

And like a breath of fresh air, while out on delivery, I was able to listen to an old Bob Harris Show from Radio 2. Now that’s what I call proper music. A bit of rock, some pop, some country, a chat with a new (or old) band…  Thank you BBC for the iPlayer which allows me to hear programmes in the future..

In fairness, I suppose I ought to namecheck the Capital FM DJs as well, but I have absolutely no idea who they are.