In the opinion of this blog, the medium of radio was the original social media – and still is. Intimate and immediate, subtle, yet with the creative power to paint amazing pictures that are different for every member of the audience listening. And while the internet is undoubtably the medium of the moment, radio holds one crucial advantage – traffic. Working in tandem, the possibilities are huge.
To celebrate it, we would like to make a few recommends for listening from our own personal world – some PR related, some highbrow, and some very much mired in the ditch. Many will be familiar, but to some, particularly international students, signposts are included here to give you a headstart in devouring more media.
BBC RADIO 4
Today (Mon-Fri, 6.00-9.00am: Can sound a little pedestrian and of another time if you are listening for the first time, but since this programme pretty much sets the news agenda for the rest of the day, is listened to by most journalists, and has the biggest breakfast audience in London, it is a must-listen for any PR).
Something Understood (Sun, 6.05-6.35am: An endearing programme, tucked away on Sunday mornings, and usually fronted by the calming tones of Mark Tully. It usually is loosely related to faith issues, and weaves to together a series of readings and music. As I’m writing, this week’s broadcast was on the call of beauty. At such a peaceful time of the week, it usually provides plenty of scope for reflection – both personal and professional – and with its combination of content ably demonstrates the punch that radio is able to pack).
BBC RADIO 3
The Early Music Show (Sat & Sun, 1.00-2.00pm: It’s great sometimes to immerse yourself in something you know nothing about – and this is my blind spot. Medieval, renaissance and baroque music. It’s my warm-up for the football results on Sky Sports News – so probably not being used for the ends that Radio 3 would intend, but a fascinating listen).
BBC RADIO 2
Janice Long (Mon-Fri, 12.00midnight-2.00am: Arguably the most under-rated music show on UK radio. Perfect soundtrack after hours, and combination of Janice’s intimate style, and nous in championing new acts, like OneEskimo. Other big acts like the Ting Tings and Morrissey regularly drop-in for sessions and co-hosting because of the fan base she has. For anyone else who listens, I’m ‘Paul from New Cross’).
BBC RADIO 1
Annie Nightingale (Radio 1’s first lady, still sniffing out the worst behaved tracks, and I’m forever in debt for her playing-out at my leaving ‘do’. We salute you).
Matt Edmondson (still not sure why the station doesn’t make more of this young gentle. Knowing, witty, and prepared to go a little distance to use audio to create a filthy soundscape, whilst still down and dirty with that there pop culture.)
BBC RADIO 5 LIVE
Nicky Campbell – Breakfast (Mon-Fri, from 7.00am: I’ve had the pleasure of working with Nicky since 1995 at Radio 1, but when he was brought together with Shelagh, another dimension was added to his on-air presence. They have such an on-air ease with each other, and so obviously enjoy each other’s company. That coupled with the centre of gravity outside of London, and the interactivity on the texts and emails, often over the most flimsy of details of human life, make this a refreshing change from listening to the Today programme).
Rhod Sharp – Up All Night (Sunday/Monday to Thursday/Friday, 1.00-5.00am: What a shift – what a pro! A unsung hero. I only listen to this programme if Rhod is presenting it. A precise presentation style, a network of contacts from around the world. Radio like it used to be. You’ll find it difficult to switch off and go to sleep – especially when the features with Dr Karl, the Naked Scientists, or the Gabby Cabbie are on). Probably my favourite radio programme if pushed.
Steve Allen (Mon-Fri, 4.00-7.00am: Steve has been on LBC for almost 29 years, so must be doing something right! A loyal audience demonstrate he has crafted something in common with what we have discovered with social media on the internet. Bitchy, anti-celebrity – and an amazing rapport with listeners ‘of a certain age’. Steve is my only appointment to listen in the entire week, on a Sunday morning. He shows how video didn’t kill the radio star! It is his catchphrase ‘Morning team!’ that provides the headline for my first post).
Nick Abbot (Fri-Sat, 10.00pm-1.00am: a unique take on talk radio, veering towards the absurd, incorporating sound effect jingles, and a position that isn’t prepared to take the b*llsh*t of the prepared positions of the mainstream political parties. Regular callers, and plenty of preparation make this an appointment to listen.)
BBC RADIO LONDON
Robert Elms (Mon-Fri Lunchtimes – the voice of the particular in London)
BBC 6 MUSIC
Mark Radcliffe & Stuart Maconie (Weekday afternoons: This programme weaned me off week-night television, and provides me with a regular supply of new bands from Scandanavia).
Gilles Peterson (Saturday afternoons: Scouring the globe for the perfect soundtrack).
Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone; Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour; Don Letts: (Sunday nights – perfect discovery point)