Friday, 09 June 2017

Radio Review: 9 June

Independent voices are becoming harder to find

Written by Louis Barfe
When I were a lad, any non-BBC wireless was independent local radio. Growing up in Surrey, my main ILR station was County Sound, based in Guildford. However, despiteLouis-Barfe-colour-176 jingles declaring it to be ‘the one and only one for you’, I always preferred Radio Mercury (‘The heart of the south’) from Crawley. In particular, I loved John Wellington’s Sunday morning show, stuffed with Monty Python, Tony Hancock, the Goons and Stan Freberg.

Nowadays, there is precious little independent or local about any of it. All of those proud, individual stations have been subsumed into larger groups, with much of the output networked for economy. What used to be local is now dominated by a company called Global, owners of Heart, Capital and LBC (which I remember when it was any good).

Returning from an outing last week, I gave Sian Welby on Heart (Monday-Thursday, 7-10pm) a go. The show is networked from London, but that’s not the worst of it. What really grated was Welby playing clumps of records without announcing any of them. Surely that’s a basic part of the DJ’s job description? Also, with pop music being so samey now, it’s useful to identify perpetrators.

I began to doubt whether Welby was actually there, suspecting she records a month of announcements in a morning, then spends the rest of the time necking Pomagne and Bombay mix on a chaise longue.

Earlier in the day, I had no doubt Nick Piercey was really there on BBC Radio Oxford (Monday-Thursday, 1pm-4pm). After interviewing Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet, he played the 12" version of Gold. As I’ve mentioned, there are two reasons non-specialist radio presenters play extended versions: by mistake or needing the loo.

Louis on Twitter: @AlanKelloggs or email: 

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