Thursday, 25 October 2012
Radio Review: 26 October
Our reviewer is enchanted by a trip to the (wireless) provinces
By Louis BarfeHaving finally managed to unpack an analogue radio following my recent house move, I have begun to acquaint myself with BBC local radio stations near my patch.
I admit to sniggering when Malcolm Boyden announced on his BBC Hereford & Worcester Sunday morning show that it was Cliff Richard's 84th birthday. It was the erstwhile Harry Webb's birthday, but Malcolm was 12 years out. I liked the way he threw the joke away, leaving the listener wondering if they'd heard right.
Later that same day on BBC Radio Bristol, I heard a jolly brassband version of the Dambusters March. I think I'll be OK here.
When I gave the BBC Radio Gloucestershire breakfast show a go, presenter Mark Cummings was talking about the revelation that all rats in Gloucestershire could be immune to the poisons used by exterminators within 10 years. Given that we're all supposedly no more than 6ft away from a rat at any given time, this is a worry. Have I moved into an area where mutant überrodents stalk? Am I at risk from a giant, invincible Roland? Why Gloucestershire? What have the Cotswolds done so wrong? Will the hideous monsters stop at the border with Oxfordshire, mindful of their evil limits?
Of course not. This was one of those local radio reports where a general press release had been given a dubious regional nose. Rats everywhere are building up a resistance to baits, and Radio Gloucestershire had found a ratcatcher willing to play along with the mock-horror of the story. An official made the point that Gloucestershire was no more susceptible than anywhere, but this was brushed aside – we're still in the silly season.
Now, a warning. The former review was based on a single listen. Normally, I go back to iPlayer and check details. My broadband won't be on until early November. Without it, it's made me realise how much I rely on the internet to get the most out of radio. When I started as a radio critic, the BBC sent out preview tapes. Now I get links to download MP3s. I have a McGuffin on my computer set to record favourite series. Right now, all of this glorious technology is about as much use as a rice-paper teapot.
Malcolm Boyden, BBC Hereford & Worcester, on Sundays at 9am; Sounds Of Brass with Phillip Hunt, BBC Radio Bristol, Sundays at 7pm; Mark Cummings, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, weekdays at 6am.
RADIO SOURCESales of radio sets have dropped by 18 per cent in the last 12 months, according to Ofcom figures. A sales peak of 10.4 million sets was reached in 2008, as the rush to go digital reached its height.
Follow Louis on Twitter: @LadyWireless or email him at: email@example.com
Louis's blog is on www.lady.co.uk
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Q: The Queen has received a £5m boost in the funds she receives from the taxpayer to carry out her official duties. Do you approve?
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