All 13 entries tagged Radio

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January 05, 2009

All hail homogeneity

It’s a sad day for radio today. The first of several dozen local radio stations are losing their identity and becoming Heart.

Global Radio bought GCap Media last year, and today some of the former GCap stations start using the new name.

I’ll be particularly sad to see Chiltern FM go. I grew up listening to it in the years that Radio 1 was full of loud rubbish. From today, it’s just Heart.

The changes go beyond the name though. There’ll be less local news, fewer local presenters and more ‘networked’ programming. The long and short of it is that it’s less likely the next Chris Moyles or Scott Mills will come from commercial radio.

Moyles presented a brilliantly funny show on Chiltern around ten years ago. Today a presenter on the station wouldn’t be allowed to talk for more than thirty seconds between songs, let alone try to be funny.

I’m not upset that Heart, as a national brand, is coming into being. It should have happened years ago. Commercial radio would have had a much more successful decade if it had a national, contemporary music station broadcasting on FM. All it has had up to now is Classic FM.

But using local radio frequencies to create this national brand is sad, and not what they were designed for. They might have been full of local people trying to imitate Radio 2, but at least they were local.

October 28, 2008

Should Brand and Ross be sacked?


Well, sort of no.

Brand and RossThe ill-advised broadcast of rude messages left on Andrew Sachs’ answer machine was the fault of the programme’s producers, not its presenters.

The faceless people will probably get the boot.

But Sachs-gate is about more than all of that really.

The whole story has become a media circus (the lead story on yesterday’s PM for goodness sake) because no-one’s sure why these two presenters are on Radio 2 in the first place.

If Chris Moyles had done this on Radio 1, it would have been shrugged off and forgotten about within a day or two, with no real suggestion of sackings.

But Radio 2 is supposed to be the more mature sibling. This incident just proved that the pair are in the wrong place – any non-Daily Mail reader who heard the show would have found it to be pretty entertaining, despite the occasionally offensive content (which was actually no worse than a typical episode of Have I Got News For You).

They shouldn’t be sacked – they should be given a pay cut and put somewhere else.

They’re too old for Radio 1 (which already has an ‘age’ problem – it attracts too many parents), so maybe they should become the main attractions on the already edgy 6Music?

March 07, 2007

Dodgy phone–ins are more widespread than you think

Q. Name an item typically found in a woman’s handbag?
A. Rawl plugs, a balaclava and a rubber band!

This is the public face of the dodgy phone-in competition. You pay £1 per call and get to beat your head against a wall while attempting to win £50 or the £50,000 jackpot! The jackpot will probably be won if your birthday happens to be February 29th.

But the scam of dodgy phone-ins and competitions goes much further than recent revelations have suggested. Daily, radio stations are hosting competitions where the winner’s already been decided. Phone-ins that have been recorded the previous week. And contributors who are little more than actors.

Proof is hard to come by, and relies on anecdotes of people who have won competitions weeks before they were broadcast – and weeks before people were asked to call in and ‘play’.

It’s just as prevalent at the BBC as in the commercial world, even though they can’t make money from phone lines. Well-known radio shows use fake guests, play competitions that were won the week before and make ‘real-life’ features which are completely faked. Shows are often pre-recorded, yet they’ll still ask for your e-mails and then read out manufactured ones.

I can’t prove this, and it seems no-one else can either. The contempt of producers towards their audience will continue, and only an industry ‘supergrass’ will ever be able to do anything about it.

But when you get asked to phone in to a radio or TV show, ask yourself first whether you trust the people making the programme. Because worryingly often, you shouldn’t.

January 31, 2007

BBC iPlayer a step closer

The BBC iPlayer might revolutionise television. It’s potentially bigger than Digital TV. And it’s coming. Because today the BBC’s Trust approved the software.

You’ll be able to watch all of the BBC’s programmes online, live. And then you’ll be able to download them to your computer for 30 days. You can set series links and keep hold of series like Doctor Who and watch them all at once.

They’ve made a few changes, some good and some bad. You won’t be able to download some classical music, or keep hold of certain radio plays. But it will have to be content neutral (initially it was Microsoft-only). This is great, but might delay the product launch. It’s already looking like late-2007, early-2008.

It’s what broadband was made for, and I can’t wait.

December 02, 2006

Radio 1's Live Lounge on Tour

I’m often critical of BBC Radio 1’s output. At times it’s lazy, a bit dumbed-down even for its target audience and its weekend schedule is still rubbish.

But credit where credit’s due. This week Jo Whiley’s been travelling around the country with her Live Lounge while hosting other gigs in the evenings.

The Live Lounge is essentially a cupboard in the bowels of Radio 1 where bands go and play on Jo’s show. But this week she’s been going to the bands’ houses and hosting the gig in their house. It started on Lily Allen’s house boat (which made a long journey down the M6 go quicker) and ended with Noel Gallagher playing in a competition winner’s house.

Live Lounge CDBest of all, they’ve filmed the mini-gigs and put them online. Also in there were the Kooks, Lostprophets and the Ordinary Boys.

It’s a shame Radio 1 doesn’t do more of this sort of thing. The phenomenal success of a Live Lounge compilation CD should show just how popular live music is. Again, their recent gigs as part of the Electric Proms were brilliant, especially Kasabian at the Camden Roundhouse.

Now if they could just get rid of Vernon Kay…

November 16, 2006

Don't touch that dial!

From BroadcastNow (subscription required)

Ofcom has signalled the end of FM radio with a report suggesting the spectrum could be used to make way for digital radio and mobile TV. The Future of Radio report outlines the changing landscape of radio and says the spectrum occupied by FM radio (VHF Band II) could be used for other things as listeners move to digital platforms.

Hold your horses a second, OFCOM!

As Jack Schofield points out in his TechnologyGuardian column today:

British consumers are being short-changed by the BBC’s support for low-quality audio… Recently I’ve been pointing out that the technology used in the UK for DAB (digital audio broadcasting) is obsolete, that the sound quality is inferior to FM radio and that we should be preparing to move to a new DAB2 standard.

FM generally gives better audio quality than DAB. Yet OFCOM want to get rid of FM before sorting out a decent replacement. Nutters.

As Schofield rightly says, the British radio industry needs to make the painful decision to jettison DAB and bring in a better version, using modern compression techniques. Only when that’s bedded in should they start thinking about getting rid of the FM dial, rather than trying to flog as much spectrum as they can to the highest bidder (as is happening with Digital TV).

November 13, 2006

RaW at the Student Radio Awards

The RaW Massive!RaW had a great night out at the 2006 Student Radio Awards. The station picked up several awards, including a Gold Award for Best Technical Innovation, which I played a small bit-part in.

Collecting our Best Technical Innovation gongMy interview with David Davis – listen to it here – got Bronze in the Best Interview category, beaten by Pete Swan’s interview with Boris Johnson. RaW clearly loves its politics…

Matt Rebeiro came second in the Best Newcomer category, and Jimmy and Adam came second in the Best Entertainment category. The station also came second in the Best Station category, meaning RaW is essentially the second best student station in Britain (meaning it would be rather stupid of the Union to force it off air next summer…)

Olivia Case with Smiley, Smiley, Jo WhileyIt was a fantastic night out, and a great day too. The nominees were invited to the HQ of GCap Media, the biggest radio group in the country, and the home of Capital Radio, Xfm, Classic FM and more. We got a great tour of the place, and sat in on some live radio shows.

Scott Mills and Jo WhileyCredit should go to some of the industry celebs who stayed a lot longer than in previous years… even if it was only because they were on the pull (a certain Radio 1 DJ knows who I’m talking about and I’d warn them I have photographic evidence!).

As well as a successful piss-up and a great night of success, it was also fantastic to catch up with the RaW Massive! Now it’s over to the next generation to make RaW a success well into the future (blub!)

October 12, 2006

RaW Nominated for 8 Student Radio Awards

RaW has picked up 8 nominations at this year’s Student Radio Awards, including one in the prestigious Best Station category.

Matt Rebeiro, RaW’s Head of Production, picked up a nomination for his shows last year in the category of Best Newcomer.

RaW’s technical wizards get some much-deserved recognition for their work with a nomination in the Best Technical Innovation category, for their custom-built Digital Playout System known as Digiplay, which is one of the most revolutionary bits of kit in British student radio ( read more – .pdf )

RaW’s Doppelganger picked up a nomination in the category of Best Comedy and Drama ( listen ), as did They Think RaW Sport’s All Over, a not particularly subtle rip-off of a well known TV show ( listen ).

Peter Swan and RaW News are nominated for Best Interview, for interviews with Boris Johnson and David Davis ( listen ) respectively.

James Buckland and Adam Westbrook receive a well-deserved nomination ( listen ) in the Best Entertainment category for their programme James and Adam’s Adventures in Radiophonic Wonderland.

And finally RaW was nominated in the Best Station category. RaW has won this twice in the past and the winner gets to produce a programme for BBC Radio 1 later this year.

Congratulations to all the nominees! All of the winners will be announced on 7th November at a swanky London ceremony hosted by Radio 1’s Jo Whiley and Scott Mills.

And don’t forget you can listen to more genius radio on RaW 1251AM

June 30, 2006

24hr News – Why not on the radio?

BBC News 24 and Sky News are both pretty popular. They don't get massive ratings, but that's because people tend to watch them for very brief periods at a time.

But why isn't there an equivalent offering on radio? The situation is even worse during the World Cup, when the closest available option (BBC 5Live) broadcasts almost constantly about Lampard's strike rate (or more recently) who's going to beat Federer.

Someone I spoke to bemoaned the fact that there's barely any news–at–length beyond 7pm at night, when most newsrooms have long gone home. Yes, there's hourly bulletins on many stations, but 5Live invariably goes to a football game (even outside the World Cup).

So with 24hr news so popular now, why can't we get something similar on radio? Why is sport so much more prevalent.

March 08, 2006

Varsity Day

So what if the weather's going to be miserable!?

You don't need to go and watch rugby in the soaking wet!

Listen to Varsity Day LIVE on RaW 1251AM

RaW will have coverage of every single match, with reporters at every pitch, all drawn together by RaW's Pete Swan. Join him and Rob Stevens from 2pm today for full coverage of the biggest day in the University sporting calendar, plus a chance to win a free pizza from Domino's.

2pm - 5pm
RaW 1251AM – Listen Online

March 06, 2006

Want 25,000 records?

RaW is selling its vinyl collection for just 2000. Interested?

We have 25,000 records which we're finally moving out after 35 years! Our fancy new DigiPlay system means most of our music is now played off computer, and the vinyl collection is taking up valuable space!

The sooner we can shift the vinyl, the sooner we can renovate the station and continue the work we started with our shiny new Studio 1 over Christmas.

If you're interested, send me a message or e-mail it(at)

March 03, 2006

Listen to this

I'm often on here plugging some tinpot radio production I've put together, but today I'd like to plug someone else's. Have a listen to this from this morning's Today programme.


John Humphreys showing up the complete idiocy and incompetency of the neo-cons. It had me jumping out of bed and shouting at the radio.

It was that good.

August 28, 2005

RaW at the International Children's Games

A bit late, but here's RaW at the International Children's Games in July 2005.

Some of the RaW team who put together the ICG broadcast.
From L-R: Jimmy, Olivia, Phil, Mark, Craig, Shall, Emily, Steve, Dave and Tim.

Craig demonstrates how to drive the desk.

Blatant abuse of the Music cupboard. Necessary, but brutal.

The opening ceremony of the games. My god it went on a bit. RaW was in the Press area next to Sky Sports. :P

Through some ludicrous contraption, the Games Torch is lit.

Interesting juxtaposition made it look like the church was on fire.

People looking very silly. All in the name of sport and kids and stuff.

RaW's team at the International Children's Games consisted of:
Chris Doidge / Steve Hoon / Olivia Case / Emily Andrews / Jimmy Buckland / Adam Westbrook / Dave Spafford / Mark Papp / Mark Leggate / Craig Bemment / Ian Liverton / Phil Sharpe / Adam Riddell / Tim Peach / Tim Honeywill / Gavin Rutter / Shall Singh

You can listen to some highlights from the games here:
Boys' Football Final
An introduction to Coventry

And there is more about RaW's involvement at the International Children's Games at RaW's website

Twitter Go to 'Twitter / chrisdoidge'

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