Tuesday, February 18, 2003

RADIO DAZE: Here at No Rock, our boiler has been condemned, so today it’s my solemn duty to sit waiting for the landlord to come and look at the problem. While I freeze my ass off, I’m going to take the opportunity to sampe every single radio station being carried on Sky Digital right now - the good, the bad, and the Gaelic only services. Are they just stuff that’s available elsewhere, or else shite? Or are there some little gems sitting there... What do you think?
Radio One - Breakfast Show with Sara Cox.
Sara Cox is doing a long and involved anecdote about Valentine’s night - now, merely five days ago. Her life intersected briefly with someone vaguely famous who she didn’t know, at a place where Russell Crowe once had a fight. The thinking behind her having the breakfast show, apparently, was that she’d be out doing stuff that she could report on the next day. But seeing Shaun Ryder (for it was he) across a public space - surely even I could do that? Then she reads out a story from a listener about meeting a beautiful (well, “fit” to be exact) girl during a set at Reading. The point of the anecdote is unclear, since they parted company at the end of the set and never met again. The feeling starts to settle that maybe the Breakfast Show on radio one is now a Beckettian nightmare, where nothing quite happens, although it looks like it might.
Muse - Plug In Baby. Oooh, classic tune, followed by Kylie - Love At First Sight. Which is also a classic tune. But don’t we pay our licence fees for Radio One to be New Music First? I’m sure LAFS has got the riff from Iron Maiden’s Run To The Hills buried deep inside it. No, really.
Newsbeat comes on - starting with the 130 deaths in the South Korea tube; the 30 deaths in the Chicago nightclub and the three year old stabbed in the chest in Birmingham. Mercifully the Beckham football boot story turns up. As is the way, you’re asked to text your opinions on the story - “make sure you type ‘NEWS’ first” you’re warned, in case, presumably, the texts go astray and the travel department start to report on an out of control scot bearing down on a pretty boy cuasing tailbacks. Emily Eavis simpers that a letter from Chris Martin helped make the council green light Glastonbury - oh, yes, nothing impresses sixty-five year old men in suits than a letter from a rock star. Out the news with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as Sara warns [inaudible] inspectors on the way. Time to flip...

Radio Two - Ken Bruce
You’ll have heard a lot about how young and funky Radio 2 is these days. As we tune in, Ken is wishing one of his listeners a happy fiftieth birthday (everything’s relative) and then playing Stevie Wonder’s Mr. Know It All. It’s incredible that, for a man as undoutably talented as Stevie is, such a large number of cack records have been released under his name - the Woman in Red soundtrack, this, I just called to say... and anything Paul McCartney did with him, ever, for example. Curious. Next up, from the album of the week (a best of, mark you, which seems to be very Radio 2) is Tom Jones and the Art of Noise doing ‘Kiss’. Art of Noise role was to provide a thin veneer of respectability and some wheezing noise. This was, of course, to be the blueprint for the next stage of Jones’ bloody career, and as such was responsible, however innocently, for Tom Jones and Mousse T doing Sex Bomb.
The White Stripes! This is better! Oh, it’s only a trail for Six Music. If I’d timed things better, I would have been here for Ken’s actually rather good Popmaster quiz, but it was not to be, alas...

Radio Three - Composer of the Week
It’s Hugo Wolf this week, 1860-1903. “Wolf tended to immerse himself in the works of a particular poet until he had exhausted all of their material” informs the EPG, which sounds more like the sort of dire warning Giles would give Willow rather than a jolly invitation to a dance. Today, it’s his settings of poems by Morike, which apparently calls for an awful lot of violin. Donald Macleod introduces New Love - the poet had wondered if two people could ever know each other perfectly. “Wolf decided they could not.” This was while he was supposedly at his most cheery, too.

Radio Four - Book of the Week - Hotel Bemelmans
Scarily, the first words on Four are in German, albeit in the unmistakable cod German of Richard ‘you terrible cunt’ Griffiths. This sounds like one of Four’s attempts to bring a largey forgotten work back to the popular audience. As is usual, it merely serves to point out why largely forgotten in the first place.

Radio Five Live - Fi Glover
She wants to hear from Peter in Barnes before the ten o’clock news, but Peter isn’t there, so Fi moves on to Eugenie in Birmingham. “Is this going to help you?” asks Fi, but before the maths co-ordinator can get much of a word in, they go to the news and sport. Now the death toll is down to forty nine in South Korea. Inflation is unchanged. Tim Henman has returned from a shoulder injury. More cricket coming up. It turns out that Fi is pronounced as the first bit of “fee, fi, fo, fum” and not the second one. Eugenie is still waiting when we return after the news.

Classic FM - Henry Kelly
We’ve missed the school run and the Hall of Fame Hour, so god alone knows what this segment would be.
I have quite a soft spot for Classic FM, but fear that its like listening to a sixties station that only ever plays Twist and Shout era Beatles (like any Gold station at all, then). It smacks a little of Attarah’s Band, who toured schools in the 70s on a mission to demonstrate that music could be fun. I always had my doubts - “surely music is fun? Oh, that sort of music” - and was always suspiscious of the remorselessly cheesy, upbeat style of presentation coupled with the patronising assumption of what young people would connect with - “you’ll like this, kids, its about animals.” Henry Kelly is just cueing up Carnival of the Animals as I arrive. So, like Attarah’s Band, only we don’t get a sticker and someone showing us how the clarinet can sound like a mouth organ, too.

Virgin Radio - Russ Williams
Britain’s second national local radio station, in the midst of a huge advertising push which focuses on the music it plays, rather than the personalities on the station. Unsurprising with the presenters they have, I suppose. The pledge to not repeat any song between nine and five. This at least means that we can be certain we won’t have to sit through this particular David Gray track again.
They trail that odd phone-in that seems to be the true direction the station is heading in; they’re giving away supermarket loyalty points tonight - how would that work? “Confess you’ve fucked your kid and get a million Sainsburys points... if you’re a battered wife, get 50,000...”
“Did you know one in four people suffer from tiredness?” Here are the adverts, then. Teletext Holidays (when did the pseudo-internet become a glorified travel agent? How did that happen?); Renault Laguana; Nappies; have your cattaracts removed. Who exactly is the target Virgin audience? That woman who had IVF treatment when she was 60?
The first post-commercial track is Travis, so we presume the answer is yes.

Talk Sport - Mike Dickin
I’ve never quite understood why Talk Sport bothered to rebrand as a sports station since, whenever I happen by, it’s talking about non-sports matters. “We despise Jacque Chirac. But we admire him as well. [slight pause] If that’s possible. This is talk sport...”
And they’re off to ads - ambulance chasing solicitors happily followed by a warning about twenty kids a week being mown down by speeding motorists. They should run these the other way around - “Slow down, or you’ll have a bunch of failed conveyancing solicitors pursuing you for damages...”
Mike’s back now, warning us about how our feelings about France are complicated, inviting us to add to the mess. “But first the news...” Talk are leading on Tony Blair’s popularity rating dropping to minus 40 before the South Korea story.
“I’m an arsenal fan and our team is full of French” offers a caller. “Is it a psychological thing from the Hundred Year’s War?” You can actually see the debate has started to make woozle patterns.

Classic Gold - Graham Rogers
Pete from Classic Gold in Peterborough pops up to ask for any old stamps we might have - he says they’re collecting for guide dogs, but I suspect if they can get a few more First Day Covers, they’ll have enough to put gas in the advertising sales department car. Who collects stamps these days anyway? Surely it’s not the sort of hobby where large numbers of people are taking it up all the time? Do kids comics still have those ads where you answer three questions and get sent a packet of stamps? And if not, then how do Classic Gold propose to turn these stamps into labradors? Or will they just dump sacks of Non-value Indicator First Class Definitives outside the houses of the blind and do a runner? I’m still pondering this as Crocodile Rock ends.
Then Brenda in Stowmarket is introduced on the line. “Hello, Steve” says Brenda. Graham tries not to get too hissy about her getting her name wrong. If Brenda can answer ten questions correctly, she’ll win a mug. “There’s also a Keep Fit video. Could your daughter do with losing some weight?” asks Graham - oh, he’s pissed off.
‘Bourbon, digestives and malted milk are all kinds of what? Yoko Ono was married to which of the Beatles?” I suppose they’re only easy if you know them. If, say, you’d had your memory wiped by evil magno-monkeys, then it would actually be quite tough. Stowmarket appears to be knee-deep in magno-monkeys.
‘The sun aint gonna shine any more’ - the walker brothers. Hmmm.

The Storm - Cueball
Presumably not bearing a presenter’s name as whoever turned up to read the liner cards gets to be a star. Cueball are having a Rock revolution, which involves unsigned bands with the names Renton, Santa Carla, zedisforzebra and stalefish1 battling for your text votes. Zedisforzebra, of course, are at a total disadvantage because even if people could be arsed to enter that with their thumb, it’s just going to melt down the predictive text feature on most phones.
There’s lots of tracks in a row that sounds like a Sum 41 album has been left on, but then, surprisingly, Black rebel motorcycle club turn up. Hey, let’s party.
Scarily, in fifteen minutes there are no adverts, no announcements. Just rock and trails. It’s eerily like being in an empty chat room...

Planet Rock - Chris Radley
This is clearly more your rockers wearing shirts with lacy sleeves, dreaming of having sex with Nancy from Heart and hoping that one day - maybe - their tunes will form the backbone of a musical co-written by Ben Elton. ‘Here I Go Again’ by Whitesnake is in full foot on the monitor flow. A break for news - “the death toll continues to rise” - and it’s AC/DC. Okay, not totally lacy sleeves, then but the rest - I know for a fact - holds true...

The Core - CoreNon-Stop
Justin Timerblake’s limp Cry Me A River welcomes us to a segment that - unusually - advertises what’s coming up next: Divine Inspiration, LL Cool J, Junior Senior. Handy, that, as it allows us to move on without missing a beat

Capital Gold - Mick In The Morning
That’s Mick, as in Mick Brown, as in Pat and Mick, to you. I wonder where Pat Sharp is these days. He’s promising ‘The lunch pack’ (“that’s three great songs chosen by you”, apparently). He’s also playing Crocodile Rock, funnily enough. Then Abracadabra, and Itchycoo Park. It’s like listening to one of those albums they sell at three in the morning on ITV, which is incredibly depressing, Especially in daylight.

XFM - Kevin Greening
Yes, somehow the poor man’s Adrian Juste has wound up on - what is by default - the coolest radio station on ‘proper’ radio. (And wasn’t it nice to see their breakfast show host Christian O’Connel being challenged over his lack of musical knowledge on Buzzcocks last night.) While people come to look at the boiler, U2, The Cardigans and The Charlatans play on in the background - thank god the plumber didn’t turn up while we were at Planet Rock. Advertisers include, splendidly, the Raveonettes, which is better than Declan Swain. The Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. And just when you think you might stay forever, they go and play Lenny Kravitz.

BBC World Service - Sports Round-up
Awkwardly, South Korea are being discussed as a potential venue for the next but two Winter Olympics. “There are problems of transportation to be overcome” says the report, which presumably was recorded before some nutter let off a big bucket of explosives in the underground.

BBC Radio Scotland - Southern Soul
Is there anyone from Danny Kelly era NME who doesn’t have their own show on radio? Doctor Cosgrove is presenting a five part series about soul here (which seems odd for Scotland’s national station at lunchtime, but there you go - presumably its guaranteed an audience of at least Pat Kane). The sweet joy of ‘I’m your puppet’ is shattered by a sudden trailer for ‘Getting On A Bit’, an awkward sounding week of programmes about how - hey - old people are people first, old second. Then Lesley Riddoch starts up, with the news - now the death toll is a hundred, and there’s something happening to fishing quotas.

BBC Radio Wales - Nicola Heywood Thomas
We crash into the news as it’s yakking on about congestion charging in London - I’m bored shitless about this, and it’s in the same country as me. No matter how many times they try to make it relevant to me - “if it’s a success in London, it’ll be coming to your city next” - I can’t find it in my heart to get interested in the plight of people in London having to pay to drive somewhere. We’ve had that with the Mersey tunnels forever. NHT returns to pick over the corpses of a woman and a small baby found dead in Rhondda, a tragedy which clearly didn’t make the (UK) National News because dead woman + baby doesn’t outrank living but stabbed three year old in news maths.

BBC Radio Ulster - Talk Back
“Let’s find out what Iain Paisley Jr makes of it...” Oh, let’s not, whatever “it” is...

BBC Asian Network - Top Ten With Ray Khan
An uneasy mix of the top ten album tracks and, erm, “the top ten news stories.” I wonder if they have a daytime-nighttime distinction on the Asian Network similar to Radios 1 and 2? Certainly, the music Ray’s playing seems to be slightly less exciting than the stuff you used to get on Lancashire at weekends. This seems to be the Asian version of the Jimmy Young show.

BBC Radio 4 Long Wave - You and Yours
This station, of course, is a cheat, as except for when its doing Yesterday In Parliament, a quick church service or the cricket, it’s just radio four again. You and Yours are - as they are over on Radio 4 proper - discussing the plans by Tesco to introduce in-store TV. “It started innocuously enough, with intercoms...” Still, nice to hear Asda FM’s jingles while sat at home.

WRN Europe - National Public Radio - Morning Edition
Sadly not the fabled Morning Edish on Radio Fish, but current affairs from Washington. They’re running a piece about a woman who stood up to drug dealers in her neighbourhood. “It cost her her life. And the life of her five children. And of her husband.” There’s then rather a lot of rather bad piano music. If we can make it through another hour and forty minutes, there’s the prospect of news in English from Radio Netherlands. Oh, hang about - North Korea are threatening to withdraw from the 1953 Armistice which ended the Korean War. Apparently Alan Alda is being put on standby.

Premier - Worship with Rick Easter
I wonder if all the presenters on this god-bothery station have names of major religious festivals - Tamsin Christmas; Helena Ascension; Toby Third-After-Whitsun. It’s quite lively for a church show - indeed, the EPG promises “Rick’s own brand of humour.” The first track sounds like a saved Liz Phair, who sings a song that includes the lines:
“I saw a man on a box/ he seemed a little unorthodox/ and he was preaching up a storm”
Which is splendid. This is part of Rick’s Tuesday Lunch Bunch, apparently. Rick is having trouble getting to see his choice of doctors at his local group practice, but he can’t get an appointment before the 14th of March. He then thanks everybody at Sainsbury’s for helping his ma when her bag was snatched - they gave her her shopping for free. Part of this is making me feel warm and fluffy for humanity; part of it is making me think of a scam I can pull if I can find an old lady to work with. But Rick hasn’t finished - he’s now reading out an email he’s got. I should point out this isn’t an email that he’s had sent to the show, it’s a spam email. And now he’s giving away a Playstation Game - devil’s work, surely? Thin end of the wedge, isn’t it? “Next, a classic hymn...”

Heart - Pat Sharp
That’s Pat as in Pat and Mick. I wonder where Mick Brown is these days? “Kick start your day with the time tunnel” suggests the EPG, which suggests that Heart’s audience is made up mainly of unemployed lazeabeds who don’t get up until noon. Pat recommends if you’ve got kids, you should think about visiting the zoo, and fades up Take That’s Back For Good, as if to herd us all out the house to look at zebras. Someone rings in from Surrey to request a Michael Jackson song for her daughter who’se chipped her two front teeth. Well, he can be a bit rough, can’t he?

UCB Europe - Steve Best in the Afternoon
“Can you say how effective praying is?” asks Steve
“I don’t have the figures in front of me... we never the numbers until a week afterwards” replies a west midlands accent. “These crusades have a powerful impact. God is using this vehicle to win masses of people to Christ.” This is all a bit scary, isn’t it?

Cross Rhythm - Community Vision
Putting the rock into Christian, another god channel but with people bellowing “You’re the saviour of the world/ saviour of my soul/ saviour of this generation... NOWWWWW” before launching into a morally clean guitar solo. Apparently, when they turned up at the record shop, the devil had already been in and bought all the good tunes. “Doesn’t this generation need a saviour?” worries presenter Mike Farrington, before entering into a chat with Sharon Pennant of Women Arise. She’s also from the West Midlands, which suggests the Black Country is the next best thing to Paradise on Earth. And, of course, has excellent rail, road and air links with the whole of Europe. While UCB is laid back, CR is a lot, lot more intense; apparently Women Arise are constantly praying for the station. “It’s not just for women, is it, Sharon?” “No, we also have... men.”

Oneword - Between the Lines
It’s a bit unfortunate for Heart and Oneword that they’re shuffled in with the Christian Stations as they both have names that suggest they, too, might be about to launch in saviour-chat. Oneword, of course, is the WHSmiths to Radio Four’s Foyles, so at the moment Jon Steele is talking to Paul Blezard, and its not clear who is meant to be the guest author.

Solar Radio - Brad Lee
They promise “soul funk and jazz” and yet Brad is back announcing Liberty X who, frankly, when you can’t see the clothes, are just so much nothing. Then they go into a five minute advert break. Blimey...

Panjab radio - Gal Baat
Even in a langauge i don’t speak, I can recognise “phone-in host trying and failing to get caller to shut the fuck up so they can go to the news on time”

PrimeTime - David Hamilton
The erstwhile Diddy is playing Elton John - at least it’s rocket Man this time round - and preparing himself for the “Who am I?” competition, which might not be the most tactful game to play on a station aimed at a retired audience, when you think about it. The news at one is leading on Blair, who’s “standing firm on the issue of bombing Iraq.” Now, its 104 dead, 93 missing in South Korea, and they’re saying there’s “outrage” that it was allowed to happen. They come out the news with Frankie “Gimme the moonlight, gimme the girls...” Vaughan. Class. Though you can’t help but wonder whether PrimeTime will shift its music policy on year-by-year as its target audience dies off, so that by 2045 they’ll be playing Nirvana. If they don’t already, of course. I must remember what Radio Scotland taught me - Old people aren’t just old, are they? Judy Garland doing “Mammy, how I love you.” Maybe old people are just old after all.

Sunrise Radio - The Afternoon Lunch Box
The lunch box gag again. Actually, Sunrise are still working their way through an impressively wide-raging news bulletin - apparently one hundred families had occupied the site of the Buddha statues blown up by the Taliban in protest at the lack of housing. Even more comprehensively, but slightly more dull, is the reading out of expected plane arrival times. Where is Amar Grewal and the “greatest hits of all time”? While we wait, it’s worth considering just why no asian music appears in the UK Top 40, ever. Since we know you only need a few hundred sales to make the chart, is the only reason you never hear Mark Goodier struggling with Asian pronunciation that the labels releasing the stuff don’t pay cash to the BPI? If any station really wanted to have a chart that set itself apart, they’d look at comissioning something truly inclusive rather than just another ‘what’s selling in Woolies’ pisspoor rundown.

Talk Gospel - Grantly
“Gospel greats into the evening”, a scary promise at lunchtime. I really wish Talk Gospel was the biblical equivalent of Talk Sport, with call-ins from ill-informed believers. A long parable about a cheque and a signature is being spun out by a man who sounds like he’s in tears.

Total Rock - Matt’s Metal Lunchbox
Lunchbox joke sighted again. The music sounds cradle of filthy, or at least filthy. I start to yearn for some gospel. Or perhaps a girl with a guitar talking about being saved.

UCB Inspiration - Today! - Lifestyle
Extravagently punctuated show from the floridly named Jan Scother-Husband, offering just that. Harmonic girls singing about Jesus saving them

The Mix - Today’s Best Mix
They’re playing R Kelly’s ‘I Believe I can Fly’, which is neither qualifying on either “today” or “best” tickets here. Of course, R Kelly can rely on his conviction that he could fly when he has his day in court - if he believes that, surely it’s equally plausible he believed that girl was twenty-one? Then comes Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Zephyr Song (hey, flying themed hour, perhaps?). It’s funny that the RHCP managed to suddenly reposition themselves as proper pop artists and kept hold of their rock credibility in a kind of REM style repositioning and nobody really noticed it happening. It’s not even like they compomised that much, apart from swapping socks for small shorts and using a bit of colour in the videos. Maybe in the future Korn will start to do songs your grandma likes?

TWR - Telling The Truth
Jesus, no pun intended, how many bloody Christian stations are there? And why no Islamic stations? Someone is putting us right on things we may have got muddled up with about Babylon during the time of Daniel. You know what? I’m happy to remain in the dark.

The Scene - Becky Lee Live From Chester
I suspect this was what was once Purple Radio, the gay station launched by the straight man? You have to wonder about the “live from Chester” part - is there something especially gay about Chester? Are they going for the antiquing gay market? Irritatingly, this station sounds badly tuned in, which is frustrating with satelitte radio as there’s nothing you can do about it. Like so many of these stations, there’s that feeling that there isn’t actually anybody in the studio. Checking the website, apparently there are studios in Manchester, Liverpool and Chester (I’m guessing they say ‘studios’ but mean ‘bedrooms’) and they broadcast on FM in, erm, North Africa. Still, nobody’s talking and it may actually not be gay at all. Girls Aloud’s Sound of the Underground rattles past. Maybe it’s not gay after all. Just... confusing, but also a hopeful sign that anyone can have their own radio station these days. Hurrah.

UCB Bible
Non-stop Bible reading. Infuriatingly, they don’t tell you where they are. There’s smiting going on, which makes me think its a long while till they get to the whore of Babylon. Radio 4 once did the Bible, but in fifteen minute chunks it took forever to get through. This would be quicker, but demand a bit more pluck.

UCB Talk - Godly Pursuit
“Roy and Jill present a programme looking at people’s quest for God.” Another Brummie accent talking about a Crusade - he might be the bloke who popped up earlier. He seems to be set to talk for longer than the bloke reading the Bible - it’s like being introduced to every Nigerian Christian individually.

RTE Radio 1 - Liveline with Joe Duffy
A screechy woman is complaining about the lot of teachers in the Irish Republic. Maybe she could swap places with Eugenie? Just jumping in, it’s hard to spot exactly what her beef is; something to do with money or something. Now a man is shouting back. It’s lots of shouting about something. Clearly this is going to go nowhere.

SBN - Back to Back
The student station, promising “as little chatting as Emma can manage”, which is a bit of an odd claim - why not just burn all the tracks to CD and let them play if that’s the idea? Before anything musical happens, there’s news - Blair leading off. Curiously the ‘and finally’ item is the same as the one chosen for PrimeTime Radio, about handbags with lights in. Oh, Oasis Songbird. That’s just rubbish.

Club Asia - Party Mix
Although its debatable how many Sky Digibox owners would be partying at two in the afternoon on a Tuesday, who cares? This is splendid bhangra-bollywoody stuff. The EPG promises “no sudden brakes”, which is nice. This is the first time my ears have leapt up since The White Stripes, I think... but reluctantly, we must press on...

Real Radio - Dave Croft
Like a Digestive after a cream cake, we find ourselves in South Wales’ oddly networked playing of that irritating tune which threatens to kick Courtney Love’s ass. Oh, but hang on - Brass In Pocket now. That’s so much better. Somewhere, there’s a thesis waiting to be written under the heading ‘Could Brass In Pocket get to number one these days’ - it’d have the odds stacked against it, because while superficially female fronted music seems to be about women in control of their sexuality, they’re actually more traditional in their command - the rules (such as shown in that one about “Ring first before you come round”) they’re laying down are about relationships, not about sex. You still don’t get to hear women singing a la Hynde about grabbing their sexual pleasure. The Tide Is High, but pants are still on.
Next comes Cher and Fontella Bass. It’s an odd mish-mash that’s only held together by the force of the locality - why anyone besides possibly a couple of expats would want to tune is mystifying.

EWTN - Holy Rosary
For those who can’t get their god-needs elsewhere, another religious station. We join them just as crowds are calling for Jesus to be crucified. Whats funny is that with all this Christ stuff on, there’s very little actually attempting to convert; almost all of the radio stations seem directed at people who’ve already signed up for the project.

Sukh Sagar - Community Health
“Prevention of disease by professionals”, which sounds less like a health show and more like the mission statement of Rentokil Initial to us. Unfortunately, we can’t say with any certainty.

Asian Gold - Afternoon Show with Ali Mumtaz
Again, putting the stuff on Asian Network to shame - maybe the BBC try to avoid the stuff which has too much sass in it for the daytime? There’s an odd change of pace when the ILR style jingle crashes in off the back of the film tune. News is leading off on a split between Britain and America. After the news, Sibby Shah comes on to provide “driving type music” - clearly not ZZ Top

BBC World Service Extra
“Providing up to the minute news and analysis in Pashto.” I’ve always been puzzled why, out of all the languages the WS broadcasts in, it’s Pashto that gets the channel all to itself. I’m guessing like everyone else they’re disecting the Alex Ferguson incident.

BBC Radio Cymru - Owain A Dylan
Music and news in Welsh with Owain and Dylan. Everything they play sounds like a bad Eurovision Song Contest entry, with that caberet band backing feel to it. We know Wales is chock-full of decent musicians, so why is it their language station is stuck playing the local equivalent of Andrea True Connection?

RWAB - David Freeman in Conversation
Oh, it means Relax With A Book. And, shockingly, the guest on the show is marginally famous, as it’s David Bellamy talking about his life and, we’d imagine, plants. Or maybe they’ve just decided to fake the interviews so every day its someone who is easy to impersonate. Tomorrow: Michael Crawford.

BBC Five Live Sports Extra - Coming up
Your licence fee at work, as the BBC can’t think of anything to do with their sports network when there’s no live sport for it to cover. So instead we get plugs, over and over. There’s nothing on for three hours yet.

Gaydar Radio - The Mix
“A fabulous cocktail of gay music to give a real kick to your day.” This station is a bit of a puzzle, too, as most of the time its the sort of music you hear in bogstandard gay clubs, so it’s like being at a club, only without the men on podiums and the certain chance of some duvet-action at the end of it. And its main purpose seems to be to plug the gay dating website, which means its for the sort of people who can’t cop off in gay bars, who presumably then wouldn’t want to be reminded constantly of their failiure. There may be a place for gay-themed radio, but surely it would be better to broaden out the musical content (as there’s nothing especially gay about one dance track compared to another) to attract the sort of gay men who don’t feel comfortable with the scene (as in the gay scene, not the station we met about a dozen or so back). Because if you’re going to play dance tracks all the time, what unites your audience is not so much their homosexuality as their love of dance music. But I bet a Classically Gay show would start to shift advertising for the station...

Family Radio - Music To Live By
“Christian Music and short features.” They’re talking about what to do if your child appears to have drunk poison. Disappointingly, they don’t tell you to pray and cast out the demons. Oddly, they tell you to call 911, which would just mean you’d end up talking to a confused line engineer while your kid twitched and frothed on the floor. “Looking after the body God gave you” Then there’s some piano music, which is actually quite relaxing. Until they go and spoil it all by banging on about Joshua 1.8

BBC 6Music - Teatime with Andrew Collins
Ah, sweetness. Hello, Andrew. I suspect I shall be back soon...

Apna Radio - Jharna
Again, I really wouldn’t know how to go about choosing one of these stations over the other, and I suspect it would take more than just a few minutes sampling to decide between Apna and Club Asia, but Apna sounds a lot more lush and laid back; zithery and slithery. Seriously, if anyone does have any advice on this, do get in touch.

2FM - Gareth O’Callaghan
RTE’s answer to Radio One, and mercifully, the first show originating on the other side of the Irish Sea to not feature histrionic shouting. Unfortunately, they’ve gone to the other extreme and are playing the sort of ballad which even Ronan would pick on as being “a bit insipid, innit?” “We were talking earlier about warts...” announces Gareth, and then... oh, blimey, plays Ronan Keating.

Lyric FM - The Full Score
Shostakovich is just coming to an end to make way for the news. Basically, not quite as fluffy as Classic, not quite as bold as Radio 3.

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