Friday, 22 September 2017

Radio Review: 22 September

It’s nostalgia time as radio marks several anniversaries

Written by Louis Barfe
September has been quite the month for significant anniver- saries in radio. On 7 September, Classic FM celebrated a quarter of a century on air, and next week sees the 50thLouis-Barfe-colour-176 anniversary of the transformation of the Home, Light and Third into Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Classic FM chose to mark the occasion with a play about the founding of the station. Obviously, the easiest way to celebrate is to raid the archives, but since music stations have always been regarded as ephemeral, for Radios 1 and 2 not much was kept.

This has been fairly obvious in Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra's Stories (R1, Tuesdays, 9pm), a series of 'soundscapes... curated' by Annie Nightingale. These combine music and clips from the last 50 years on different themes: rebellion, love, heroes, and so on.

One problem is that there's not enough Nightingale. The second is that while the music is well chosen, we hear too much of some songs and not enough of others. Moreover, the themes are tenuous, the songs seem largely interchangeable, and the 'rebellion' show was blunted by edited swearing in some tracks.
The archive element is meagre. The highlight was a fabulous clip of John Peel talking about the infamous Radio 1 Fun Day at Mallory Park where the BBC Sub- Aqua Club stopped fans swimming across a lake to mob the Bay City Rollers while 'Toe Knee Black Burn' waved at the crowds from a speedboat driven by a Womble.

Happily, Tone is going live on the actual anniversary next Saturday, recreating the first breakfast show for the pop-up digital station Radio 1 Vintage (Digital and iPlayer), and herald- ing three days of whatever could be found in the vaults, including shows from Mark and Lard, Adrian Juste and Kenny Everett. Obviously, I've bought some fresh C90s to archive the lot for myself.

Louis on Twitter: @AlanKelloggs or email: 

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