The Listening List – Best Of 2012

It hasn’t been too bad a year for wireless in it’s 90th anniversary year has it?

Radio 1 got a new breakfast show host, Radio 2 got a new jingle package,
and the BBC as a whole got two new director generals.

Elsewhere, Classic FM turned 20, 6 Music struck Sony Gold,
and tragic circumstances may have signaled the end of the
wind up phone call.

Choosing what to include in this blog post has been quite a struggle
but I’ll give it a good go.

Danny Baker – BBC London 94.9, 1st. November

A fair number of high profile departures have taken place this year, Chris Moyles
leaving BBC Radio 1 being one such spectacle, making sure all the listeners
would know what they would be missing.

However that was eclipsed in November when BBC London’s star presenter
(not that the management noticed) Danny Baker hosted two hours of
compelling radio on the day bosses revealed they would be dropping
him in the New Year despite it being one of the station’s best performing
shows.

But no, it didn’t fit into their demographic profile of an otherwise twee
local radio brand spread out over all BBC Local Stations even to the
point of using a generic jingle package which even BBC London have
recently adopted.

“Lord Reith” opted to make his departure immediately rather than
hanging on until Christmas and hosted a show which no other radio
presenter can get away with in such a situation.

It was so good, you could even forgive him for slipping some dodgy
country music tunes in there.

That said, although it was funny and rage inducing, it also had me
in tears as well and that was the charm of Danny Baker to blend that
many emotions into a two hour show.

Nowadays with the exception of Jake Yapp on BBC Radio Leeds,
and up and comer Adam Dowling on BBC Radio Kent,
BBC Local Radio is in a worrying position.

As long as the above continue to keep creativity alive
maybe the future won’t be too bad as predicted by Baker.

Disasterpieces – BBC Radio 1, 3rd December

It’s no secret that I am a massive fan of independent producers
Folded Wing to the point of bonkers.

Once again they have made some great radio in 2012 but one offering has
stood out by a long way, nicely timed to co-incide with Zane Lowe’s annual
set of “Masterpieces” and if I’m being honest I thought this documentary
was more entertaining.

Hosted by Scott Mills, the programme took a look into less than succesful
follow ups, and artists who disappeared into obscurity after unfortunate
incidents, most notably Duffie selling her soul to Diet Coke.

Even funnier were archive interviews exposing the smugness of
other artists such as The Klaxons and Razorlight bigging up
their follow-up flops.

And in an age where many radio presenters are forbidden from having
an opinion, it’s good to hear Scott Mills give his own fair critiques
on why albums such as Madonna’s “American Life” didn’t float his boat.

When it comes to radio documentaries this year, this one’s a long
way off from a “Disasterpiece” itself.

The Truth Podcast

When it comes to the best audio download of the year (and there have
been many good ones) this offering has to be the most innovative,
defined perfectly from the tagline “Movies For Your Ears”.

But it’s not just original works of audio fiction that are showcased
as the standout has to be “Movie Mashups”.

A juxtaposition (there’s a poncey word) of one individual’s dialogue
from one film, with the dialogue of another character from
a completely different picture.

I’m surprised this hasn’t spread further what with music mash-ups
arriving by the day, but I’m sure that there will be more experimental
audio to come in 2013 for those who appreciate it for what it is.

Made In Britain – BBC Radio 2, May-June

Presented by Charles Hazlewood, this was a entertaining, educational
offering looking into the heritage of pop music in Britain.

A blend of wit and a very eclectic range of performers ensured
that there was never a dull moment throughout this six part series
and covered areas such as how otherwise dull places on this tiny island
could provide exciting musicians who went on to take the world by
storm.

If I’m being honest, it may have given a better reflection of
British pop music than the Olympic opening ceremony.

Well, definitely a lot more than the closing ceremony.

“Is It Worth It” – BBC Radio 2, June

Out of all the programmes I have heard on the radio this year, this
had to be the most moving.

A brilliantly made insight into the Elvis Costello penned tune protesting
about what many saw as a war with no point, and made even more
poignant when covered by Robert Wyatt.

What I liked about it was it managed to solve the struggle of
finding enough to cover within (in my opinion) the rather lengthy
hour long timeslot, by not just covering the song itself, but also
looking into those who lost loved ones as a result of “Diving For Dear Life”.

Just me writing about it doesn’t do the programme justice, as it
has to be heard properly to be appreciated, and I am hoping
the BBC give it another airing in the not too distant future.

I wouldn’t want to end this note on a downer, so to cover that
here’s a selection of some of the more funnier moments from
the radio this year.

Happy 2013!

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About Robin Blamires

I live in Canterbury and really enjoy radio and audio producing. I currently present a show at community station CSR FM called "Blam Jam" where I play a wide selection of soul, jazz and electronica music, and elsewhere in the station I help out with producing the station sound, creating on-air idents and sweepers. I would love to bring my skills into professional radio and continue to learn more.
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