The Listening List – April 2014

It’s the occasional return of my sporadic blog, showcasing the finest in what
the box of noise has to offer.

We’ll get right inside, shall we?

British Inside: BBC Radio 1/1Xtra, 13.04.14 (Produced by Sue Bowerman)

It’s always refreshing to hear a documentary on the radio that puts the
presenter right at the heart of the subject matter, rather recording the links
all in one go, prior to transmission.

And none finer than 1Xtra’s rising star Nick Bright who sets foot in one of
the UK’s immigration removal centres, and speaking to detainees who have found
their musical side helping to change their ways.

Faced with the obstacle of not being allowed to record any audio
in the IRC itself, Bright gives a clear and honest description of what
it was like going in there, meeting the inmates, and later
going on to interview those who have been let out, but still face
the prospect of deportation.

It’s a gritty but revealing journey through tough lives of young
creative individuals, and through well-chosen music,
and good use of sound design, it’s the finest outing this
year in Radio 1’s Stories strand.

Podcasting: The First 10 Years – BBC Radio 4, 04-11.04.14
(Trevor Dann’s Company)

It’s worrying from a personal point of view to realise that it’s
a decade since podcasts or the word itself first became
commonplace in the English language, let alone media as a whole.

From the comforting surroundings of a presenters bedroom,
to being recorded in front of a paying theatre audience,
podcasts continue to produced in many shapes and forms
free of the restrictions of professional radio.

Experts in the artform Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann,
provide a witty and informative exploration of the many
examples of pocket progs, ranging from the high-flying
exploits of “Betty In The Sky With A Suitcase”, to the
ever suprising “99 Percent Invisble” from Roman Mars.

The two part series also explores how the bigger broadcasters,
namely the BBC themselves have got in on the act of
adding extra value to their existing radio programmes,
some of them heard by more listeners than when
transmitted live.

Just one tiny improvement in that the programme could have
explored the mechanics and barriers of podcasting such as dealing
with music copyright, but overall it was a fantastic exploration
and brilliantly presented.

How Britpop Changed The Media: BBC 6 Music 06.04.14
(Produced by Jax Coombes)

I was rather uncertain about this doc at first, fearing it would be a rose-tinted
lookback at an era that as a 10 year old I felt left out of, and disillusioned by.

However, on finding out that music journalist Miranda Sawyer
would be presenting, my initial thoughts were thankfully unfounded,
as it explores as to why the phenomenon was heavily hyped
by not just the music press, but by the tabloid newspapers
and even John Humphrys on the BBC Six O’Clock News.

With the help of fellow music journalists and musicians
such as Alex James and Justine Frischman, it’s an honest
analysis looking at how the the movement came to be,
and how it lost it’s credibility when the likes of
Chris Evans and Paul Gascoine started embracing it
with many a drinking spree.

Sawyer sums the whole era up as “a small silly word
struggling to contain the various people involved” though
it’s a reminder that whether you enjoyed it or not, due
to the emergence of the internet and the current HD (heads down)
generation, it’s unlikely that such a scene will occur again.

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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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