Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Let's hear it for the B.B.C. (and WAMC, Albany, NY)

In the “olden days” (i.e. before Television), we would sit down and listen to radio programmes. What a quaint notion!

I was lucky enough to be raised in the United Kingdom where sitting down and listening to BBC Radio was a pleasure.

American radio is dismal. It’s filled with music of various genres, and propaganda from right wing religious (fundamentalist), and political sources.

We have “Public Radio” which strives to be an American counterpoint to the BBC. It strives, but fails.

On the one hand it plays classical music, with a shamefully limited repertoire (baroque, baroque and more baroque). Rarely, if ever, do we hear a “live” Concert.

On the other hand it has talk, talk, and talk; and news, news, and news; together with the jaded and wearisome Saturday programmes – “Car Talk”, and “A Prairie Home Companion” each of which is well beyond its shelf life.

It seems that Public Radio has given up on innovative programming. I find it to be dull.

(I note one exception - WAMC North East Public Radio. I was able to hear this station when I lived in Pittsfield, MA. See http://www.wamc.org/ and click on Programming. It is a splendid station led by the “love him or hate him” Alan Chartock. WAMC is exemplary!)

These words about radio sprang to mind after London (U.K.) friend Joe sent me a link to a BBC Radio 4 programme about the English language – entitled “Fry’s English Delight”. I sat down and listened!

After doing so I checked in on other Radio 4 programmes - see


What a feast!

Other BBC radio channels broadcast the same kind of trash as we hear in the U.S.A.

But I’d venture to suggest that BBC Radio 4 is amongst the finest in the world in its scope, depth, and vision.


  1. You know I hardly comment, but I read all the time. Today I had to speak up as I am in the "love him" column (most of the time) regarding Alan and WAMC.

    It is the best radio station in the country and is local for me.

    You can stream that on the internet too!

  2. BBC Radio 3 & 4 show the largest growth amongst listeners. Radio 2 is going downhill by the week , such a shame it was fairly recently the Flagship for the Beeb, but like most forms of the media, it is "dumbing down" I.E. Jonathan Ross/Russel Bland(Brand), Alan Carr et. al. so has started to loose audience share.