I love the radio. So many hidden treasures. At its best, unassuming, but still a thing of beauty when brash, confident in its use of timing and sound.
Here are a few ideas of some of the things I love listening to – there have been a lot of changes in radio schedules of late, so bear with me. If you didn’t read it, I blogged some time ago about my all-time favourite voices here
Nick Abbot: LBC (Fridays & Saturdays, 10.00pm-1.00am)
Always there for me. Love what Nick does on air. Wish he had more time on the schedule to show off. Genius use of sound effects. Neither left, nor right – just absurd. “Hello, THERE.” More here.
Ritula Shah: The World Tonight, Radio 4 (weeknights, 10.00-10.45pm).
One of my favourite voices. Quietly, but authoritatively crept up on me. 10.00pm is The World Tonight in my house. Nothing else.
Jo Whiley: BBC Radio 2 (Monday-Thursday, 7.00-9.00pm)
Jo’s show – once more flying solo, and restored to the evening time-slot she has made her own – is probably my ideal soundtrack. Perfect signposting of new music, delving into vinyl which matches my life story – and snapshot of life around the UK at a time of the day when people are doing the most interesting things. It tends to be when I’m doing my most flour-laden sourdough work, or winding down making pom poms. I was lucky enough to work with Jo for a short time, and am a huge fan.
Too much to single out, but including: Don Letts (pictured, Sundays, 10.00pm-12.00midnight) with his Culture Clash Radio and Steve Lamacq (Monday-Friday, 4.00-7.00pm). The schedule change which has put Lauren Laverne into the breakfast show (7.30-10.30pm) and Mary Anne Hobbs onto weekdays (10.30am-1.00pm) puts their particular flavour of music thirst exactly where it works best. Hearing Mary Anne ‘dep’ for Jackie Brambles in the lunchtime slot on Radio 1 in the mid 1990s (as john Peel similarly did, completely ripping out the foundations in the process) was one of the things which made me think I might want to work at the station. And I did. Good to hear her back on in a similar slot again, although making it her own this time.
Josie Long: (pictured) Short Cuts, BBC Radio 4 (Various)
Big, big fan over everything Josie does. Her work is inventive in sound terms, and extremely human. Storytelling to another dimension – and a great voice. Short Cuts is everything I think a perfect radio show should be.
Phil Taggart is on BBC Radio 1 (Sunday nights, now 7.00-9.00pm) with a focus on new, and decidedly chilled out sounds from a wide range of genres, all delivered not only with a hunger for the new, but also a beautiful Norther Irish lilt. Always used to be an appointment to listen at it’s later time slot, so I’ve yet to see how it will work at this time on a Sunday.
BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (11.00pm-12.30am)
In a world that increasingly leaves me desensitised, Fiona Talkington, Max Reinhardt, Nick Luscombe and Verity Sharp on Late Junction never fail to surprise, provoke, confuse and delight. I would be lost without Late Junction. A huge appointment to listen which never fails to provoke.
Janice Long, BBC Radio Wales, weeknights, 7.00-10.00pm
New music, live music – just an over-riding passion for music. I was heartbroken when she lost her late night show on BBC Radio 2, so was made-up when she got an even better vehicle for her talents from BBC Radio Wales. You can tune in via the BBC Sounds app anytime, anywhere, and thoroughly recommend you do.
Lynn Parsons, Magic Radio, 8.00pm-12.00midnight
Lynn is the nicest person I have ever had the pleasure of working with – full stop. It also remains a pleasure listening to her. Such a rich, relaxing voice. Weekday evenings have a lot going on in them for me (Janice Long, World Tonight, Late Junction), but when ever I can fit her in (or whenever I particularly need to, I know Lynn is there, working her mellow magic!
James O’Brien, LBC, weekdays, 10.00-1.00pm
Have grown to increasingly love how James has used the medium to strike a different furrow from most other daytime presenters. Fair play.
Rachel Burden and Nicky Campbell, BBC 5Live Breakfast
Great chemistry. Great rapport with their audience. Great voices too. I was lucky enough to have worked with Nicky for many years, and strangely feel like I have known Rachel for many years too, even though we have never met. Great on-air partnership.
Sara Cox, BBC Radio 2, 5.00-7.00pm, Monday-Fridays
I had the honour of working with Sara in a very small way, doing the PR on her show when she took over the helm of the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show. I think she has amazing wit, and real warmth in the rapport she builds up with her audiences. If she had secured the breakfast show gig, she might have won me over from the political and current affairs output I’m addicted to at that time, but at drivetime, I will certainly be tuning.
Ricky Ross’s New Tradition, BBC Radio 2
This is only an occasional short series, but is actually one of the best things on BBC Radio 2. The Deacon Blue frontman plays new songs, and traces the common themes which have influenced song- and music-making over the decades. I learn so much, add so many tracks to my playlists, and get to feel part of a live, warm audience community who contribute via Twitter. I’ve always been a fan of Deacon Blue, and this show cements my affection for the man. Through this show, I’ve discovered some of Ricky’s shows on BBC Radio Scotland too. Great to have him on the radio, as well as on stage and in the studio.